American workers enter 2013 having to cope with less in their paychecks as Congress passed legislation that avoided the "Fiscal Cliff" but increased Social Security taxes by two percent. That's the bad news.
The good news is that it's a new year, time for resolutions. Below are ten steps, offered by InCharge Debt Solutions, that you can take that will help you manage your money better and even offset the payroll tax increases you'll see beginning this month.
"For the average American family with a household income of $50,000, the payroll tax hikes could mean the loss of about a thousand dollars a year," says Etta Money , InCharge's President. "That kind of income loss requires some planning early in 2013 in order to cut expenses or increase earnings so the financial hit won't be so tough to absorb."
Here are ten tips to offsetting Social Security tax increass this year:
- Improve your credit score – Pay your bills on time, review your credit report and correct errors. Good credit scores can help you get better interest rates on car loans, mortgages, and credit cards.
- Look into cash back cards – If you have good credit, you can find cash back credit cards that pay up to 5 percent on purchases.
- Listen to the experts – Bloggers, tweeters, and financial experts with websites or Facebook pages write about and collect great ideas for cutting expenses and making money. Follow them or get on their emails lists.
- Avoid convenience stores – Studies show that the same items are an average of 45 percent cheaper at supermarkets, that totals hundreds of dollars per year on hurried and often last-minute purchases.
- Plan your meals and use coupons – Spend an extra hour a week planning menus and matching stores sales with coupons. An average family of four could save $25 per week or more, depending on how much they spend on groceries.
- Eat what you have – New reports show that 40 percent of all food in the United States goes uneaten, and American families throw out between 14 and 25 percent of the food and drinks they purchase. Plan your meals and eat leftovers, you could save between $1,365 and $2,275 per year.
- Break a bad habit – Whether it is cigarettes, alcohol, sodas, or candy, break the habit. A single pack of cigarettes each day costs $2,000 per year, $100,000 in a lifetime.
- Review your insurances – If you haven't had a recent car and homeowner insurance review, you may save by increasing deductibles and eliminating coverage overlaps. Good driver discounts may enable you to drop collision coverage on an aged vehicle.
- Refinance your mortgage – Online tools can tell you within a few minutes whether you can save money by getting a better rate on your mortgage.
- Check your withholdings – If you are getting money back from the IRS every year, you are withholding too much. Bankrate.com has a simple payroll deductions calculator that can help you determine how much to take out so you don't owe money or get anything back in April.
Source: InCharge Debt Solutions