There has been a reduced Social Security payroll tax rate for the past 2 years. It was reduced from 6.2% to 4.2%. At this time it is scheduled to revert back to 6.2% January 1, 2013, unless Congress decides not to let the payroll tax holiday expire at the end of 2012.

It may not seem like a big deal, but if you are living close to paycheck to paycheck any dollar can make a difference.

With the tax rate increase, someone making $50,000 a year would pay an extra $1,000 in taxes in 2013, reducing the monthly take-home pay by $83.33. If you have stretched yourself thin with holiday bills, this reduction of your pay will be even more painful.

Here is a link to a calculator to figure how it will affect your paycheck.

There was an article on with more information on the tax increase.

The Season of Light show at the MSUM Planetarium in Moorhead began Thursday night, November 29. The show runs thru December 23 on Thursday, Saturday, Sunday and Mondays at 7 pm and Saturday and Sundays at 2 pm. Admission is $5 for adults and $2.50 for children under 12.

I attended the show on the first night and highly recommend adding it to your list of Christmas activities. The show is an hour long and covers some of the constellations to look for and the history of some of the holiday customs from around the world.

The Planetarium is located in Bridges Hall on the MSUM campus at 11th Street and 7th Ave S, Moorhead.

At the end of the show, the trailer is shown for the next show that begins in January, “Larry Cat in Space”.

There are people in need all year long, but it is emphasized during the holiday season. Even if you don’t feel like you have money to give, there may be other ways to help.

Crystal from is doing a 31 day series about Giving on a Budget.

You may have skills and hobbies that will help others without costing you much money.

Nancy Kvamme
Posted in Budgeting, Saving
Nancy Kvamme

Here are some gift ideas. The ideas include a variety of ways of wrapping gifts and simple gift ideas.

Nancy Kvamme

In a recent post I listed the upcoming deals at Starbucks. Caribou Coffee also has 20 deals for 20 days that started on November 26.

Posted in Budgeting, Saving
Nancy Kvamme

Here is a Pinterest board I have compiled with Christmas ideas of recipes, decorating ideas and gift ideas.

Posted in Holiday Planning
Nancy Kvamme

When I was considering the topic of this blog post I thought of the idea I had read of recently about making a christmas bucketlist. With the numerous events going on in December it may become overwhelming. It may be less stressful if you sit down with your family and consider which things you really want to do and limit yourself so you are not overbooked.

Then I saw that Jessica from had written a post on different ideas to counting down to the holidays.

There may be many events in your community that are free or low cost to help your holiday budget go further.

Posted in Holiday Planning
Nancy Kvamme


Now that we are past Thanksgiving and “Black Friday”, tomorrow is known as CyberMonday, which is the online equivalent of Black Friday. Many online retailers are having sales like other stores have deals on Black Friday.

Online shopping is becoming more popular with people for their holiday and everyday shopping. Many stores offer free shopping and other deals trying to get your business. It is a way to do your shopping if it is difficult for you to get out of the house or if you don’t like the crowds of shopping around the holidays.

Here are some tips for safe online shopping.

Even though you may be able to snag great deals with these sales keep in mind what you actually need to purchase. The retailers offer these great deals to get you into the stores hoping that you will purchase other things also. It isn’t such a good deal if you end up purchasing things you may not need.

It is important to remember there is more to the holiday season than gifts and parties. If your circumstances have changed and you need to cut back, it may be easier to make cuts for what you can afford than to go into debt.

As Suze Orman says at the end of all of her shows, “People First, Then Money, Then Things.”

Nancy Kvamme

Here is the third part of the holiday series I did last year.

The first 2 parts can be found here.

Nancy Kvamme