Atlanta Consumers Look For Ways To Pay Increasing Gas Prices

Uncle Sam was hoping a recent tax cut would get pumped back into the economy - but it looks like it might just get pumped into our gas tanks.

In December, President Obama signed a payroll tax cut that would slash Social Security withholdings from 6.2 percent to 4.2 percent in 2011- essentially a 2 percent annual raise. But just as the cut started taking effect this month, gas prices began climbing upward. Prices today are 37 cents a gallon more than they were at this time last year. And economists estimate that more than half of all drivers will have to adjust our finances accordingly, say Atlanta bankruptcy attorneys.

If we want to reserve that tax cut savings for ourselves rather than oil companies - say, to help pay the mortgage, lower debt or save for an upcoming vacation or down payment - we're going to have to take matters into our own hands.

Obviously those of us lucky enough to have a transportation choice can bike, carpool or take public transit to work - or simply drive less when we're not commuting. But if we're stuck with our pedal to the metal, there are other ways to free up cash. Maybe higher gas prices are just the excuse we need to finally kick our smoking habit (who wants to spend hundreds a month on something that can kill you anyway?) or give up frivolous expenses like cable or frequent restaurant meals. Or maybe they're an excuse to finally trim up our budget by altering little things - for instance, donning a sweater indoors so we can lower the heat 10 degrees and vowing to only run the washing machine and dishwasher with a full load.

Of course, it's ridiculous to keep hacking away at an already bare-bones budget if - like many Americans - you've got money tied up in multiple debts. By freeing yourself from obligations like credit card bills, loans and medical bills, you can free up more money each month for everyday expenses (and no, interest shouldn't have to be an everyday expense). If your debts are unmanageable, bankruptcy may be your best bet. Find out if bankruptcy can help you achieve financial freedom when you try a free one-on-one debt analysis with one of our Atlanta bankruptcy attorneys.

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