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Congress pitches last-minute $908 billion stimulus deal: How the headlines could affect your money

Market slips from new record highs set Friday, and Congress works on a new $908B stimulus package.

Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, adjusts a poster during a news conference with a group of bipartisan lawmakers to unveil a COVID-19 emergency relief framework in the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington on Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020.
Caroline Brehman | CQ-Roll Call, Inc. | Getty Images

The major indexes reached new records Friday, lawmakers in Congress plan to introduce another a last-minute new stimulus proposal, and more people are living paycheck-to-paycheck. Here's how the headlines could affect your money.

Indexes notch new records

All three major indexes reached new intraday highs and closing highs Friday. The Nasdaq gained 2.2% last week, while the S&P was up 1.7% and the Dow 1% over the same period.

Early Monday, both the Dow and S&P slipped from those record highs, as traders digested news about rising coronavirus cases and stimulus progress. 

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New $908B stimulus proposal could get Trump, McConnell backing

Lawmakers expect to unveil a new $908 billion coronavirus stimulus proposal Monday to be attached to a year-end spending bill Congress must pass this week to avoid a government shutdown. Republican Senator Bill Cassidy, who is involved in the bipartisan negotiations, said Sunday that President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are expected to back the proposal.

The package, which is still being finalized, could provide roughly $300 in federal weekly unemployment benefits. But it does not include another round of $1,200 checks. 

More people are living paycheck-to-paycheck

Nearly two-thirds, 63%, of U.S. adults have been living paycheck-to-paycheck since the pandemic started, according to a recent survey from research firm Highland. That's up 10% from pre-pandemic figures.

Creating more wiggle room in your finances starts with assessing your income and spending. Determine how you can save on critical monthly expenses such as housing, and then look to trim or eliminate discretionary purchases. There may also be opportunities to earn more by asking for a raise (yes, that's possible even in the pandemic) or picking up a side hustle.

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Words you've heard: Paycheck-to-paycheck

When a person lives paycheck-to-paycheck, expenses consume most of their salary, leaving little to no spare cash for saving or investing. That can mean they have trouble covering costs if something disrupts that regular income, like job loss or an emergency expense.

Although the daily news can have an impact on your wallet, remember to take a long-term outlook when it comes to decisions on spending, saving, and investing.

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