Ways to save before fiscal cliff

Financial experts say Americans will be affected, but there are ways to save

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Financial experts say taxpayers will be affected no matter what fiscal cliff deal Congress comes to, but that Americans can start doing things to save money along the way.

With historic tax increases set to hit virtually every American at the start of 2013, President Obama and members of the Senate are headed back to Washington today, to try to strike a deal.
Even if Republicans and Democrats do see eye to eye, financial experts say American taxpayers will still be affected, but there are some ways that Americans can save money with changes on the way.

If the House and Senate can't agree on a plan to avoid the fiscal cliff, more than $500 billion in tax increases and spending cuts will take effect January 1st. But according to tax experts, Americans can minimize the fiscal cliff blow.

One word of advice from financial experts -- pay mortgage ahead of time, if possible.

"Prepay some items like mortgage payments that are due January 1st," Vera Hodge with H&R Block said. "Pay by the 31st. They will give you a tax break and that will be accepted as a December payment."

Vera Hedge said paying now could save someone hundreds of dollars, even on medical supplies that would be deducted from taxes.

"If you're in that itemized deduction bracket, get them paid by December 31st," Hedge said. "Get your eyeglasses, dental work down. You can pay with charge cards counted as paid this year."

Parents can save money too by paying for their child's tuition in advance because a refundable education credit expires December 31.

Hedge said it's better to be ahead of the game, because our paychecks could be cut by two percent.

She also said those who count on their tax return check, will have to wait longer than ever.

"The IRS is not planning on opening up or accepting tax returns until the earliest January 22nd," Hedge said. "Also the forms aren't ready, and the computers. There's a lot of work to do."

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