Social Security Increase

If you're on social security, get ready for about a 25 dollar increase in your average monthly checks next year. However, more than half of that will be eaten up by higher medicare premiums.

The raise in the check amounts reflects the annual cost of living adjustment. Advocates for the elderly say millions on social security at the low end of the scale won't see any gain.

Another problem is the big jump in heating costs. That increase will further erode the cost of living increase.

For lower income households, this winter could be tough unless energy prices come down soon. One economist says many may have to choose between buying Christmas presents and paying their heating bill.