14 Ways to Spend Your Stimulus Check Locally in Portland

Stimulus payments are starting to arrive this week, and what Portlanders do with that money really matters.

According to economists, every dollar spent locally creates a ripple effect in the economy as it circulates from consumers to businesses to workers and back again, helping bolster employment in the process.

So if you’re fortunate enough to have some money left over after covering rent, utilities, and other basic expenses, here are 14 ways to keep those dollars close to home:

1. Learn how to make a new meal.

Forget Julia Child. The chefs from Pok Pok, Beast, and other Portland restaurants have cookbooks of their own, and you can buy them in print or as e-books. 

2. Order dinner for delivery.

A bunch of restaurants are offering takeout or delivery options, and Grubhub has agreed to waive the commission fees that it usually charges them. Another option: Use the FrontlinePDX website to buy dinner for a frontline healthcare worker.

3. Pay for music like the old days.

If your favorite local musician had to cancel a show, you can support them by buying their tracks on Bandcamp. Or donate to a fund that’s helping offset lost income for artists of all types.

4.  Stock up on local beer and wine.

Unlike toilet paper, booze is something you can feel good about hoarding and many breweries and wineries are offering delivery or pickup options. 

5. Buy something that pays it forward.

The proceeds from these Team Portland tote bags will go to food service workers who are out of work, and companies like Aviation Gin are donating a percentage of all their sales to similar causes.

6. Order a book for your kiddo.

Two local dads just published this very cute book about Octi the Octicorn if you want something fun. Or for deeper reading, check out the “A Kids Book About series from Portlander Jelani Memory. 

7. Find a new read for yourself.

Independent bookstores like Powell’s are taking online orders  — and River Dog Book Co. is even curating special bundles

8. Start a craft project.

DIY Bar is selling and delivering ready-to-go craft kits, and Modern Macrame is hosting a virtual workshop this Thursday.

9. Dive into a new board game.

My colleague Devin picked up “Patchwork” from Guardian Games, and she’s very happy with it. I’ve also learned that Finnegan’s Toys and Gifts is still taking delivery orders over the phone. 

10. Try getting your groceries delivered.

Maybe it used to seem bougie, but grocery delivery and curbside pickup are now going mainstream, and Green Zebra, MilkRun and Apna Bazaar are just a few of the community grocers leading the way. 

11. Order fresh produce from local farms.

This Eater guide to grocery shopping includes a list of Portland-area farms that are selling CSA boxes or other special food bundles. 

12. Pay in advance for things you’ll buy anyway.

Small businesses need to keep cash coming in the door, so many of them are selling gift cards or giving customers the option to pay in advance for tattoos, haircuts, or other services. 

13. Support a nonprofit or economic relief fund.

The Oregonian made a great list of nonprofits that are responding to the coronavirus crisis, and Devin and I highlighted a few of our favorites in this newsletter

14. Become a Bridgeliner member.

Shameless plug warning! Local publications like ours are really feeling the pinch right now, so if you found this article useful, I hope you’ll consider supporting our work as a Bridgeliner member. It’s only $8/month, and it goes such a long way. 💖