What the Stimulus Bill Will Do For You

Buying a car or house might become more affordable.

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As President Obama signs the $787 billion stimulus package into law today, you might be wondering: What's in it for me? Well, it turns out there are a few programs that could end up changing your spending habits. Here are four ways the bill could affect you:

  • You might keep more of your money. Most people will receive a tax credit of $400 (or $800 for married couples). The credit begins phasing out for anyone earning over $75,000 ($150,000 for couples).
    • You might buy a home. Anyone in the market for their first home this year is eligible to receive an $8,000 tax credit. Exceptions: Anyone earning over $75,000 ($150,000 for married couples).
      • Or perhaps a car: If you've had your eye on a new Toyota Prius, now might be the time to act. The stimulus bill lets you count the sales tax as a tax deduction on auto purchases up to $49,500. (Again, the deal doesn't apply to high-earners. It phases out for anyone earning more than $125,000 or couples earning over $250,000.)
        • It will be cheaper to use public transportation. Workers can put up to $230 in pre-tax dollars towards the cost of commuting by train, bus, or carpool. (That amount pushes up the previous cap of $120.)