A new survey from Bankrate.com says 76% of Americans are doing exactly that, with nearly no emergency savings.
The study also found that 27% of those surveyed have no savings at all. According to Bankrate, over the last three years, the savings rate of Americans has barely changed.
"I work forty hours a week, and yet I don't feel like I have any to show for it. I feel like I'm working for nothing," said Pamela Matthews, who lives in Ludlow, KY.
Matthews is living paycheck-to-paycheck and struggling with savings. According to that survey, she's just like 76% of Americans today. About five years ago, she lost her home to foreclosure, and that's when things started getting bad.
"In the process of losing my home, and a few personal things that arose, the money situation started getting worse and worse, and everything just started going downhill. Basically, what I'm doing now is just trying to keep my head up," said Matthews.
In the survey, the findings of those polled were as follows:
24% have savings for 6 months of expenses
21% have savings for 3-5 months
23% have savings for less than 3 months
27% have no savings at all
Financial experts say they're not surprised and point the finger partially to a recent economic downfall.
Matthews has been at her job for 16 years. Her son, who is nearly 30, lives with her because he's having trouble finding employment. She hopes if he can get a job, they might be able to save some money. But, until then, costs are going up and she's still struggling to put food on the table.
"By the time I pay my rent, put gas in my car, pay an essential bill here and there, I'm broke. There's no money left for food. So, I hit the church pantries," added Matthews.
If you're having trouble, Bachrach says to make sure your money gets where it needs to go before you even see a dime.
"Pay yourself first. Make sure the money goes away each month before you get a chance to get your hands on it. I'll tell you, I'm like everybody else. If I've got money in my pocket, it's probably going to be gone," added Bachrach.
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