If Any of These 11 Things Describes You, You’ve Climbed Beyond Middle Class

Explore the 11 subtle hints that suggest you've outgrown middle-class boundaries.
Updated April 18, 2024
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You may be frustrated when it comes to inflation or your financial situation. Bills can be tough, but you've learned to stop living paycheck to paycheck.

So, how can you tell if you're doing better financially than most Americans?

Check out these signs that you may be better off than you think and moving up from the middle class.

See if your groceries could be making you money

Everything’s more expensive now. Coffee. Gas. Groceries.

And if these sharp price spikes have been hurting your bank account, you’re probably looking for any chance to save … or at least cut back.

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Your income is rising fast

Fxquadro/Adobe african american businessman having coffee

You may have asked for a pay raise or a bonus this year and actually received it. Perhaps you’re simply moving up pay grades faster than you expected.

A rising income could be a sign you’re on your way to making more cash and might not have to worry so much about checking every little expenditure to keep more money in the bank.

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You aren't worried about health care costs

gpointstudio/Adobe friendly female pediatrician cheering young girl

Health care costs can be a major expense, even for co-pays and prescriptions that can add up quickly.

But you may not be worried about making doctor appointments or filling affordable prescriptions because you can easily cover those costs with your income and insurance plan.

That being said, it’s a good idea to have an emergency fund on hand if you end up with large, unexpected medical bills. An emergency fund should cover at least three to six months of living expenses.

You make more than $130,000 a year

amnaj/Adobe businesswoman on phone at work

You may have reached the maximum of the range for middle-class income if you’re making more than $130,000 a year.

However, one major factor is the cost of living in your area. While you may be making more than $130,000 a year, it’s also important to consider how much it costs to live in a particular area.

Resolve $10,000 or more of your debt

Credit card debt is suffocating. It constantly weighs on your mind and controls every choice you make. You can end up emotionally and even physically drained from it. And even though you make regular payments, it feels like you can never make any progress because of the interest.

National Debt Relief could help you resolve your credit card debt with an affordable plan that works for you. Just tell them your situation, then find out your debt relief options.2

How to get National Debt Relief to help you resolve your debt: Sign up for a free debt assessment here. (Do not skip this step!) By signing up for a free assessment, National Debt Relief can assist you in settling your debt, but only if you schedule the assessment.

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You enjoy dining out as much as you want

chika_milan/Adobe man serving food to girlfriend

Dining out can be a nice evening with friends or a loved one. It can also be expensive if you eat out too often.

You may be moving out of the middle class if you don’t worry when you pick up the bill for dinner or aren’t worried about limiting the number of times you go out because you’re on a tight budget.

You don’t worry about vacation prices

JadonBester/peopleimages.com/Adobe exploring city with map

You might be worried about trying to find the best time to take off from work or coordinate with other workers to decide when you can take off.

But you know you’re reaching above the middle class if you’re not so worried about the cost of your trip, or you don’t feel as prohibited from going many places due to budget constraints.

That doesn’t mean you no longer want to save money on travel, but you don’t have to be limited by your budget.

You don’t carry any debt

Siphosethu Fanti/peopleimages.com/Adobe african american couple on road trip

Debt can be a big issue holding you back financially with things like a car loan, student loan, mortgage, or credit card debt.

It can be liberating to crush your debt completely or easily make your monthly payments for your home, car, credit card, or other outstanding loans without watching your bank account like a hawk.

You don’t worry about small purchases

CamerenePendl/peopleimages.com/Adobe stylish woman checking dresses at boutique

You may be excited to get a new shirt for work or grab coffee each morning from your favorite coffee shop.

Those little purchases can add up to be big issues if you’re struggling financially. You may have moved up past the middle class if you no longer sweat the small stuff when it comes to everyday purchases.

You buy the brand names

KirstenDavis/peopleimages.com/Adobe african american woman buying frozen items

One of the best smart shopping hacks is to stick with store brands when shopping for groceries or paper products. You may even find cheaper store brands for clothes and shoes.

It can be a sign that you’re doing better financially when you don’t need to worry as much about getting the name brand you may like better than the cheaper store brand that isn’t your favorite.

You’re not very worried about financial downturns

Liubomir/Adobe asian accountant working at office

It’s always possible that there could be a recession on the horizon or a drop in the stock market that could hurt your investments.

Little blips or minor downturns can cause major headaches if you’re already living paycheck to paycheck compared to someone who isn’t as worried if they’ve moved out of the middle class.

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You put your bills on autopay

WayhomeStudio/Adobe couple reviewing bills at home kitchen

You may have been worried about your monthly bills, trying to decide which ones you could pay and which ones you would have to hold off on until your next payday.

Putting your bills on autopay not only helps you make sure they get paid each month but also means you’re not as worried about not having enough cash in your checking account when the bill comes due.

You also may not worry about your credit card bill on autopay because you’re spending within your limits and know you’ll have enough to pay the bill in full at the end of each month.

You’re saving for college

Pixel-Shot/Adobe father teaching son at home

You may no longer be middle class if you’re thinking about the best ways to save money for your kids’ college education.

A college education is a big-ticket item, but it can be an investment in your children’s future and a way to ensure they don’t leave college with debt if you can save enough to help them out.

Bottom line

GrahamF/peopleimages.com/Adobe happy male employee working on computer

It can be frustrating when you’re worried about expenses and how low your salary is compared to other potential positions or careers. You might not realize you’re doing better than you expected.

Take a measure of your financial fitness and see if you’re doing things that may be signs you’ve made it out of the middle class.

While you may have more money, keeping track of your spending and staying within budget is still important. You can even add some ways to save more for early retirement or an emergency fund.

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Author Details

Jenny Cohen Jenny Cohen is a freelance writer who has covered a bit of everything, from finance to sports to her favorite TV shows. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and FoxSports.com.

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