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Stories from Everywhere: What $40 Means to You

More stories from Americans explaining how having $40 less each paycheck with affect them or their families if Congress doesn't extend the payroll tax cut for 160 million workers.

Ed. Note: Today at 3:30 pm EDT, Brian Deese, Deputy Director of the National Economic Council will be holding a session of Office Hours on Twitter.  He’ll be on the @WHLive account answering questions about the payroll tax cut extension.  Ask your question now and during the live event on Twitter using the hashtag #WHChat.

“$40 less a paycheck means I will have to pick between my insulin and the water bill. It means never being able to see my doctor - even though I have insurance.”               

B.T. Roswell, New Mexico

“Right now, I am unable to pay all my bills every month; $40 less would mean my son and I would be going without groceries or another bill would have to wait and be late.”

P.B., Liberal, Kansas

$40.00 means the world to me. It's the equivalent of 5 hours work or feeding my family for 3 nights.

T.K. Gaylord, Michigan

These are just a few of the 18,000 stories Americans from all over the country submitted through our website since yesterday afternoon, when we asked people to tell us how losing $40 each paycheck—what the typical family would pay in additional taxes if the payroll tax cut expires—would affect them.

And when we asked “What does #40dollars mean to you?” on Twitter,  the hashtag #40dollars started trending almost immediately, not just nationwide, but worldwide, as a result of people sharing their stories there.

As Republicans in the House dig in and refuse to even vote on extending the payroll tax cut, we want to make sure your voice is heard.

Share your own story here, or tweet @WhiteHouse with the hashtag #40dollars, and tell us what you would have to cut or go without if you had $40 less to spend with each paycheck.

Below, read more of the stories we’ve already collected, and check back throughout the day for updates. Or read more of the responses we've gotten on Twitter with Storify.

$40 is the difference between our second grade son being able to sign up for an extracurricular activity (soccer, chess, swimming, etc.) or not.

J.E., Ann Arbor, Michigan

$40 means that one of my children can get a much needed dental check up.

A.A., Albuquerque, New Mexico

$40.00 a paycheck means $1040.00 a year for me. With 3 children in Catholic schools, that represents 2 months, 1.5 months, or 1 month tuition for one of my children. I'm also trying to save for their college plans and while $1000.00 doesn't go too far with college tuition, it certainly helps. 

W.J., Westminster, MD

What $40 a paycheck means to me is buying books for my daughter so she can learn the importance of reading and learning.  My husband and I believe in the power of reading and that is something we have agreed to focus on with our children. 

A.G., Murfreesboro, Tennessee

It means that I will have to borrow that much more for my daughter's college education.  I'm 69 years old, still working for the foreseeable future, and would like to know that at this stage of my life I don't have to borrow anymore.

D.D., Dover, Massachusetts

On a social worker's salary... $40 is diapers, baby food, and gas in the car.  Barely. 

                C.M., Beverly, Massachusetts

Without the $40 a paycheck, I will have to cancel my life insurance (I still have a son on my health insurance), cut back on groceries, and delay doctor and dental appointments.

                M.E., Madison, Wisconsin

$40 bucks a paycheck is HUGE for me.  I am supporting my adult daughter and her four children.  By not passing the extended payroll tax cut they are literally taking food from my grandkids' mouths.

                K.J., Sacramento, California

It is taking me two jobs to survive right now and at this point, $40 could make or break my household.  It may not seem like a lot to some but is very valuable to me.  Every penny of my paycheck goes to some type of household expense.

             C.L., Timberlakenn, North Carolina          

#40dollars is the difference between having food for the next week and not eating at all.


#40dollars is my busticket home from school for the holidays.


#40dollars is half of my grocery budget for the week for my family.


With #40dollars, I could buy 2 tubs of baby formula.


#40dollars is the cost of my monthly blood test to make sure my #Crohns meds aren't making me sick.


#40dollars less per paycheck would mean fewer fresh fruits & veggies in my fridge or less to save to buy a home


#40dollars out of my fathers paycheck means we lose the house or car... We cannot afford to cut back anymore than we already have.


#40dollars per week is EXACTLY my children's health insurance premium.


#40dollars means 8 new books for my classroom.


#40dollars one prescription to keep me pain free for a month


#40dollars means I don't have to pick up an extra shift to live while doing 19 credit hours at college.


#40dollars keeps the heat on in our house each month.


#40dollars pays for over a week of groceries – fresh fruits, veggies, dairy, whole wheat bread


#40dollars $40 is the ability to buy one last Christmas present for my family at the local gift shop.


#40dollars is 2/3 of a day's work for me. I use that money to pay for books for my graduate school courses.


#40dollars is my nausea medication so I can survive at work, since I was denied SSD despite being on chemo and radiation.