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Stimulus Spending: What Americans Did With $600

This post by Jill Schlesinger originally appeared on CBS'

While ambling around the Bureau of Labor Statistics site (a fantastic trove of information), I stumbled upon a Consumer Expenditure Survey that details how Americans spent their 2008 Economic Stimulus Payments, which were actually IRS tax rebates.

Here's how 130 million income tax filers spent their $600 (for individuals) or $1,200 (married filing jointly):

2008 Economic Stimulus Package (tax rebate) used mostly for
Paying off debt 49%
Spending 30%
Saving 18%
Reason not reported 3%
Source: Consumer Expenditure Survey, June 2008-March 2009

These results beg the question: what exactly did this money stimulate and was it worth the cost? Let's think long and hard before we start doling out "Stimulus II"...

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Jill Schlesinger is the Editor-at-Large for CBS Prior to the launch of MoneyWatch, she was the Chief Investment Officer for an independent investment advisory firm. In her infancy, she was an options trader on the Commodities Exchange of New York.