Checks in the Mail

As tax rebate money reaches consumers, retailers are watching closely.

By + More

Tax rebate checks are now on their way to consumers, earlier than had been expected. Have you decided how to spend the money? A survey by TNS Retail Forward found that consumers are split on what they will do with it (more than one answer was accepted). Around one third will use it to pay bills, some 30 percent will put the money into savings, and about one quarter will put it toward everyday expenses such as food and gas. Only 1 in 5 shoppers will use it to buy something special, like a new television.

The market research firm says that will be enough to help retailers, bringing them a windfall of about $42 billion in sales. That would double third-quarter growth to 6 percent, TNS calculates.

That's good news for those in the retail business, but for the rest of us, the numbers in our own bank accounts are the more important ones. That's why so many consumers are choosing to pay off debt or boost savings instead of going for a one-time splurge.

So, what will you do with your check?