'Family stimulus checks' from the child tax credit

Unhappy Family Sitting On Sofa Looking At Bills
Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock

Through December 2021, most households with children age 17 and younger received monthly cash payments through a temporary expansion of the child tax credit. Households got a total of up to $1,500 for kids ages 6 to 17, and as much as $1,800 for each child under 6.

In 2022, the credit will provide duplicate second helpings of money that families can collect through tax refunds.

Some lawmakers and advocates for policies that fight child poverty favor a permanent expansion of the credit, but Congress has failed to agree to keep it going for even one more year.

Bill Gates made a splash in 2017 when he bought $520 million worth of U.S. farmland, and he’s continued to invest since. What’s in it for Gates?

Read More

Large pool of untapped rent assistance

apartment buildings in New York City
Anastasios71 / Shutterstock

Close to half of $46.6 billion is still available in pandemic funds to help struggling renters, according to the latest U.S. Treasury data.

Despite red tape that has slowed states and local housing programs from giving out the cash, some places are getting their acts together.

For instance, significant improvements were made during the fall. Los Angeles gave out $72 million and Illinois distributed $177 million. Illinois tenants and landlords who qualify can request one-time grants of up to $25,000.

Money for distressed homeowners too

Open door to a new home with key and home shaped keychain. Mortgage, investment, real estate, property and new home concept
Michael Dechev / Shutterstock

If you've had trouble keeping up with your house payments and utility bills, you can still seek financial relief through a $10 billion mortgage assistance program that was part of a massive federal stimulus package.

You can receive money if you have a loan balance that, in most parts of the U.S., doesn't top $548,250.

It seems like a tricky time to get into real estate, and being a landlord isn't as passive as you think. Look at these low-stress options instead.

Read More

Aid for food workers

This photo illustration of Ben Franklin wearing a healthcare surgical mask on a one hundred dollar bill.
Ricardo Reitmeyer / Shutterstock

The government is recognizing workers who helped put food on tables during the pandemic.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced a program to help repay grocery, farm and meat-packing workers for their out-of-pocket expenses on protective equipment, child care, lost wages and other costs.

Eligible people can receive up to $600 in grants, which local agencies and nonprofits will be distributing in 2022.

A price break on your internet connection

African american kid raising hand near laptop and mother at home
LightField Studios / Shutterstock

Another government program offers discounts on computers and internet access needed for jobs, critical health care services and virtual schooling.

Families who meet income requirements can get monthly discounts of up to $50 on broadband service and a one-time discount of up to $100 to buy a laptop, desktop computer or tablet from participating providers, under the Federal Communications Commission program.

Contact your broadband provider to apply for an eligible service, or sign up at GetEmergencyBroadband.org.

Other ways to stimulate your finances

businessman holding coins putting in glass. concept saving money for finance accounting
lovelyday12 / Shutterstock

If you aren’t eligible for any of these stimulus funds — or you are, but the assistance just isn’t enough — here are some tips to help you to find relief on your own.

  • Lower your debt. Take a look at the interest you’re paying on your credit cards. The higher the rate, the longer it will take to pay down what you owe. A lower-interest loan to consolidate your debt can help you erase your balance faster.

  • Pay less for your online spending. Many of us are doing more online shopping, especially since the start of the pandemic. There are easier ways to compare prices than spending hours looking at different screens and scanning through various sellers. A free browser extension will automatically search for lower prices and coupons.

  • Reduce your mortgage payments. If you own your home, the largest payment you make each month is probably your mortgage. A smart refinance can save you hundreds of dollars in lower interest. That frees more money to pay off your home faster. Refinance rates are at historic lows.

  • Invest your spare change. Round up your everyday purchases to make every penny count in your favor. A popular app helps you use your nickels, dimes and other “spare change” to build a diverse portfolio.

Are you thinking about saving? Well, stop thinking about it!

Take the change out of your piggy bank and make it work for you.

Acorns is a financial wellness tool that automatically rounds up your card purchases to the nearest dollar and puts those savings into an investment account. It takes the worrying out of investing and matches you with one of five investment portfolios.

Take five minutes to sign up for Acorns today and collect a $10 bonus.

About the Author

Noel Fletcher

Noel Fletcher

Former Reporter

Noel Fletcher was formerly the insurance and taxes reporter at MoneyWise. Prior to joining the MoneyWise team, Noel wrote for various U.S. and international business magazines, newspapers, syndicates and wire services, including Reuters. For fun, she writes books, takes photographs and enjoys adventure, travel, history and a good cup of coffee.

What to Read Next

Home sellers snap up more all-cash offers — ways to compete when you're buying with a mortgage

Cash offers turn up the flames in already-heated real estate market

Businesses are hiring at blazing rate, and employers still struggle to find workers

And the U.S. is not at full employment yet, a Moody’s economist says.

Mortgage rates and home prices keep rising, but so far Americans are still house hunting in force

However, forecasters expect inflation and high rates will discourage some shoppers in the coming months, slowing the growth of sale prices.


The content provided on MoneyWise is information to help users become financially literate. It is neither tax nor legal advice, is not intended to be relied upon as a forecast, research or investment advice, and is not a recommendation, offer or solicitation to buy or sell any securities or to adopt any investment strategy. Tax, investment and all other decisions should be made, as appropriate, only with guidance from a qualified professional. We make no representation or warranty of any kind, either express or implied, with respect to the data provided, the timeliness thereof, the results to be obtained by the use thereof or any other matter.