Do Most People Live Pay Cheque to Pay Cheque?

I've had this discussion with many of my friends and colleagues. It seems like most people live pay cheque to pay cheque which is why services like Afterpay are so popular.



  • +10
    • Me too,

      My stepbrother, his dad never gave me anything. Even though he constantly says: "I'm your dad" and I clicked it one day and said: "well, where's my free car? where's my uni payment? where's my free rent? where's my 5k watch for graduating?"

      Yes, my stepbrother got all those things for free and daddy paid for it.

      Here's where the difference:
      It's 2016, I was driving home and some guy hit me from behind. Not my fault. Made an insurance claim, only got back 6k from a total write off. It was an old 2005 Toyota Yaris. Anyways, I didn't have money for a new car outright. I always wanted a new year model car. I asked my "dad" if I can BORROW 10k and pay him back over time, he said no. But wait… what does he buy his son, a 55k Golf GTI, no repayments needed, insurance and rego paid by daddy.

      • +5

        Sounds like you have step-daddy issues

        • I have issues with people pretending who they're not.

      • +1

        That's awful man. I don't think there's anything worse than treating your "kids" so obviously differently. Stay strong mate, you can achieve your goals all on your own and it'll be a hell of a lot more satisfying when you do.

        • Haha it has shaped me into who I am today. Seeing my step bro be lavished with free items and having a privileged life, was I jealous, yes anyone would be if you're not getting a piece of it but it has taught me that it doesn't lead to happiness and working for your own items is much more satisfying, as you gain the life skills, skills and mentality to survive in this harsh world.

      • +1

        That sounds like a hell of a time you had.

        Here, have a +1.

      • -3

        Why should step-dad be buying you any of this stuff? Especially when you sound so resentful and entitled and don't even seem to consider him "dad".

        I never got a free car, paid for uni, 5k watch, or 10k loans from my dad.

        I did get to live rent free though - while I was still a student.

        • I have never said anything about getting stuff for free from my step dad. You ASSUMED I wanted that based on what my step brother received from his dad.

          Furthermore, my example stipulated that I wanted to borrow money from him not request money from him. This example shows that I do not accept handouts and that I am making the choice to pay people back. Given the basis the car crash wasn't my fault and the fact that I was driving a 2005 model car in which I felt no need to replace in the 10 years I had it.

          Now what does that tell you about me? Entitled? Far from it hunny bunny

          • -2

            @hasher22: I drive a 2005 car now lol

            Would never dream of asking my dad for a 10k loan because "I always wanted a new year model car."

            • @trapper: Again an assumption. Why can't someone want a new model car? By the way, a new car doesn't mean a brand new car from the factory line. I did buy a second hand Mazda.

              Why can't a son ask for their parents to borrow money?

              Again, you're trying to force your opinion about me that you think is the truth.

              Bye Felicia

              • @hasher22: He’s not your dad, if your own mum doesn’t insist you get what you ask for then you have no hope in getting any of the free things your stepdad’s child gets. Not saying he’s right. Don’t know your mums situation at home, either. Learn to be okay with not expecting it and be grateful for what you do get from him. At least you’ll not be as unhappy.

                It’s cruel on kids (at any age) when their parents separate and (remarry) then have more kids.

              • @hasher22: U mad? :/

          • @hasher22: Wanting something based on what your step brother received is not an argument.

            You are not entitled to receive anything, even if it is loan.

            You are entitled to ask though, and also entitled to have your request rejected.

            Good luck though! Always a tricky situation with step families.

  • +2

    Some people claim to live down to the dollar, i.e. claim they cannot do things due to lack of funds, the reason being they put every extra cent to the mortgage.

    I think it’s good and am glad they are being financially responsible, however I do get over them suggesting that they have no money when they do, but just allocated it all to a specific expense.

    • +1

      Yeah I consider myself pretty skint before each pay - but that is after already putting money into savings.

      If I have cash left over then that tells me I probably should be saving harder.

  • I used to, but then I learned the Ozbargain way of frugal buying.

  • I/we live pay check to pay check. It’s a burden on my mind, we could do better for sure. I was taught nothing about money when I was young, have been working full time since i was 17 (now 35). I pissed away squillions on cars/booze/drugs when I was young, could never grasp onto good money habits.

    Nowadays I browse ozbargain for deals on lego while still not saving a penny.

  • +9

    i live like a poor person for a reason, when i lose my job i can take years off without worrying about money.

    • +2

      The opposing argument is that no one even knows whether they would be alive the next hour.

      I heard someone say something that changed my perspective because I used to live the same way. They said "what you consume today is yours and whatever you saved will most likely belong to someone else in due time". Now I live frugally with a budget but not like a poor person. Me and my wife spend roughly $500 a month on groceries and $300 a month on shopping.

      • yea that makes a lot of sense. i usually try and spend the least amount i can on stuff that isnt important like bills or rent so i can put it towards things i like doing such as dirt bikes, cars and pc gaming. 500 a month on groceries is a fair amount, i dont think i crack nearly half that with my wife but even then i usually eat the simple stuff like tuna and rice or snags in bread.

        i spend a bit more these days but a few years ago i used to count every single cent, lived in a share house, never gamed and lived like a robot to save as much as i could to buy a house but the housing market has gone to shit

        • We were lucky to get our foot in last year just before the housing market went to sh!t. Mortgage is a beast on an ongoing basis though and I would be lying if I said the ongoing stress has not taken a toll on my mental health.

        • $250 groceries for 2 people for a month is quite low.. not sure how you do it…

          • @bigbadboogieman: Bulk buy rice and other shit at costco. 250 is not including grog

      • +4

        Interesting perspective.

        For me with a young son, I’m happy to live with less to give him a boost in life. Maybe just an Asian thing.

      • but are you happier?

        you don't really get happier eating better cuts of meat.

        Its nice though.

  • +2

    To answer your question from a different industry: I'm in mining, everyone here should be comfortable given the salaries. I'm in technical services (engineers and surveyors) so you'd expect some degree of financial literacy, but would estimate at least half, likely more, are in bad debt/pay cheque to pay cheque. There is a term called 'golden handcuffs' that is talked about a bit. Basically even when people join a wealthy industry like mining to save money, they still end up spending out of their means and then get stuck in the demanding industry trying to keep up with their new spending habits.

    • +2

      Yep, I know heaps of people working in the mining industry earning $200k+, but would totally struggle after 2 months if they lost their job.

    • +1

      Rich dad poor dad or the barefoot investor has put it well, when people earn more they will always find a way to spend it, especially on liabilities. What differentiate the poor and the riches is the former spend money on liabilities while the latter spend it on assets.

  • I only use zippay/afterpay because of sale with those services, or there's no surcharge fee to other options (some shop charge paypal, CC surcharge, but no afterpay/zippay surcharge).

    I also use this to extend my offset account difference per month (not much but I like the way it looks).

    I wouldn't say most of my fellow co-worker (I see a wide range of team members from minimum wage to the average fulltime worker) and I would say financial planning is varied but most already gainfully employed so maybe 30%-ish, mostly due to unchecked past expenses haunting them.

  • Yes I do after taking out things like mortgage, etc. May be put up a poll.

    To give an insight I currently have $403 negative on my credit card (bill not generated yet so not due) but don't have the money lying around to pay it today if I wanted. I get paid in a monthly cycle.

    • What do you do when interest rate starts to go up or if you lose your job?

      • I don't know and it's scary. Both me and the missus work so hopefully one of us will have a job. If both lose jobs at the same time then we are well and truly screwed. We are trying to pay as much as possible towards the mortgage.

  • +4

    Most of the guys I've worked with in the construction industry live week to week. That being said a lot of them drink, smoke, and doing some recreational drugs.

    • don’t forget the pokies. When I was doing Labourer jobs, there was a guy who earned pretty much double of what I earned and on Friday’s he usually asked me to borrow 50$ to him so he could have some money for the weekend

  • +1

    While I'm no expert, my 2c is that globally, many countries are moving more and more into a 'debt economy'.
    Historically, the best advice was to have no debt whatsoever, but over time, this has become unsustainable in certain economies, even in America, where you're encouraged to take on debt to build up a credit rating, in order to buy a car, or finance a house.
    Then the Global Financial Crisis hit,
    then COVID hit.
    I think nowadays, the classic advice of "never get into any kind of debt" is moot and unsustainable. I would say the overwhelming majority of people have some kind of debt.

  • Too late to add a poll?

  • +1

    Maybe my judgement is clouded, but I see people earning less flaunting the latest iPhone or so…while I make a good package and still use a sub $300 Android

    • phone plans are the real killer, i'm on $120 a year, other people are on $500 a year.

  • +3

    I dated a doctor who was mid 30s, making ~$200k/year, and was living paycheck to paycheck. I've never met anyone as broke as her, or who had a take home salary that high.

    Meanwhile I make half as much as her, and have a house (with mortgage) and savings in the bank.

    Some people just need to learn how to live within their means.

    • +1

      Out of curiosity where did her money go mostly? I know it's possible but 200k is a whole lot of living

      • +7

        Expensive taste, travel and credit card debt.

        Everything she owned was premium brand, she liked flying business class when she could. Regularly got her nails and hair done. Ate out a lot. If she wanted something she went and bought it. One time in Brisbane she went to get her nails done and I had to lend her $200 cash because her card got declined at the ATM.

        She was lovely and smart though, just not financially smart. If she really needed money she would spend a Saturday helping out at a private hospital doing surgeries and would make ~$2k. I imagine you have a weird relationship with money if you can make it that easily.

        • +7

          Is she still single? She does sound lovely and smart

      • +4

        Women with expensive taste can spend an astronomical amount of money, on essentially nothing.

        All those little services just scale up forever with the ability to spend.

        Poor - do your own nails.
        Min wage job - $20 cash from the girl down the road.
        Decent job - $45 at a home business.
        Good job - $85 at a normal salon.
        200k job - $200+ at a fancy salon.

    • +3

      I know some specialist surgeons, who struggled to pay the bills when covid first hit and all elective surgeries were cancelled. Of course their bills included mortgages on $5m houses, multiple porsches, and all the trappings of an expensive lifestyle.

      • Of course their bills included mortgages on $5m houses, multiple porsches, and all the trappings of an expensive lifestyle

        all those "assets" own them

  • +1

    I have the opposite problem, I have a hard time spending money.. have a simple life and dont need much to be entertained.,

  • I think with the current property prices, it's very likely that people will allocate more % of their take home pay to that… And it'll last for longer in the lifetime of the loan as well.

    I'd imagine if want to move out into your own home at an early age (early-mid 20s) without parental support etc, and also be responsible for buying your own car, furniture, education debt etc then yeah it's likely.

  • wonder why they allowed Afterpay on Ebay?

    • Commissions

    • eBay charges 10% fees and they own PayPal too (more fees). Paying 5% to Afterpay to attract new customers is a really good deal for eBay,.

  • +1

    No we don't, but I imagine many people do. I've spoken to many people that anticipate the next pay day, talk about how useful Afterpay is for them etc. But I also think about growing up in the 90s and early 00s and listening to the radio. They would have those competitions where people would ring in and win a grand or two, and when asked what they would do with it, I always remember them answering that they would put it towards the credit card. It meant nothing to me as a kid, but now I realise that everyone that said that was probably well in debt with their credit providers.

  • +1

    I sell stuffs and it's not uncommon for them to say: "I'll need to wait x days, x weeks for my pay before I can buy it." or "Can I pay in instalment?".

    The worst one though was a guy with whom I agreed to trade my item for his ipad pro 2020 and apple pencil. We agreed for a 1 for 1 trade originally, however upon inspection his ipad was scratched so I told him we could reach a deal with $50 my way. That guy had absolutely $0 to his name, I saw his bank account and it was a bubble, so he told me he could pay $30 now and the remaining $20 in 5 days time. To get the $30 he had to call a friend or a relative for them to wire the money to him, it was absolutely astounding. So I agreed to the deal knowing i may never see the $20. So 5 days later I reminded him that he still owed me $20, needless to say I didn't receive any answer and never seen any trace of his $20. However that was fine to me, I resold his ipad with apple pencil $200 more a week later than the value of the item I traded him with.

  • Yes. It is the way of the world. We are 99%

  • i live direct debit to direct debit

  • +1

    I get 850$ after-tax (this is an average as I am a casual but usually is more than this) weekly atm, while I’m looking for jobs to start my career as a draftsperson.
    my expenses now are:

    42% food, bills, rent.
    18% going out/eating out, buying stuff
    20% savings
    10% investment on the stock market (but it will go to my future business)
    10% for unexpected stuff (broken car, medical bills etc)

    I started using this method after I had saved enough money to survive for 7 months with 0$ weekly income.

    btw would u guys have any financial tips for me? it would be more than appreciated :D

    • Good ways to save money is to buy things you need and not things you want (liabilities).

      Cut down unecessary subscriptions, many people (prob not the ozbargainers) pay $40-$100 on mobile phone plan and that's just crazy to me, I have paid $0 for 2 years now and have used about 3GB per month.

      Limit eating out as that gets very expensive, cook at home ( $1-$2 per meal).

      Close to 80%-85% of what I earn is either saved or goes back into the purchase of assets. I would not hesitate to splash $4000-$5000 on gift cards at 10% off.

      • $1-2 meals please explain what that gets you?

        • If you know where to shop, you can get your meals down to that cost. You need to rationalise the portion of protein you eat each meal (100g recommended). My current monthly cost for groceries is about $100, and I eat well balanced, with fruits, veggies… I eat twice a day though.

          • +1

            @F1ProjectOne: Go on, very vague answer.

            • @oaks101: All kind of fruit, veggies, 1 or half a piece of lamb forequarter with rice or pasta, bolognese. I get to eat steak and salmon. Soups with pork ribs, they are excellent value at $2/kg and plenty of meat.

      • $1-$2 a meal?

        no fillet steak or chicken?

  • Personally don't but agree many seem to. Which is why a steady income is preferable.

  • Thoughts in 2022?

    • -1

      Spend less on KFC and more on DCA.

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