In fact, even the best-paid top performers will have a harder time making ends meet:
New projections from The Conference Board show that the average company will budget just 2.8% of its salary pool for wage increases, barely exceeding inflation -- the first time in more than two decades that number has fallen below 3%. Furthermore, the business research organization says employers are adjusting their pay scales for all employees downward -- in fact, the 2010 salary structure adjustment for all categories of employees is projected to be 2% or less, far lower than the Conference Board's projected inflation rate of 2.6%.
This isn't very good news when basic costs keep rising across the board, whether we're talking about medical deductibles, dairy products or clothing detergent. Throw in an unexpected expense -- a birthday present, an extra tank of gas, a new part for the stove -- and you could be looking at month left over at the end of the money. In this recession, payday can't get here fast enough.
No wonder Americans are becoming avid coupon clippers just like grandma. Coupon use increased last year for the first time since 1992, according to recent report from coupon processor Inmar.
Americans clipped 3.3 billion - billion! - coupons in 2009. Actually, it's more accurate to say that Americans accessed these coupons on their computers, because new data reveal consumers are using online coupons over newspaper coupons by a 10-to-1 margin.
So if you can't offer employees a raise, some really great coupons for life's basic necessities could help ease the sting.