Is Anything That You Own Worth Living Paycheck to Paycheck to Pay for?

By Linda W

This is a simple question that I ask myself that helps me stay debt free. It may sound infantile or even stupid to some, but if you take the question seriously each time you ask it as I have, it has saved me from making a lot of poor purchases over the year. I know because when I was younger, I did live paycheck to paycheck. The question is:

Is anything that I own that’s worth living paycheck to paycheck to pay for?

Is the new car that I want worth living paycheck to paycheck to pay for? Is a closet full of clothes worth living paycheck to paycheck to pay for? Is keeping up with the Joneses worth living paycheck to paycheck to pay for? Is there really anything that I own which is worth living paycheck to paycheck to pay for?

I don’t know what the answer is for you, but what I learned by asking this question is that what really makes me happy is not being a slave to the things that I want to buy. Yes, I may be disappointed when I can’t get everything I want the instant I want it, but I also know I’m a lot happier that when the (not brand new) car unexpectedly breaks down, it isn’t a financial disaster.

When I lived paycheck to paycheck, I was a slave to all the things I wanted at that moment. I had to face the fact that my debt and paycheck to paycheck lifestyle was going to mean that I could never retire or ever feel at financial ease. That’s when I started asking the question.

Is anything that I own that’s worth living paycheck to paycheck to pay for?

If you find yourself living paycheck to paycheck, you may want to ask yourself this question too.

Do you have a story about saving money or earning money that you’d like to share? We’d love to hear about it.

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9 Responses to Is Anything That You Own Worth Living Paycheck to Paycheck to Pay for?

  1. Linda, that is the question of the month! We needed to read it years ago, haha.

    John DeFlumeri Jr

  2. Carolyn Giles says:

    I would say yes, to one thing only. I bought my dream car, and if I had settled for a cheaper car, I might not be satisfied, might not take as good care of it, and I would still be talking about getting it “someday”. Someday does not always arrive. So if there is something you want to do, go for it. Our days are numbered! (Make sure you REALLY want that item, though!)

  3. Bobby says:

    A few years back I was bitten by the travel bug and worked solely to underwrite overseas walkabouts. I started thinking of every ten dollars saved as another day on the road in India. It definitely put my buying decisions into an interesting perspective. I found I didn’t “need” as many things when the alternative was a week in Varanasi.

  4. That’s a really great way of putting it. I don’t think purchasing any liability is worth living paycheck to paycheck for. You will appreciate the nicer things in life even MORE when you’ve been savy enough to find more than enough money to pay for them.

  5. Nika says:

    A Manhattan apartment? maybe?

    Which would mean 2 hours less commuting DAILY, easy access to a park, promenade running path, weekend farmers market, and tons of things that are going on in Manhattan.

    Is it worth it?

  6. Good question. To take it a step further… is anything you own worth Retiring Broke and not being able to take care of your yourself?

    Now that question should always get a NO. Because unfortunately… some may answer yes to the first question.

  7. Gail says:

    Very much the essence of the questions asked in Your Money Or Your Life! A good reminder. I remember when I still worked out trying to figure out how to get by on one day less pay a month, and then one more day less. It depends on your goals I guess. Because I’m not a car person, a special car would never do it for me like the other poster, but if that is important to her, why not. We all need to know what is important to us.

  8. xinecho says:

    Carolyn Giles , I do agree with you. And I think there must be a balance between purchasing and saving.

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