What Does Living Paycheck To Paycheck Mean?

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What Does Living Paycheck To Paycheck Mean?

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So, two different episodes came into play last month at work and they both had to do with how much money is my checking account. Okay, not really, but that's how I portrayed it in my head, because in my world it is all about me. After all, if you don't put you first, no one else will. Ahem, moving along.  What Does Living Paycheck to Paycheck mean?

Our computers at work were down for almost two weeks. I don't know about your company, but all of our stuff is saved onto a general network from which we can access from anywhere in our organization, no matter where the location; this is both a blessing and a curse.

I love that I can upload it at anytime and access anything I'm working on no matter where I am, but when it's down it's down. As in, none of us can access anything. Turns out we needed a part for the mother board and had to wait for a minute, which was annoying, but it was nothing for me compared to our finance department. 

Finance had to go to our auditor's office to access our payroll information since it was all in the computer. They called everyone and asked for their checking account information and warned that direct deposit might not be an option. There was for many, a minute of breath holding because they weren't sure if we were going to get paid on time at all.

I just shrugged. I explained that I wasn't too worried about it and for them to get me my paycheck when they could. I explained the situation to my boyfriend, Rambo and asked him, "Why did I feel this way, why wasn't I bothered by not getting my paycheck this week?" He quickly explained it meant I wasn't living "paycheck to paycheck" anymore, and he was proud of me. 

Fast forward two weeks later and I'm going out of town on a business trip. We were going to be gone for a considerable amount of time and some serious cash was required for the trip, close to a $1,000. My boss had explained that I would be given a certain amount in cash and then given a company credit card for certain expenses. The idea of keeping receipts didn't bother me as much as the idea of keeping cash did. I knew what part of town we were going to be staying in during the trip and I didn't feel comfortable carrying around a lot of cash, plus, I lose cash!

I felt like I was setting myself up to fail! 

I came up with a solution I felt comfortable with and offered to pay for the expenses myself and then turn around and be reimbursed. I felt okay parting with that amount for less then a week and knew our company would be good for it. My boss said she would never ask anyone to do that because everyone's finances were different, but that was an option we could keep open. I ended up taking cash on the trip, but only had a certain amount on me at all times and then locked the rest up in a secure spot. It helped me feel a little bit more comfortable but I was still worried about carrying cash.  

I've come far with my finances and have built up a small nest egg, I feel better with some cash in the bank. None of my bills are late, in fact they are always paid two weeks early because of the way I budget. If for some reason I couldn't get paid *knock on wood* I'd be okay for awhile. I could probably be okay for about a month, but then I'd be stressed out and all of my savings would go down the tubes.

I mean, why am I saving money up to go down the tubes? I'd be mad if I had to use it; and if I used it up, then what would I do? Donate my body to science? I don't think I'd get paid for that, but maybe I could sell something like my eggs.

I'm not really using those anytime soon; or ever. I could probably even ask Rambo for help since he's awesome and very responsible with his pennies, but that's not really the point. I'm channeling Beyonce and all that "Independent Women" stuff.  

So, I'm really not sure what I am.  

So, what about it friends? What does it mean to live paycheck to paycheck?  

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Serendipity Smalls is the writer behind Serendipity’s Guide To Savings. She lives in Las Vegas with her fiancée and enjoys the finer things in life, such as Starbucks, song lyrics and bad reality television. You can find her on her blog, Twitter and Facebook.


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  • I am diffenately not in this situation. But if I stay on tack I can get to this point where I don't have to worry about living paycheck to paycheck. I still need to learn more on who to spen my little money I do have wisely. Thank you for you post. Very Motivating.

  • Great post!!  I do live paycheck to paycheck, but for me a lot of it is by choice.  I do have the ability to back off of my debt a bit as well as I do have a savings.  However, my savings is with ING so it takes between 3 to 5 days to have the money transferred making it more difficult to spend.  I figure once it does hit my checking account I don't need it anymore.  Which in reality means I didn't need it in the first place.  I just wanted to spend money that wasn't necessary.

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