Thursday, June 9, 2011

Working paycheck to paycheck


By: Anna Gomenyuk

Take a few minutes to put yourself in these shoes: you’re working a full time job, more than 40 hours a week, getting paid minimum wage. You go grocery shopping buying the cheaper items and using coupons because you cannot afford to spend a lot, but need to put food on the table for your family. All bills and rent must be paid. By the end of the week, you know that you will have no money left in your bank account until the next paycheck comes, which will again be used to pay for something else. It’s a struggle to make ends meet. Unfortunately, this is the reality for millions of Americans today.
               

Above is a chart showing the Poverty Line for 2009-2010. For anyone with an income below the guidelines is considered poor. However, people having an income above the poverty guideline are struggling just as much and receive no help from the government. They work from pay check to pay check in order to support themselves and their families. Studies show that one out of every three families is low-income. The sad thing is that America is only increasing in the number of working poor. Since the recession began in 2007, millions of Americans have been laid off, received cut in pay, reduction in hours and were replaced as part time workers at their full time jobs.
There are many misconceptions that the working poor are not trying hard enough or are lazy. However, that is not the case. They work very hard to keep a roof over their heads and put food on the table. The government needs to understand that these people need financial help and things must change for them. 

9 comments:

  1. I think you're right that things need to change. Society talks about how if you try hard enough that you'll be able to live a life to sustain yourselves and your family. But if there are barely any jobs available then how can anyone hope to accomplish that? As long as the rich get richer then the poor that get poorer will continue to work form paycheck to paycheck.

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  2. It is so sad to say that this is the life that many Americans live , including myself. Living pay check to pay check is a norm to me , beings though I am 20 years old with no kids and major bills its "okay". I may wine from time to time that I need a new job or a better paying job. Then again I have to be thankful and realize that there are families of four or more living off the same pay that I get. So who am I too complain ? So many say well go out and get a better paying job , but in this econmy no one is willing to step up and pay what I call a "living wage" so "minium wage" is what people are stck with.

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  3. It is unfortunate how many people live on or below poverty levels in this country. We see constant advertising telling us what we should have or work to have, when in reality these are things the ascribed status can afford, not the average person. When was the last time you dropped 2k on a handbag or a pair of shoes? Until people in power are faced with the problems & concerns of the lower class, I don't feel things will change much. So next time we judge someone on the car they drive or the clothes they wear we should remember that poverty does not equal laziness and be kind, you never know what that persons circumstances are.That goes for the person driving the Bentley to the person at the bus stop.

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  4. I agree with your point the hard life of low income families. They are facing different problems in every day life. These low income families can't afford basic life's needs. They are looking for cheaper things to buy. The gape between poor and richer becomes wider and wider, but let see the other side of the image. People from all over the world have dream to come USA to make their lives. People even from the industrial countries want to settle here in USA. For example if I say to my friends about the poverty in US, I swear that they will never believe on me although this is true. So most people not all they never think about their future. They are not serious about their upcoming life. For example before producing four or five children, they need to think how many they can afford. This is true that no one wants to be a poor and has miserable life but still every one has the opportunity to make his/her life, not necessarily like upper class people but at least that he/she has access to the some basic needs of life.

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  5. I can absolutely identify with this. Even before I made my return to college, working full-time at a pay rate that is hardly complimentary for the work that I did, I couldn't keep a cent in my bank account. Rent, bills and what food I could afford were taken care of, but what about my long term goals. How do I save for a house, a wedding, my future children.

    It's a horrible reality to live with. Being a student again equals decreased hours for me. While I am working towards a better future for myself, it is still hard to just get by and no be able to contribute or provide in any other due to my financial situation. I work my butt off for my company and I am insultingly compensated.

    I know that some day I will remedy this with the help of an earned education and qualifications under my belt, but it kills me that so many are forced to live like this indefinitely. It seems as though there's never enough answers for all of our problems.

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  6. I found this pieces very interesting , because being a single mom I have experienced living from paycheck to paycheck. This situation is no joke trying to pay all of your bills when their really is no money. You are always having to decide whether to pay a bill ,or pay food, or put gas in the car. The constant bill collectors calling and the guilt of not being able to do things that your family is use to doing like family vacations.

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  7. I agree very much with this piece, it is very difficult living from paycheck to paycheck with a family and the expenses required to not just have a "good life" but to maintain it. Although a "good life" means something different to everyone I'm sure that living from paycheck to paycheck doesn't fit into anyones description. Even when you have two incomes and have lived within your means for so long in this economy it is still difficult to be able to afford the basic luxuries that you may be use to providing for your family and the needs you can't get around. The cost of living has increased vastly, while pay rates have made little changes. Ten years ago I could buy my son 3 pair of sneakers for less than a hundred dollars, now for my youngest son a hundred dollars barely buys 2 pair of sneakers.

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  8. Marceline A Bien-AimeJune 13, 2011 at 12:35 PM

    I completely agree with this blog. At one point I was in school full-time and working full-time at minimum wage and at the end of the week still had to decide on paying a bill or putting food in the fridge. My family was going through a lot at the time and I was basically on my own for a few months financially. It hurts when you have to count every dollar for what it is and not being able to have some to spare for leisure time or possibly even to go out to a movie. Hopefully one day things will get easier but until then we have to keep doing what we have to do.

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  9. Monique BrockingtonJune 14, 2011 at 1:19 AM

    I agree with your post Anna about the hardships that low income families face on a day to day bases of working paycheck to paycheck. I've been working since I was 16 years old, working at a minimum wage rate to support myself and it barely covered the things that I needed to live, so the things I wanted were sort of out of the question unless my parents assisted with my income. There's families out here who have to provide not only for themselves but for their families too, rather it's a spouse & children or just children. It's nearly impossible to provide for a family under those circumstances of low income, prime example of working poor. For the ones who work and earn just a few dollars above the poverty line are still in the category of poor due to the taxes that are being taking out of their checks. The more you make the more money the goverment take out for taxes which puts you back in the same boat with the low income, working paycheck to paycheck, poor people. Very interesting topic Anna, good job!

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