Living From Paycheck to Paycheck

A friend’s financial situation got had me thinking about myself, as these things often do. Because we are basically living from paycheck to paycheck, with no savings or retirement plan. We’re not even chipping away at our debt very fast.

I’ve never really been too concerned about saving for retirement. I know, I know, this is a personal finance blog, what am I thinking?   I guess when your own parents don’t worry about such things, it kind of rubs off on a person? For one thing, the religion I grew up in told us practically daily that the rapture was going to happen anytime. And most likely soon. We were told in the “latter days” bread would be over $1 a loaf. Well, we’re way past that so I don’t know about that theory anymore. I mean, the one that says the rapture will occur before the price of bread rises.

And I remember that my mom always rented, and never had a home of her home. Every since my dad abandoned us when I was five.  My mom to this day has no credit rating to speak of. No savings, no retirement.  At least now she owns her home free and clear, but it is a rundown neighborhood surrounded by town homes. They will probably do that thing one day where they kick people out and hopefully her land will be worth enough that she can find a new place to live. What my mom does have going for her is she has six children. I kind of figure my mom will live with me one day, and I’ll care for her until she passes away. So at least she’s got that as a fall back plan. She currently is living on Supplemental Security Income, money she gets because she was married to my stepfather for fourteen years. Interestingly enough, she was divorced from him I think it was twenty years and I guess these are considered survivor benefits for her, because she never remarried.

I had a friend whose mom owned her own home, free and clear. I guess I always thought I’d buy a home, get it paid for in time to retire and then I’d be really frugal. I never saw a need to have a million dollars in the bank to retire.

Now that I’m 46, I find myself wishing we had a bit more stability finance-wise.  Mr. A’s businesses are thriving, but nowhere to the point where I can quit my job. I don’t have any retirement benefits at my job, well, nothing to speak of.  We have this one thing where once we’re fully vested we get some pitiful amount when we retire.  Or we can get it rolled over into an IRA or something like that. A coworker recently retired and I think she was with the company at least ten years and all she got was around $4000. That’s crazy.

So we’re currently pretty much living paycheck to paycheck, but I know Mr. A’s businesses have the potential to earn us much more. That’s why I am willing to work as hard as I am, working my own job, and also doing his bookwork for his business.

I know we’re going to just keep doing better and better, and maybe one day I can share my story of how we made it through living paycheck to paycheck, and are on a much better financial path.

So what about you, do you live paycheck to paycheck?

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6 thoughts on “Living From Paycheck to Paycheck

  1. I don’t live paycheck to paycheck. I was very, very fortune to start out ahead of the game. I had broken my arm as a child, sued, and got $15k which was mine at the age of 18. My dad also gave me about $10k when I graduated to get started out. They never bought me a car so most of that $10k went to a car and paying rent when I was looking for a job. My parents paid for my undergrad tuition so I finished school with no loans. Since graduating college 4 years ago I’ve increased my income from $15k per year to $75k per year. Even though I had savings when I graduated, I did not go out and blow it all right away. I did have some dips in there, but I never let my savings go under $15k. Right now it’s up to about $45k. I try to grow it $10k per year. I’m thinking about going back to grad school and really worried about debt and living paycheck to paycheck. This is one of the major reasons that I haven’t applied yet. I don’t want to be poor when I retire and my company also has no retirement plan to speak of.

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    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    Hi Her Every Cent Counts: I love hearing how you were able to get ahead, sorry to hear about your broken arm though. I hope it healed up perfectly. It sounds like you are doing an awesome job with your career and saving money! I am a little envious of you! Thank you for visiting and commenting!

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  2. I am basically living paycheck to paycheck as well because I do not have enough of an emergency fund to carry me through if I do not get paid for one month. I do budget so if for some strange reason the paycheck is delayed things can run smoothly until the end of the month but if I lost my job and could not find another within two months then I would be climbing the walls.

    Of course this is a result of spending 7 of the last 10 years in school (bachelors, then masters, then teaching certification) so I have only really worked a total of 3 years since leaving school full time….and coupled with paying for college through my credit cards.

    I am saving and paying down debt and working on breaking out of the cycle soon.

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    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    Hi Lulu, thank you for sharing a bit of your story. I’m sure your financial situation will continue to get better and better as the years go by with your degrees. Good for you for trying to get out of debt as soon as possible! Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I appreciate the feedback and conversation! Mrs. A

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  3. We aren’t, but we started down this path after 9/11 and so many IT jobs were lost, so we’re something like 7 years into it. You just keep doing what you are doing! It’s interesting, because there are always goals. You reach one and then start the next one. 🙂 We just finished saving a 6-month emergency fund (we are debt-free except for our 15-year-term mortgage), and have a good retirement fund. Starting in January, I’m going to be saving to remodel my 28-year-old kitchen – in cash. It will take a bit of time, but worth it to not put on a credit card.

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    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    Sheila, thank you for the encouragement! I would sure feel a lot better about our finances if we had a six month emergency fund, congratulations on that! What a big accomplishment! And I think it’s awesome that you are going to remodel your kitchen using cash! I am curious if you have anyplace in your area like this one place we have here called Stardust Building Supply? It is a non-profit that has all kinds of remodeling materials for really great prices, up to 80% off! Like these beautiful pieces of marble slab for kitchen counters, big bathtubs, and even ovens and stoves and dishwashers. Here is a page on their site that shows some sample prices. It’s like a Goodwill or Savers but for home remodeling. I love to go there and just look around to see if there is anything I can use there. OH! I got my two toilets from there one time. I researched the brand and found out my peach colored one would have cost around $400 brand new, and the white toilet retailed for $300. They were American Standard brand, Cadet line. I paid $10 for my peach one, and $25 for the white one. My peach toilet was missing the matching lid but I just keep it covered so who would know? Anyway, I just wanted to mention Stardust because maybe you could find a place like that to help cut costs with your kitchen remodel. Thank you again for stopping by and commenting! Thanks for stopping by and commenting! Mrs. A

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