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Living Paycheck to Paycheck
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Living paycheck to paycheck (or any kind of monthly allowance) engrains certain habits, one of which is an obsession with exactly how much money there is in the pocket or the checking account at any moment in time.

There is no such thing as saying, "I have about 10 dollars in my wallet." The purse has 8 dollars and, digging around in the bottom, some small change (less than a dollar).

The checking account doesn't have about twenty five dollars. It has twenty-two dollars and fifteen cents.

Any lapse of memory can result in major embarrassment at the checkout counter or fast food joint--or, heaven forbid, overdrawing the checking account (big penalty).

This segues into calculating the minimum required to pay the power company to keep the lights on, when unable to pay the whole bill. The utility company charges a fortune to restore power, quickly putting things into a financial death spiral.

Even after becoming solvent, with a little put by in a savings account and rounding off to the nearest 5 dollars is no longer taboo, the habit compels. Checking the bank balance online becomes a compulsive habit, an antidote for fear, and a source of reassurance.

The poverty habits die hard.

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