Wallet Watch: Get your budget back on track in 2023


Welcome back!

The first Wallet Watch of 2023 is here, with a weekly recap of everything you missed while you were hunting for ibuprofen, polishing off leftovers, and cleaning up confetti.

Each week, the MLive economy team—reporters Lindsay Moore and Rose White and editor Danielle Salisbury—share news you could use but lost on your holiday adventure.

Start the new year with clean (financial) health

Before we start the new year, let’s check your financial well-being. How exactly do you stick to your holiday budget? Did you bring it up for parties and gifts? We’ve been there.

In fact, there have been a lot of people there.

Before Christmas, the National Retail Federation reported that 43% of consumers said they don’t earn enough to cover the cost of gifts and holiday products. More than 30% planned to use credit cards.

Danielle spoke with a personal finance and business expert to offer tips on how to get back on track.

Right off the bat, Dorethia Kelly, founder and CEO of #MoneyChat in metro Detroit, says you should stop yourself, stop the cycle of shame, and assess the damage.

If you overspent and need to make a quick break, the first thing you need to do is stop spending and pick up a side gig like Instacart, DoorDash, or Uber Eats.

If the holidays are putting you in debt, it’s time to make some big cuts. Kelly suggests a two-month financial cleanse. Buy only the essentials and find cheap or free fun.

High inflation actually moderated this year’s gas tax

The new year begins with numerous legislative changes, such as the annual gas tax.

In Michigan, the annual gas tax increases each year by either 5% or inflation – whichever is lower.

Since inflation was about 8% in 2022, the gas tax will only increase 5% in 2023. That’s 1.4 cents per gallon.

That means that on January 1, Michigan’s gas tax was 28.6 cents per gallon. For every 15 gallons of gas purchased, it adds 21 cents to the total bill.

That’s the result of a state law signed into law during Gov. Rick Snyder’s term that automatically increases the gas tax every year starting in 2022.

Michigan went nearly 20 years without a gas tax increase until Snyder signed a road funding package to raise the gas tax and raise registration fees. Tax money goes to state roads.

As of the new year, Michigan’s average gas price was barely below the national average, at $3.22 statewide and $3.26 nationally. Prices were close to where 2022 started at $3.09 a year ago, according to AAA.

Michigan’s minimum wage will rise above $10 for the first time

Another state law requires Michigan’s minimum wage to be raised every year. This year, that push raised the wage to $10.10 an hour, up from $9.87 an hour in 2022.

The law obliges wages to increase every year, unless annual unemployment is over 8.5%, so there will be no increase in 2021.

The tipped minimum wage will rise to $3.84 by 2023, the 85 percent of minors aged 16 and 17 will be paid $8.59 an hour, and the education level for new workers aged 16 to 19 will remain unchanged at $4.25 an hour.

This increase is not part of the ongoing legal battle surrounding minimum wages and trickle-down wages stemming from a 2018 ballot initiative. The proposal would raise Michigan’s minimum wage to $13.03 and $11.73 for tipped workers in 2023. By 2024, the tipped wage must be at least minimum.

In its current form, the wage increase could take effect in February 2023. However, ongoing litigation could change this. The Court of Appeal’s decision is expected on or before February 19, when the break in the decision expires.

24-hour restaurants keep the tradition alive

You’re probably tired of being in the kitchen after all that holiday cooking. If you’re looking for comfort and home cooking any time of day, you’re in luck. Rose wrote about Michigan’s surviving 24-hour diners.

At the 76th Street Truck Stop in the Bryon Center, Rose sat in booths with night owls leaving the club and early risers starting their day with a fresh cup of river.

These types of classic diners are rare these days. Some never opened for a full hour after the COVID-19 pandemic, others can’t hire enough staff for night shifts, and corporate restaurants like IHOP and McDonald’s close their doors by midnight. Rose talked to diners who remained steadfast and others who had to adapt to the times.

“There aren’t many places that are open 24/7. But a diner should be open 24 hours,” said Andy Demiri, owner of Fleetwood Diner in Ann Arbor. His business shortened working hours during the pandemic, but has since returned to 24 hours.

What’s new on Michigan’s menu?

If you’re in a 24/7 restaurant desert but still looking for a local place to eat, our community teams across the state have compiled an extensive list of openings and closings from 2022.

The state has plenty of new menu items: meadery in Ypsilanti, cinnamon rolls in Ann Arbor, shawarma in Fenton, Flamin’ Hot Cheeto elote in Saginaw, Cajun seafood in Norton Shores, Vietnamese fast casual in Grand Rapids and tiki drinks in Kalamazoo.

If you’re looking to kick off 2023 with a food tour of places you missed last year, check out these lists:

These businesses are slated to open throughout Washtenaw County in 2022

These businesses opened in Ann Arbor in 2022

These companies opened in Ypsilanti in 2022

A look at 2022 business openings and closings in mid-Michigan

Here are the businesses that opened (and reopened) in 2022 in the Flint area

20 restaurants in the Grand Rapids and Muskegon areas opening in 2022

26 new restaurants that began serving the Kalamazoo area in 2022

Do you want to read more about the economy? See all of ours inflation coverage here.

This story is part of MLive’s Wallet Watch series, which focuses on today’s financial issues. Got a Wallet Watch suggestion? Email us at [email protected].

More from MLive:

Eastern Kille’s planned $4.2 million headquarters aims to bring together craft cocktails and nature

10 new condos with 779 units to highlight residential development in Portage in 2022

MyMichigan Health hiring for over 100 jobs at January 11th event



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