Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Living Paycheck to Paycheck

We live paycheck to paycheck, and we always have... no matter how much we made, and no matter how much we owed.

For the past 5 years, Mike has gotten paid twice a month. And twice a month, the paycheck is completely spent on paper even before we get it. By design, one paycheck is somewhat tight. We pay the mortgage with that check, and like most people our mortgage is far and away our highest expense. The other check is much more comfortable, or at least it would be if we didn't devote SO much of it to extra debt payments. That's the check we use to pay for any "extras" for the month... birthdays, entertainment, new clothes... anything above and beyond. We try to plan for as much as we think we'll need, and the rest goes to debt. It's a good system, except.. sometimes it's not. Sometimes we find ourselves misjudging and scraping through, and it is a horrible feeling that I'd hoped to never have to repeat.

I get frustrated sometimes, knowing that we're keeping things so tight by choice now, and that if we weren't aggressively paying off debt that we'd be fine; that we'd be comfortable; that I wouldn't have that constant "Can we afford this?" hanging over my head every month. But then I think: We created this mess, so it's our responsibility to get out of it. And just because we can go back to minimums and live it up, doesn't mean we should. We have no business living all free and loose with our money as long as we have any kind of debt. We should feel tight. We should send all our extra money to our credit cards.

And for better or worse, whenever I falter, I hear Dave Ramsey's words in my head:

"If you will live like no one else, later you get to live like no one else"


Alice said...

You know what? We do *exactly* the same thing every month. We make plenty of money, enough to never have to stress out about affording things, even extras. Except...we pay every last extra dime towards debt. It is frustrating and stressful and I'm so so sick of it. But finally we're seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. One day not too far in the future we'll be done with the debt repayment and be able to live more comfortably. Just wanted to tell you that you aren't the only ones!

jen said...

So glad we're not alone! And I'm glad that you can really understand and appreciate where we're at.