Tax rebates have begun dropping into bank accounts, but in this economy, gas and groceries may trump a high-end TV, a fancy dress or a new sofa - making the checks less of an economic jump-start than the government hoped for.
The first direct deposits from the Internal Revenue Service landed in bank accounts Monday, shoppers were already using the cash to play catch-up on the basics, such as milk and other groceries.
Analysts say the rest will probably be used to pay down debt.
The IRS aims to make 800,000 payments every day for the first three days of this week. No deposits will be made Thursday, and about 5 million on Friday.
How you receive the rebate depends on how you filed your taxes. Paper checks will go out beginning May 9. The exact timing for both direct deposit and paper checks depends on the last two digits of your Social Security number.
The rebates, which are expected to reach 130 million households, range up to $600 for individuals and $1,200 for married couples, plus $300 per child for eligible parents.