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When Your Paycheck is Never Enough

When Your Paycheck is Never Enough

I was having a conversation with a friend the other day who makes twice what I make. In the course of our conversation he says to me that he's stressed out financially. I ask him why and he tells me that he feels broke all the time. He just can't seem to get ahead.

Working in banking, I hear the same excuses a lot. The most common, and the one my friend tried the other night, was that I "just don't understand his situation." Yeah, ok. I make $30,000 less than he does, but I just don't understand what it's like to never feel like I can get ahead.

All snarkiness aside, the reality is that my friend needs to stop thinking of his paycheck as never being enough and adjust his expectations. So, here's what I told him.

1. Stop Living Beyond Your Means.

We hear this a lot in personal finance, but it's true. You can't make $60,000 a year and live like you make $100,000. My friend has two cars and a 5-bedroom house...and he's single. There's no need for all of that. Pick one car and sell the other, then sell the house and buy a smaller one. Sheesh, no wonder he doesn't feel like he can get ahead.

2. Stop Keeping Up With the Joneses.
We've all done this to some degree, some more than others. But, we compare ourselves to other people. Stop it! Even if you get to the top of that mountain, there will be others that are taller. When your expectations are not in line with where YOU are, then you'll be disappointed and overextend yourself trying to make up for it.

For more ideas on how to stop thinking your paycheck is just never enough, visit MoneyNing.com. I shared it with my friend and he’s got some major soul searching to do.

Anybody else find themselves in this situation? Tell us what you're doing! - Kristy Young

Posted: 1/7/09

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In 2008 I had a massive heart attack I was in a coma and put on life support, 3 days later i woke up not knowing where I was. I slowly started to remember things and people. Now the only problem is that I could only stay off of work for 3 months because I had to go back to work to take care of my family. Times are really hard do to the many problems with our economy problems. What are family to do when you have worked your whole life and now prices are going up and the state has no money /jobs for the people.

Eddie Ray


~~We have recently-and still going through hard times where husband was suspended from work/and will be again-but lies about why. We do not have enough money to pay bills or buy groceries and have stretched everything as far as I can. I do not understand people who throw and waste good money in this time of economic problems. One of these days they may have to live like we do-worrying about evictions, paying bills, feeding families and pets....Where does it all end???? And no one to go to for help....


Yes, I find myself saying this a lot when technically it isn't true. I feel broke all the time because any extra money from my paycheck goes to paying down debt. This is a good reminder that I need to quit complaining that I have no money and remind myself more how responsible I'm being by paying down debt first.


A good friend of mine recently bought a new car that I thought was probably out of her budget. I know friends shouldn't meddle in financial affairs but I couldn't help but ask how she was going to afford it. Her response was that she worked hard and therefore deserved a nice car. I don't think she's the only one with this rationale. It's something that all Americans have thought at some point and also got us into a lot of financial trouble. It's great to aspire to have nice things and we all certainly work hard enough to deserve them, but if we simply can't afford them, its irresponsible to buy them. I know its easier said than done, but keep this in mind the next time you think about getting ahead.


I always get frustrated when people say "I have no money" but they are sitting on a pile of savings. I know, I know, savings should be saved, but don't claim that you have no money. But then again, I only have about $200 in savings, so I'm probably just jealous. :/