Each of the U.S. Financial Diaries' Household Profiles presents the financial life of one family in the USFD study. While these families are not necessarily representative of the total sample, they illustrate recurring themes: households struggling with income volatility, unplanned expenses, and finding ways to save and invest, but also using creative–and sometimes counter intuitive–budget and money management strategies to help make ends meet.
The latest profile focuses on Elena Navarro, 27-year-old woman living outside of San Jose, CA. She has a bachelor’s degree and ambitions to attend law school. While Elena’s degree and experience qualify her for jobs that pay well above the poverty line, she lives close to the margin. Elena survived a challenging year thanks to the generosity of her sister and her ability to repeatedly find new employment. Without her resourcefulness and considerable help from her family, it is easy to see how these challenges might have derailed her significantly, perhaps permanently.