10 Ways to Fight Back Your $1,000 Payroll Tax Hike
Feel like your paycheck is getting smaller? You're not imagining it:
The two-year reduction that decreased the payroll taxes you pay from
6.2% to 4.2% of your salary were allowed to expire at the beginning of
the year, which means that a family with a household income of $50,000
will now have about $1,000 less to spend this year.
A thousand bucks is serious money, but losing that take-home pay
doesn't have to be as scary as it sounds. On a month-by-month basis,
your income will drop by $83 and change. With a little creativity, you
can shave that much from your budget each month without a great deal of
We're assuming you already know that skipping the $4 daily latte
habit or canceling cable can get you there. Here are a handful of other
ways to make up the shortfall, courtesy of a group of personal finance
experts we surveyed.
1. Hit the dollar store. Self-described "Dollar Store Diva" Marlene Alexander did an experiment
where she logged everything she bought at the dollar store over the
course of a week and compared what those items would cost at a big-box
store. Her savings: $22.40. "Over the course of a year, those weekly
savings alone would add up to $1,164.80," she writes. Needless to say,
perhaps, this means restricting yourself only to items you would have
purchased, for more, elsewhere.
2. Drive 25% less. A family that goes through 90
gallons of gas a month (that comes out to roughly 1,000 miles per car,
assuming two cars per family) last year spent an average of $324 every
month, according to Oil Price
Information Service. If you can swap out one quarter of those trips
behind the wheel with walking, carpooling, or bicycling, you'll be $81 a
3. Shop smarter. "A household with a $50,000 income
will spend between $7,500 and $10,000 on food throughout the year," says
Gary Foreman, founder of The Dollar Stretcher.
He says you can shave 10% to 15% off this total with a pricebook, which
is either a spreadsheet or just a series of notebook pages you divide
into columns with a ruler. In the boxes, you record the cheapest unit
price paid for groceries, where and when you bought them. Keeping a
record lets you see at a glance what the best price is, and where and
when you're likely to snag the best deals.
4. Cut out interest. If you switch $7,000 from a
credit card or cards on which you're paying 15% interest to a card that
offers 0% on balance transfers, you'll save between $87.50 and $76.19 in
interest each month over the course of the year. Look for a card with a
0% introductory period of 12 to 18 months so you can either pay off or
significantly reduce your debt in that time period - and resist the
temptation to run the balance on the old card back up.
5. Wait until next year to upgrade your electronics.
According to the Consumer Electronics Association, the average family
spent $961 on electronics last year, thanks to our seemingly insatiable
appetite for smartphones, tablets, HDTVs, and other gadgets. If you have
a true emergency - say, if your phone falls in the bathtub - buy
refurbished, which can save you 50% or more off the price of new
6. Get to work. "Take on a small side job, like walking a neighbor's dog," suggests Julia Scott, who blogs at BargainBabe.com.
Hit a free site like Craigslist.org to look for gigs or advertise your
services, or put the word out on your social networks that you're
looking for a little extra income.
7. Skip the bar. Ashley English, author and blogger at Small Measure,
suggests that people who like to hit their local watering holes with
friends have a "drink staycation." Going out once a week and paying for
two rounds of drinks can add up to $20 or more, she points out, so cut
out that happy hour or after-dinner gathering. A group of friends can
rotate hosting to cut costs and still go out for a good time .
8. Quit smoking. Half a pack a day is costing you $79.65, according to Smokefree.gov.
And that's if you're paying the national average of $5.31 a pack. If
smokes cost more in your state, you'll save more by quitting.
9. Stop using storage units. The National Foundation
for Credit Counseling suggests ending the practice of forking over good
money to store all the junk you don't use anymore. "It's a double-play
to sell the contents... money in the pocket from the sale, and no more
rent payments," the NFCC says. Eliminating the rent payment alone could
save you $80 or $100 or even more each month. Better yet, sell some of
that stuff you don't use online and get ahead on next month's saving.
10. Brown-bag it. "Bring your leftovers to work for lunch," says Katy Wolk-Stanley, who blogs as The Non-Consumer Advocate.
Even if you and your spouse stick to $5 sandwiches or combo meals,
swapping those out for last night's chili or lasagna twice a week will
save your family $20 a week.
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you will be alerted to where exactly they where when they clocked in.
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leave a comment if you have any other information on ways to save
money and get out of debt!