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ZEPHYRA's avatar

Have you often been in a position where your salary was enough to cover basic expenses without leaving room for saving?

Asked by ZEPHYRA (16001 points ) July 31st, 2014

No matter how you worked it out, it was just enough to cover basic expenses and left no room for even the slightest savings.

Were you forced to take on a second job or did you just live hand to mouth?

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17 Answers

El_Cadejo's avatar

Yup, I lived paycheck to paycheck for a while. Often the decision would be “Do I eat today or put gas in my car? I mean I have to put gas in my car because if I don’t I can’t get to work to make money, then I definitely won’t eat. Guess we’re eating shitty unhealthy food again today.”

I would have taken up a second job but that’s pretty hard to do when you’re in school with a shitty schedule.

JLeslie's avatar

For a few months I actually could not pay all my bills, and kept playing the float game to try and not be late on anything. For about a year I was paycheck to paycheck, and any savings I might get together in a month or two would be used up a month later when an unexpected expense like my car needing service would arise. I was lucky to have the car my parents had bought me when I was teen, which was all paid off. If I had needed to buy a “new” car or pay a monthly payment for one, I would not have made it financially. I lived with a roommate at the time to keep expenses down.

I didn’t take a second job, I don’t think I could have physically done it. I was very young, in my early twenties, single, no children, so I didn’t have the weight of big responsibilities on me, and I didn’t have the weight of being near retirement either.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Yes, about 15 years ago I started my first real job and any money I saved was from overtime. I was single, lived in a cheap apartment and owned almost nothing. My bed was a mattress on the floor, I had couch, a table made from scrap wood,a tv and a computer. Even then I still managed to put some back. It’s harder now because I’m married and my S.O. likes to have things like cable. I could still get by without much but as Dave Ramsey says you need the spender so you have a life. I’m in much better shape financially these days and can afford a few luxury items though.

livelaughlove21's avatar

Yep, when I was in college, not working, and living off of my husband’s income. It was this way for about a year. We had to charge unexpected expenses (medical/vet bills, for instance) to credit, but otherwise just waited it out until I could graduate. We’re still paying in one credit card, but no longer living paycheck to paycheck.

majorrich's avatar

As a pensioner, that’s how it is for me now. Actually hits the savings a bit each month. That’s because CoLAs have been frozen for quite a while, and I’m not old enough to start collecting my annuities.

cookieman's avatar

We have lived through all spectrums of this since we’ve been married…

income > expenses
but too stupid to save

income = expenses
paycheck to paycheck

income < expenses
killed our credit

income > expenses
finally smart enough to save

I’m hoping we can stick with that last one for a good long while.

Cupcake's avatar

Yes, always.

I had a child a 16. The effects of that don’t ever go away financially. Now that I’m in my mid 30s, I have to figure out how to pay for that kid’s college as well as daycare for 2 little ones.

As soon as we get a bit extra, something goes wrong and we have to pay for it. All of my middle class friends/family say the same. None of us have savings.

LuckyGuy's avatar

No. Once I got out of school my salary was always more than enough. My spending habits have always been conservative and careful.

I finished school first and then got married at 22. We had our first child when I was 28 and financially stable.
Small daily expenses add up to big number at the end of a year or 20, 30 years down the line.
I now have enough of a cushion to last a long time.

Pazza's avatar

SInce I was 17.
Now 39.

Wifes just gone back to work after raising the spoggs.
So only just got small amount of cash to save in the last 12 months.
Which has just gone to pay the flaggers who flagged the garden.

downtide's avatar

I lived like that all my life until about two years ago. I’m now 47. Needless to say I don’t have much saved yet, but thankfully, and finally, its growing.

cookieman's avatar

I’m always amazed, and a little jealous, of people who figured out personal finance at a young age. I assume they had a good example growing up.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@cookieman My parents were very frugal and taught me well. Anything you save at a young age will be a lot when you are older. My father showed me the importance of compound interest – before the days of calculators and computers. His example was 10% per year. We took a dollar and multiplied by 1.1. He did it again, then again, etc. It was worth 2 dollars in 7 years, and doubled every 7 years. In 14 years it was $4 in 21 it was $8 in 28 years it was $16. Someone who wastes $1 per day throws out $500 at the end of a year. In 28 years that is $8000 at 10%. For nothing!
People who regularly go out the bar and have a drink or two spend way more than they realize. It adds up. And druggies spend so much more. What a waste.
I had an idiot friend who would make fun of a person who would “stoop for a penny”. Screw him! I still stoop for a penny. If it takes a second I’m getting paid $36 per hour tax free! And I get exercise.
Thanks Dad!

anniereborn's avatar

I have been doing that since my divorce in 1998.

talljasperman's avatar

Yes… full time night shift at a convenience store. I made $6.50/hour. After two year I got a raise to $7.75/hour. in 2007 part time I made $10.00/hour.

cookieman's avatar

@LuckyGuy: Such a different experience we had. My parents showed me that money and bills were something to be stressed about, screamed and argued about, and often resulted in tears and the ingestion of a Valium.

jca's avatar

When I was in college, I was usually broke and fortunately, I had a boyfriend who lent (or gave) me money for car insurance or whatever was the financial crisis of the moment. Luckily for me, it’s been a long time since I’ve been in that situation and now am very comfortable financially. Big purchases I am not running out the door to buy. My next one will be a car, maybe toward the end of this year, we’ll see.

I do Deferred Comp thru work. I won’t say what I have in there now, but after 15 years of anywhere between 3 and 10% contributions, it’s all added up nicely and I’m very happy. It’s been painless and you don’t miss the money. Actually, part of what you contribute would have been lost to taxes anyway.

@LuckyGuy: Once I was in a gas station and dropped a nickel on the ground. There was another customer who saw me ignoring the nickel, and he told me that his dad told him “you’ll never get rich throwing money away.” I then stooped to get the nickel and ever since then, I remember that and will pick up change on the ground. When I was young, my friends used to throw pennies on the ground, like they were proud that they didn’t need them. I never did that but how foolish was that?

JLeslie's avatar

I pick up money too. Everything counts. I also will leave a penny or pick a penny when a store has pennies on the counter. I also give people change whenever they are short, mainly back in the day of vending machines and hens not taking dollar bills, and people have done it for me many times.

A woman who worked for me years ago told me a story about when she first had arrived in America. She and her husband has been here several weeks and one day they found a bunch of change laying in a parking lot. Probably totalled a few dollars. Just a couple days later some obnoxious person seemingly annoyed with immigrants said to her “you people think there is money in the streets here.” She smiled and replied, “there is.”

Hint: the is often change on the lots at car dealerships. It’s a superstitition that throwing money on the lots will bring them money, similar to making a wish in a fountain.

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