Have you received your first 2013 paycheck yet? If not, brace yourself: it's going to be smaller. And your boss is probably struggling to explain it.
Unless you are a business owner or accountant, you probably don't know, and don't care to know how your company figures out payroll, withholding, insurance and all those other things that go into your paycheck.
You just want to know the money will be there.
Business Owners Worry
But behind the scenes, these are very frustrating times for people who run small businesses.
Mike Luken has run his family's seafood market since 1977. But he has never entered a new year with such uncertainty, knowing that his 8 employees will be looking at smaller paychecks.
"The payroll's not gonna change, they're going to be paid the same amount of money," Luken said. "But what's going to happen with taxes, and the extra $10 you had every week in your paycheck: Is that going to disappear?"
The biggest issue: The expiration of the temporary 2% Social Security tax break, which gave the average worker an extra $1,000 year the past 2 years.
Pay Cut in January, a Second in February
Luken says that will be just the start for his employees.
No sooner will they get used to smaller paychecks in January then they may get another cut in February, when he has to readjust for rising health care premiums.
"We offer health insurance to some of our employees,but we have no idea where that's heading also. Except the rates, when we renew in February, are going to be higher."
That, he says, will hurt everyone from him to his employees to his customers, which will mean less money coming in.
"If they lose 10 dollars a week, over a years time, what does that amount to," he wondered. "Then going out to dinner once or twice, or vacation? Everyone's going to have to cut back a little bit."
The one thing that is certain is your January pay will probably be less than it was last year.
So budget accordingly, so you don't waste your money.
Don't Waste Your Money is a registered trademark of the EW Scripps Co.
"Like" John Matarese on Facebook
Follow John on Twitter (@DWYM)
Copyright 2013 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.