Chances are, your paycheck fell off the fiscal cliff this month.
President Obama and congress let a temporary payroll tax cut lapse, resulting in lighter paychecks. Estimates say a person earning $50,000 a year will take home $1,000 less per year.
Meanwhile, a study from online lender NetCredit
found that one out of two Americans live paycheck to paycheck.
Despite the grim news for everyday workers, there are simple steps to take right now
that will make take-home pay last until at least the next pay day.
A recent infographic from NetCredit compared paychecks from yesteryear with those of today. (You can see the infographic here
.) The graphic includes seven tips to stretch paychecks. Here are those tips, along with some commentary:
1. Make your own coffee
According to NetCredit, brewing your coffee at home instead of buying one $2 cup every weekday could save $250 a year. If you want to take that home brew with you, invest in a good travel mug. Chicago-based Intelligentsia coffee makes a great one. It’ll cost you $30, but this mug is worth it. Find it here
2. Buy in bulk
Got to your nearest big box store—Costco, Sam’s Club, whatever—to stock up on staples such as cereal, pasta, and other non-perishable items. You pay more upfront, but you’ll save money down the line.
3. Buy generic
Under many circumstances, the generic products at grocery and drug stores offer the same benefits and tastes as the name brands. Plus, they’re cheaper. Compare generic to name brand and see what you think.
4. Say bye to bottled water
Tap water isn’t too bad, depending on where you live. Chicagoans, for example, get their H2O from Lake Michigan—not bad. Start taking advantage of this free (or nearly free) water. While you’re at it, buy a reusable water bottle. Klean Kanteens do the trick quite well. Take a look at them here
5. Ditch cable
Cable bills are astronomical. So why not cut the cord? Thanks to Netflix, iTunes, Hulu, and network websites, you’ll never miss your favorite shows. The cost of Internet—you’ll still need that—and various subscription fees will be a fraction of what you pay for cable.
6. Eat in
Avoiding pricey restaurants doesn’t mean you need to eat hot dogs and beans every night; you can still get creative in the kitchen—and have fun doing it. Your dinner guests will appreciate it. Oh, and make enough food so there are leftovers. That way you don’t have to buy lunch the next day.
7. Use the library
Chances are, your local library has a collection of not only books, but also DVDs, magazines, and art. There’s a good chance you can browse those titles online.
Have you done anything to stretch your paycheck? Let us know in the comments.