LIVING IN LAFAYETTE: Roederer works to pay the bills

Published 12:00 pm Wednesday, May 25, 2016

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are approximately 50,000 residents of Lafayette County. The median household income is around $40,000. The average salary earned is $21,000, and approximately 25 percent of the population lives in poverty, compared to a national average of 14.8 percent. In this series, we’ll take a look at how area residents are Living in Lafayette.

By Victoria Mekus

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A little money here. A little money there. A little money everywhere. Rent, electricity, gas, groceries — it all adds up to something. And that something is over half a paycheck for Oxford resident and native Riki Roederer. “Bills take over half of my paycheck,” said Roederer. “I even have to divide my bills between paycheck cycles to make sure they are not late.”

Roederer said she lives “paycheck to paycheck,” a lifestyle that is practiced by millions of Americans. More times than not, she runs out of money a few days before getting paid again. “Once you put away your bills, it’s stressful trying to stretch out what you have left and distinguishing between ‘needs’ and ‘wants,’” she said.

Roederer said there could be things she could do to make her money last a little longer. However, she said she’d have to give up the things she enjoys, like having dinner with friends once in awhile or treating herself to a night out.

At 26, she said it “sucks” to have to say ‘no’ to enjoying time with friends because they are receiving help from their parents or make more money than she does. This recurring haphazard struggle is something Roederer is more than willing to sacrifice for the love of her job. She works at The Animal Clinic in Oxford, a job she considers herself lucky to have and enjoys it immensely.

“I enjoy working with animals and have a lot of experience with them,” she said. “Plus, there are only so many jobs where I can do that without requiring a college degree.”

For Roederer, finding another source of income is not an option. “Sometimes I question if I should get a second job, but it would be totally boring and uninteresting to me,” she said. “I love what I do, so I would probably be miserable elsewhere.”

Along with helping animals, Roederer also believes in helping others. While she struggles to pay her bills, she said she doesn’t want her tax money going to people who don’t need it. “I understand that some people do need help, and not everyone is able to work,” she said. “But there are a lot of people who take advantage.”

Tax return money that Roederer receives goes to things that she normally cannot afford on a month-to-month basis, such as fixing car issues or renewing her subscription for contact lenses. “I have to plan ahead and work hard to just get by,” she said. “I don’t ever have money left to just save or spend on myself.”