Financial Tip of the Week: Getting Ahead with a Smaller Paycheck



Many Americans are seeing their paychecks is a little lighter
this year, due to a payroll tax increase that is forcing millions of people to
make tough budget cuts.

The tax has risen back up to 6.2 percent from 4.2
percent, costing someone making $50,000 annually about $1,000 per year and a
household with two high-paid workers up to $4,500.

But regardless of how
many zeros it contains, there are steps you can take to help make ends meet by
being smart with the money you have.

The following tips, provided by BMO
Harris Bank, can make your pay check stretch farther:

  • Budget for essentials first. There are certain expenses in
    life that are non-negotiable, such as a place to live, food to eat and
    transportation to and from work. These are costs you should budget for first.
    The easiest way to create a budget is by adding up all of your fixed and
    essential costs for one month and subtracting this amount from your monthly take
    home pay. The amount that's left is what you have available for optional
    expenses, such as going out with friends, buying clothing and purchasing concert
  • Get what you want for less. You like eating out -- but you
    also have to pay your rent. Fortunately, there are steps you can take that allow
    you to do both. These days, you can get almost anything at a discount. Whether
    its gas, groceries, dining out, movie tickets, haircuts or even an exotic
    vacation, it's likely there are online coupons or mobile apps to help you find
    what you want at a lower cost.
  • And don't forget about things that don't cost anything at
    If you can't afford to meet your friends for happy hour, suggest
    meeting at free events instead. You'll still get to socialize and it will likely
    be a new experience for you and your friends.
  • Only buy what you really love. Ask yourself if you truly
    can't live without an item before laying down the cash for it. If the item is
    currently outside your budget, for example, an expensive watch, you can either
    begin saving for it little by little or find a way to get it for less. For
    example, you may be able to find what you're looking for online at a fraction of
    the retail price.

Source: BMO Harris Bank