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10 ways to find money

By Marcie Geffner ·
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Posted: 6 am ET

Employees who'd grown accustomed to bigger paychecks are now feeling the shock of the expiration of the Social Security payroll tax break that ended at the start of the new year.

The so-called payroll tax holiday reduced the employee's portion of the Social Security contribution rate from 6.2 percent to 4.2 percent of earnings in 2011 and 2012. But the cut, intended to put more money in people's pockets and stimulate spending, was temporary and has now reverted to its former level, resulting in smaller paychecks for workers.

Gail Cunningham, a spokeswoman for the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, or NFCC, warned that employees need to act fast to adjust their budgets, especially if they're living paycheck-to-paycheck.

"If a person was fortunate enough to have received a pay raise, it's likely that this Social Security tax increase will wipe out most of it," Cunningham said.

The NFCC is the largest and longest-serving credit counseling organization in the U.S.

To help you find extra money to offset the loss of the tax break, the organization offered the following suggestions.

1. Adjust your withholding. Use the IRS worksheet to calculate the proper number of allowances so you'll keep more money every month, rather than receive a big refund once a year.

2. Pay with cash. People who use cash to pay for purchases typically save 20 percent compared with their credit spending levels and don't feel deprived.

3. Refinance your mortgage. Historically low mortgage rates might enable you to lower your monthly payment.

4. Save $10 in 10 categories. Carving $10 out of 10 categories in your budget can be a relatively painless way to find extra money.

5. Do it yourself. Stop paying other people to wash your car, clean your house, mow your lawn or do other you can do yourself.

6. Quit bad habits. Make good on your resolutions to stop smoking, drinking and playing the lottery.

7. Clean out your storeroom. It's a double-play to sell stuff you no longer need and stop paying for extra storage space.

8. Shop for insurance. Examine all your policies, compare rates and ask about ways to lower your premiums or obtain discounts for loyalty, good driving or bundling multiple polices.

9. Examine your bank statements. Cancel automatic payments for banking goods and services you don't need. Don't use out-of-network ATMs. Negotiate with your financial institution to lower your fees or change to a different bank.

10. Earn extra income. Getting paid to do something fun won't feel like work, and honing a skill can pay dividends beyond financial.

Follow me on Twitter: @marciegeff

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January 28, 2013 at 2:13 am

You are truly ignorant of the facts. I don't get SSI or SSD but have helped family members cope with 'the system'. Stop listening to your moron teabagger friends, they are living in a fantasy world where belief trumps reality. When you are old and infirm you truly deserve to reap what you sow by your ignorance. Will Dillon be there for you?

SSI, Medicare shortfalls, just increase the top level of wages that FICA contributions are capped to like $250K a year until the fund is solvent enough to satisfy Paul Ryan. Wratchet it back down when it is solvent. Problem solved. And no more Bush-league off budget wars where you raid the SSI 'trust fund' and run up the debt. Capiche?

SSI is available only to those who paid into it or their survivor beneficiaries like minor children newly bereft of their parent who need care. SSI and SSD are benefits of an INSURANCE pension program administered and guaranteed by the full faith and credit of the US GOvt, with low administrative costs and a better deal than you get with any for-profit insurers. It is mandatory for WAGE earners, presumably WAGE earners are not independently wealthy and will need at least a modest stipend to keep from STARVING in their old age.

SSD is for chronic disabilities, often a result of years of crippling workstrains and muscle overuse or workplace exposures, bad accidents caused by uninsured drunk drivers,and terrible diseases that come on a person through no fault of their own. Houston TX, SSD Courts: a cancer patient on his death bed was rolled in on a gurney and the SSD administrative judges claimed he was not really that sick to be 100% disabled, which basically was a death sentence, because without the Medicaid he got no treatment and died before his 1st appeal came around. Multiple appeals are the norm for the 'truly disabled', at least in Houston TX. Check it out for yourself it you don't believe me.

All disabilities are not detectable by sight. Who the hell are you to say who is disabled or not? There are SSD doctors and judges who decide severity of disability and you have to be disabled for at least a year before applying. Last I heard Max disability pension was about $800 a month, and you are allowed to have up to $800 a month in other income sources. The main thing is that you get Medicare or Medicaid with it, so you can get treatment for your disability. No one is getting rich on SSD except perhaps the lawyers.

January 27, 2013 at 7:40 pm

How about giving SS to ONLY those who paid into it.....and cut the SSI...only for people who are truely disabled!

OMIGD that might be the fix......BUT politicians would never go for it..let alone the current the white house.