Our last article discussed different strategies for reducing spending to counteract the increase in Social Security tax that is scheduled to occur once the Payroll Tax Holiday ends. Businesses will be indirectly affected due to reduced spending by employees/consumers who now have to pay 2 percent more in Social Security tax and therefore have less of a disposable income. Below are everyday tips that anyone can follow to decrease their personal spending, which will be beneficial when the tax break expires in 2013.
- Eat In. We are often very busy throughout the day between the demands of our professional and personal lives, it sometimes seems impossible to find the time to make lunch/dinner. Many of us end up eating on the go out of ease. This may not seem like very much on a day-to-day basis, but the monthly and annual amounts spent on dining out can be surprising. Ways to save time and money when preparing meals are by packing your lunch the night before, preparing meals for the week on Sunday, and finding simple yet delicious recipes to try that aren’t time consuming. Try this for one week and see how much money you save.
- Stick With It. When it comes to groceries, it is best to shop only once a week. Make a list before you go the market and commit to only buying those items. Also, there are online coupons for nearly everything now so be sure to check online before you purchase anything. It is also smart to check out your local Farmers’ market on the weekends because they often have better produce for a lesser price than your usual grocery store. Shopping at the end of the day can often yield even better bargains as the growers prefer sell their wares rather than haul it back with them.
- Negotiation. As stated in our article yesterday, many businesses are willing negotiate better deals to keep a client. Call your cable, electric, and gas companies to ask about reduced monthly bills and/or special rates. You can also do your part by unplugging electronics when they are not in use, buy a programmable thermostat, switch to energy efficient bulbs. All of these small actions can lead to big savings.
- Carpool.Carpooling to work with a coworker or two saves on gas and wear/tear on your car; plus, it’s nice to have the company on a longer commute. Also, if there is an effective system in your area, public transportation is a great commuting option as gas prices continue to rise.
- Adjust your Withholdings. Make sure that with the new tax increase you remember to adjust your withholdings for 2013. If any changes have happened over the year (for example, added a mortgage or spouse), be sure to note that on your W-4 form along with any other adjustments so that you do not end up owing or collecting money from the IRS at the end of the tax year. No one likes writing a big check or waiting to have their own money returned to them. If you need assistance determining the amount of taxes you should be withholding, use the IRS Withholding Calculator.