Making Ends Meet

Measures of making ends meet capture whether income is sufficient to meet financial obligations.

Measure

Source:

Vinokur AD, Price RH, Caplan RD. Hard times and hurtful partners: How financial strain affects depression and relationship satisfaction of unemployed persons and their spouses. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 1996;71(1):166-179.

Psychometric properties:

Cronbach's alpha coefficients were .86 to .88 for two data collection waves.

  Very difficult Difficult Neutral Easy Very easy
How difficult is it for you to live on your total household income right now? o o o o o
  Not at all A little Some Pretty much A great deal

In the next two months, how much do you anticipate that you or your family will experience actual hardships such as inadequate housing, food, or medical attention?

o o o o o

In the next two months, how much do you anticipate having to reduce your standard of living to the bare necessities of life?

o o o o o

Measure

Source:

Ge X, Conger RD, Lorenz FO, et al. Linking family economic hardship to adolescent distress. Journal of Research on Adolescence. 1992;2(4):351-378. 

Psychometric properties:

Not reported.

I have enough money to meet my expenses.

  • Strongly agree
  • Agree
  • Neither agree nor disagree
  • Disagree
  • Strongly disagree

I have difficulty paying monthly bills.

  • No difficulty at all
  • A little difficulty
  • Some difficulty
  • Quite a bit difficulty
  • A great deal of difficulty

I have money left at the end of the month.

  • More than enough
  • Quite a bit
  • A little bit
  • Not enough

Measure

Source:

Conger RD, Conger KJ, Matthews LS, Elder GH. Pathways of economic influence on adolescent adjustment. American Journal of Community Psychology. 1999;27(4):519-541.

Psychometric properties:

The three items were standardized and summed for each parent (a = .84 for mothers and .81 for fathers).

How much difficulty have you had paying your bills?

  • A great deal of difficulty
  • Quite a bit of difficulty
  • Some difficulty
  • A little difficulty
  • No difficulty at all

Generally, at the end of each month, did you end up with:

  • More than enough money left over
  • Some money left over
  • Just enough to make ends meet
  • Almost enough to make ends meet
  • Not enough to make ends meet

Family income never seems to catch up with expenses.

  • Strongly disagree
  • Disagree
  • Neither agree nor disagree
  • Agree
  • Strongly agree