TODAY   |  March 13, 2014

Living ‘Paycheck to Paycheck’: One woman’s struggle

NBC’s special anchor Maria Shriver and Katrina Gilbert join TODAY to discuss Shriver’s new documentary, “Paycheck to Paycheck,” which follows Gilbert working as a nursing assistant while supporting three children.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> that's what's "trend

>>> tens of millions of americans are currently living paycheck to paycheck , all too often struggling to decide which bills this can pay. in february, maria shriver released her report "a woman's nation, pushing back from the brink." now she's telling her story, the life and times of katrina .

>> a cna job is the backbone to the nursing field. you can be rewarding. you meet very good people but you also lose some and it's very hard. $9.49 an hour for what we do.

>> nice to see you both. in this country we talk a lot about the very, very poor and the very, very rich. this is a group that katrina is a part of that encompasses so layers of our society. why did you want to tell her story?

>> because her story is the story of 42 million women and the children who depend on them. katrina has three children herself, women working very hard and can't get above poverty. you come out and say i understand so many people say that's me and we can do better.

>> this is very personal. you talk about things that a lot of people don't like to talk about, especially with cameras following them around. why did you decide to let that happen?

>> i decided to let it happen hopefully to inspire somebody that was in the same circumstances as i was, to inspire them and show them they could do it.

>> do you think there are misconceptions about people living in your situation, living paycheck to paycheck ?

>> i think there is. in my case was married for ten years. it just didn't work out.

>> you struggle with the same thing as lot of people do. you got to make car payments, house payments, you got health care payments, things like that.

>> i know you got a raise recently. what did that take you to and from?

>> it took me from 9.42 to 195 19 -- $9.56 an hour.

>> 14 cents an hour?

>> yes. she is a working woman with children who depend on her, trying to better herself, go back to school, can't get financial aid . it's kind of a box she finds herself in.

>> we put this up online. carson is in the orange room and has people with questions.

>> giving some tips here, too, matt. we found walk more, save money on transit fare , try for just a week. stephanie writes what helps me is taking my lunch with me. i save $240 a month.

>> carson, thanks so much.

>> katrina , do you mind if we do this? can we bring the special people in your life into the studio?

>> yes.

>> these are your kids. these are the people that you are working so hard to support. hi, guys. how are you doing?

>> good.

>> everybody good?

>> yes.

>> this is the face of the family here and when you hear what she's making per hour and trying to support a family, it's incredibly difficult.

>> when this airs on hbo next week, we're having gatherings all over the country. these are issues we debate but i think a lot of people don't understand. i don't think that you can look at a woman working like katrina again or they don't deserve better and that there isn't something we can do.

>> thank you. i think it's very smart you're trying to spread the word. maria, always thank you. and " paycheck to paycheck " airs monday.