Susan Tompor, USA TODAY
Look at your paycheck lately? Get ready for a fiscal shock when $20 or more is zapped out each week to cover a bump in Social Security taxes.
A payroll tax break that was designed as a temporary decrease during the financial slump goes away in 2013, as part of the fiscal cliff deal.
Cut 2% off a salary of $60,000 and you're saying goodbye to $1,200 a year - or $100 a month.
Where do you make up the shortfall? Look at some big-budget items:
Get green by watching utility bills.
No, you won't save $300 a year just by turning off the lights when you leave a room.
But if you're running a second older refrigerator in the basement, it could be costing $10 or more a month, or $120 a year, said Bob Fegan, principal energy analyst for DTE Energy.
Experts note that older refrigerators and freezers use two to three times more electricity than ones that are 10 years old or less.
One way to save 10% on a heating bill is to dial down 1 or 2 degrees all day long - and then dial down 5 more degrees at night or when at work, Fegan said.
As a practical measure, don't dial down more than about 10 degrees unless doing it for a longer period of time, such as the entire weekend.
Fegan also cautioned that if you have an older house with poor insulation, don't dial down too far and risk freezing water pipes located near outside walls.
Dialing down could add up to $80 or more in savings during the winter. But you have to have a programmable thermostat or dial it yourself all the time.
"You can't just do it once in a while and think you're going to save any money," Fegan said.
Another option: Some experts say consumers can cut an electric bill by $60 a year if they replace standard bulbs in their five most frequently used light fixtures with the Energy Star compact fluorescent light bulbs. Fegan said new CFL bulbs are less expensive and offer better lighting than early products.
Savings so far: $260 a year.
Treat $100 like $100.
It's a lot more fun to say you saved $100 off the price of a jacket than brag about saving $100 on car insurance.
But pricing your insurance can create real savings - not additional spending, like the jacket.
John Egan, managing editor for InsuranceQuotes.com, a Bankrate.com company, said bumping up a deductible on your car insurance from $200 to $500 can cut a car insurance premium 15% to 30%. Raising a deductible from $200 to $1,000 could cut the premium by as much as 40%.
Consumers can get discounts for bundling insurance and cut 15% to 30% off premiums if they obtain car insurance and homeowners insurance with the same company.
The national average car insurance premium is $900. Save up to 30% and you're saving $270 a year - or $22.50 a month.
It's hard to put specific dollar figures on insurance savings, as premiums vary greatly by age, driving record and states.
Cut out credit card and checking account fees.
See if you're paying an extra $15 a month for an interest-bearing checking account, said Greg McBride, senior financial analyst for Bankrate.com.
The interest rate being paid might be as little as 0.05% of the money in your checking account. So why pay roughly $180 a year if you fall below the minimum balance?
"All around it's a bad deal," McBride said.
Find free checking either via direct deposit or a community bank or credit union with no strings attached.
Other fees: Are you paying $10 a month for credit card protection plans or credit-monitoring services? Here's another way to save $120 a year: Ditch those plans.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau says that many consumers unknowingly signed up for ID theft plans and insurance coverage for credit card debt. Often, they don't understand the restrictions of credit-related insurance plans.
Do you pay $4 to $5 a pop to use an ATM not connected to your bank? Save $60 a year, if you pay that fee once a month.
Eliminate a couple overdraft charges and you're saving an extra $70 or more. McBride said consumers would want to link checking and savings accounts to avoid overdrafts.
Watch out for seasonal deals.
If you want to save hundreds of dollars on clothing, wait two months after new clothes arrive at the store so you can buy them at serious markdowns, said Lindsay Sakraida, features director for Dealnews.com, which aggregates bargain prices.
The end of January is a good time to buy winter coats at up to 70% off, she said. Late January and February are good times to replace electronics, such as TVs, if you buy last year's models. February and March tend to offer better deals on linens and bedding, according to Dealnews.com.
Make sure to check prices online and elsewhere to make sure you've spotted a real bargain. Experts note that so-called regular prices can be inflated - and a deal may not be as good as promoted.
Other ways to save:
Buy a product during the holidays with a rebate? File for the rebates soon; use gift cards offered via rebates quickly as some can have monthly fees that cut into the value.
Do you regularly spend $40 a month on exercise classes that you don't attend? Or do you frequently spend $40 a month on a blah dinner out? Find a way to eliminate $40 a month, and you're saving $480 a year.
Some consumers who are looking at making major energy improvements would want to review special programs. No home appraisal or equity is required.
Also check with your utility to see what types of rebates might be offered on energy-efficient furnaces.
Dorothy Barrick, financial counselor and group manager for GreenPath Debt Solutions, a national non-profit credit counselor, said consumers can save in a variety of areas that aren't essential. Color your own hair to save $80 or more, she said. Or think of removing a movie channel from your cable line. Avoid wasting gas in a long drive-through lane. Go inside the bank or restaurant if there's a long line or you have a larger order.
Is there a way to cut your phone bill? Do you really need that land line when everyone reaches you on your cell phone? Can you opt for a prepaid cell plan with fewer bells and whistles? What about the cost of your Internet plan? It does not hurt to comparison-shop plans - and ask for a lower price with existing providers.
Take cash to the gas station. Some stations offer a lower price for gas if you use cash rather than plastic.
Ask about any discounts for good students with good grades if you have a young student driver on a policy.