One of the more interesting topics in the U.S. economic news is this tax cut that will (hopefully) leave an additional $50 to $85 dollars in our paychecks next year. This, apparently, is due to the fact that individuals won't be paying into Social Security in 2011 (which, honestly, seems rather inadvisable given the sorry state of our Social Security system, but I'm not making the decisions in D.C., folks!)
In any case, I came across an article with suggestions for how to use this windfall. This may be especially useful for those of us who - whether currently or in our spendthrift past - may be likely to fritter that money away as soon as it shows up in our paychecks.
- The first suggestion is a great one (because I've already put it into practice with my first January paycheck!) Basically, the idea is to avoid a post-Christmas financial hangover by putting those extra dollars away in a special holiday savings account, thereby gaining a nice cushion when the gift buying season raises its expensive head once again;
- Second, how about starting a fund just for the car maintenance costs? I have actually mentioned wanting to do this, since I drive an old car and am constantly anxious about spending money on new brakes, new tires, tune-ups, etc. Unfortunately for me, I'm not sure I have room in the budget, but it's a great idea all the same;
- How about some extra education (such as a certificate or associates degree) that will put you in the running for a new, more meaningful (or better compensated) job? I'm currently working four jobs and two of them came as a result of the degree I recently completed;
- Medical costs can add up over the year, so this extra cash could be used to create a medical fund to pay for prescriptions and copays. Although the article doesn't mention it, I think this extra money could enhance your health by paying for a gym membership - as long as you actually use it;
- Finally, how about having some well-earned fun? During the Great Recession, many of us have felt overworked and underfunded and as a result we've replaced vacations with 'staycations'. If you feel the need to add some (inexpensive) fun to your life once again, an extra $50 to $80 a month might be just the ticket!