Rising Gas Prices Put Financial Burden on Struggling Consumers

It looks like taxpayers might already have a use for that extra money from President Obama's payroll tax cut - filling up the gas tank.

Legislators hoped that the tax cut - which gives many Americans the equivalent of a 2 percent raise by shaving the amount of paycheck withholdings for Social Security from 6.2 to 4.2 percent - would boost the economy. But with today's gas prices almost 40 cents higher per gallon than they were a year ago, it looks like the savings will be boosting the bottom line of oil companies instead, say Chicago bankruptcy attorneys.

Of course, there are still choices we can make to lower the amount we spend on gas - and increase the likelihood that we'll actually see bigger paychecks this year. Obviously we can save on gas by using less of it - by carpooling or taking the bus to work for instance.

But if that's not an option, we can also adjust our budget by making cuts elsewhere to compensate for higher gas prices. Perhaps we can give up our extra cable channels, that gym membership we never get around to using, or our bottled water habit. Maybe we can wear a sweater at home so we can lower the thermostat, hang our clothes out to dry or commit to only doing laundry when we have a full load. They might sound like minor details, but the little things can add up to cover that extra five to ten bucks you're forking over at the pump.

Of course, the problem with gas prices is that they just keep going up - and you can only trim your budget so much. But what if you could find another raise in addition to the payroll tax cut? If you've got money tied up in debt - from credit card debt to medical bills - you can free up cash by paying off your balances. With bankruptcy, you'll find an effective way to lower or eliminate debt, saving potentially hundreds or thousands of dollars that would have gone towards interest. Look at it as a fresh start. Have questions about bankruptcy? Get them answered for free with a no-cost personal debt analysis courtesy of a Chicago bankruptcy attorney.

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