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How Much More Per Month Would It Take to Live Comfortably?

A new Careerbuilder survey shows that 47 percent of Americans live paycheck to paycheck; those results are right in line with the 49 percent of you who admitted you're living in anticipation of your next check.

Perhaps more surprising is the discovery that 21 percent of those making $100,000 or more annually are also living paycheck to paycheck. Here are some other interesting findings from the study.

  • 25 percent of workers never save any of their paychecks.
  • 34 percent of those who do save put away less than $100 a month and 18 percent save $50 or less.
  • One third of workers don't contribute to retirement savings.

Forty-two percent of workers surveyed said they would need up to $500 more per paycheck to live comfortably; how much extra would you need per paycheck?


Join The Conversation
thelorax thelorax 8 years
We recently bought a fixer house, so there are all kinds of things I need/want to do! Any extra $$$ would help immensely, but I'd find a good use for anything from $50 to $50K, quite honestly!
melaniestylereflection melaniestylereflection 8 years
We live on 2 incomes and mine usually goes to bills and necessities. I would say about $300-$500 a month would be perfect. Since I moved out of my parents house, I haven't really saved up money. Kind of sad.
joy76 joy76 8 years
Everyone is so good, I can't afford to save at the moment :-( I could do with the 500 extra at least I can save 200 of that and the rest used for more comfortable living. I noticed though the double income earners are better off, hint hint I need a partner ;-)
insanitypepper insanitypepper 8 years
$1,000 more per month would let me be able to do things like pay off my credit card debt, contribute a reasonable amount to my retirement account, and save for emergencies. Those three things just aren't going to happen at this pay rate.
CoralAmber CoralAmber 8 years
To be comfortable, but not change my lifestyle... that's a tough one. Let's just say I would like to work full time hours instead of part time, and I would probably be better off.
g1amourpuss g1amourpuss 8 years
$500-1000 more, things would be so much more comfortable. I would be able to get those little things I usually just try to forget about. And I'd feel comfortable knowing my daughter wouldn't get bored with her toys also. I wish I could buy so much more for her. (Not that we're doing without..I am thankful for what we/I do have.)
RockAndRepublic RockAndRepublic 8 years
More then $7.15 an hour oh, and a job in general.
lizs lizs 8 years
I'm comfy now - like many others who commented, my fiance and I put away nearly 50% (effectively, one whole salary) into retirement and other savings vehicles. However, if I could somehow up our income by about $10k per month, I could retire in 7 years at age 34. (Wishful thinking, probably.)
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 8 years
We're comfortable now. We live within our means. We're debt-free. We contribute to our investments. Also, I'm working on some personal investment projects. I'm leveraging our assets (under calculated risks, of course). I'm optimistic and ambitious. If all goes well, we'll be better off than we are now - icing on the cake.
gemsera gemsera 8 years
thanks chocolatine, how sweet of you :) edinburgh on £600 a month? you poor thing!
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
i think that if i made about $2k more per check, or even just a little under that - i could pay off all my bills and make a nice dent in my it's not like i'm asking for THAT much....
joesbabygirl joesbabygirl 8 years
I make only 10.00/hr, I work 42 hours a week. My BF makes 17.00/hr at 50 hours a week. We live off his paycheck and most of mine goes in savings. I think we are doing good to be so young.
True-Song True-Song 8 years
So hard to say! I already put money into a 401k and regular savings, but lifestyle inflation definitely has affected me. The past few years, my annual income has gone up several thousand dollars (each year), but I don't feel any more flush.
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
*a hundred more, I mean.
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
I think a hundred each paycheck would work wonders for our stress level.
chocolatine chocolatine 8 years
gemsera, I feel for you! A few years ago I was living in Edinburgh on 600 quid a month while doing my MSc. It was hard to make ends meet, and an extra 200-300 would have done a world of difference. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for you to get the permanent job & pay rise. As for now, living in Munich, I'd need an extra 500 Euros to be comfortable, but for serious savings I'd need an extra 1000.
bransugar79 bransugar79 8 years
I feel like we are almost comfortable right now. i think if between the two of us we made $500 mor e a month we could continue saving without fear that our emergency fund would be gone all at once. I contribute to an HSA every pay check to help out with medical expenses. We don't have a lot of extra money to blow but allof our needs are taken care of and we can go out to dinner every now wnd then. We don't have a lot of extra wants and the things we do want are big ticket so we are saving up for those things.
emsmiley emsmiley 8 years
With my debt still around and working 2 jobs (one full-time, the other weekends only) I could use an extra $800 a month. That would allow me to double my student loan payment and pay of my last defaulted card off. After that was paid off I would succumb to the lifestyle inflation because I want more clothes!
LoveSarah LoveSarah 8 years
To live comfortably? Like $500 more a paycheck for me, and $500 more a paycheck for the boyfriend. We are worse than living pay check to pay check. I actually write rent checks on the 1st, knowing I wont have the money in there until the 5th when my pay check goes through, and I know the rent doesn't come out until the 6th. No matter what we do, we just can't seem to get ahead, and we never save anything. It sucks.
jb3 jb3 8 years
I'd say $1000 more a month.
verily verily 8 years
I completely suffer from lifestyle inflation. Every time I get a raise, I don't seem to actually save any more money.
Le-Luxe Le-Luxe 8 years
Living by my SAME means, it would probably take me another 500-700 to live comfortably.
darkangeldaria darkangeldaria 8 years
I'd be fine if I could just get a big chunk of money for a few months, pay off credit cards/pay down student loans...then I'd be ok instead of constantly trying to pay things off then inevitably having to use them again to cover a car breakdown or repair bill or this/that/the other. Damn you stupid childish first few years of college and your credit retardation!!
gemsera gemsera 8 years
Being contract, in my field im not paid as much as I would permanent. So hopefully when I go permanent, it will make a £70 per week difference, which would go A LONG way. At the moment, the difference for me would be about £300 a month. I dont have enough money to buy my lunches, or fill up the gas tank, let alone buy new clothes or a pint at the pub. Things are tight. But thats the rip off britain for you :P
chatondeneige chatondeneige 8 years
syako, I want my best friend to marry me just so he can legally take over my finances! ;)
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