Paycheck cut: How workers are coping with smaller paychecks

Don't Waste Your Money

By now, everyone who works has received their first January paycheck.

And for many people, it was a bit of a case of sticker shock, a lot smaller than they've seen in a while.

Now come concerns it could impact the economy.

Has to Cut Back Somewhere

Marcia Muse was buying a little less at the lunch wagon truck this noontime. Like millions of American workers this month, she's just taken a pay cut.

"It's smaller than I was expecting," she said.

The end of the Social Security Payroll tax break is already impacting workers at the Clean Clothes Company, a cleaners and laundromat.

"It doesn't make me happy," she said.  "You try to budget everything out, and then all of a sudden you've got less money."

These employees are now opening paychecks $20 to $40 smaller than last year's. Employee Lisa McLain says her cut works out to an entire day of day care.

"It's more difficult for me to pay my child care for that; $35 equates to a days worth of child care for my daughter where I take her, so its a substantial change."

    --If you earn $30,000 a year, you'll take home $600 less this year.

    --If you earn $50,000 it's more like $1,000 less. That's $80 a month.

Businesses Could be Hit

And that could hit restaurants, movie theaters, and even lunch wagons, as workers try to figure out where to trim.

"I just don't know where yet," McLain said. "It'll probably be the grocery story, because you have to pay your bills."

If it helps, you can think about the positive side of this boost in withholding.

Unlike a tax hike that goes who knows where, this benefits the social security trust fund, which will mean more money in it for you in the future.

As always, don't waste your money.

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