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Even More Stories from Everywhere: What Does $40 Mean to You?

Family time, mortgage payments, and school tuition are a few more of the things people told us they would struggle with if Congress fails to extend the payroll tax cut.

On Tuesday, the White House called on Americans to add their voice to the conversation in Washington about why we need to extend the payroll tax cut.  If Congress fails to extend the payroll tax cut, the typical family making $50,000 a year will have about $40 less to spend or save with each paycheck.  Over the year, that adds up to about $1,000. 

Opponents of the payroll tax cut dismissed its impact by insisting $40 isn’t a lot of money. We know that's not the case for many families who are already working hard to make ends meet, so we asked them: What does $40 mean to you?

Some of the latest responses we received are below. You can read more here and here, and also on Storify. And don't forget to share your own story here, or tweet using the hashtag #40dollars. 

I am a pre-school teacher and single parent of 3 girls. That $40 extra dollars means that I can feed my daughters fresh produce instead of buying "value meals" at some fast food joint. That $40 extra dollars means that daddy can actually spend time with his family instead of working side jobs just to put food on the table. $40 dollars may not be alot to Congress but it's everything to me. Please stop the bickering and posturing and do your jobs.

D.M., Washington, DC

#40dollars won't even cover one week's worth of gas in my car, which I use in my job to bring home the paycheck and pay the bills.


$40 is the difference between my family finding a way to pay our mortgage payment each month, and losing our home.

B.R., Youngstown, Ohio

means I can buy a pair of shoes that don't have holes in the soles so my feet stay dry.


That $40 per paycheck is my disposable income. Everything else is budgeted to necessities, such as food, shelter, transportation, medical expenses, and the like. When I lose that $40 per paycheck, I stop buying books. I stop eating out. I stop going to the movies. I stop spending money with local merchants.

M.M.J., Wanaque, New Jersey

less would mean having to pull my daughter out of preschool.


I have a significant physical disability (born without arms or legs).  I have worked all my life, and have always paid out-of-pocket for my personal attendant care.  I would have to give up many hours of personal attendant care each month without the $40 per paycheck from the payroll tax cut.  These are essential services to me that allow me to work and remain independent.  And my attendant would suffer as well. 

J.G., California

Giving up $40 per check means that I can't afford to help my college sophomore daughter with her books or incidental school expenses.  We fit into the category that doesn't qualify for educational financial aid, but with 2 other children and a home lost in the real estate bubble we can barely afford community college for her.  She had to drop out of a 4 year school after 1 year and move in with her aunt to go to community college.  She works as much as she can. 

 J.H., Bishop, CA