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Corrected entry: Barney is only a deputy but I'm sure makes a decent wage, however he lives like a poor college student, I'm sure rent can't be that expensive in a small town like Mayberry.


Correction: How much Barney makes is never discussed, so this is purely speculation.

Andy's salary isn't mentioned either but he lives a descent middle class life. Barney has to make something, but he doesn't spend it on a family or hobbies, he doesn't travel, doesn't own a car, but lives just one step above a homeless person.


This is not a plot hole. And I don't think Barney "lives just one step above a homeless person" whatsoever. We don't know Barney's salary, but he seemingly chooses to live a frugal lifestyle. We know Barney's expenses include rent, food (he eats out all the time), dates with girlfriends, etc. We see in the season 1 episode "Runaway Kid" Barney owns a car. Then in season 3 "Barney's First Car" (it was actually his second car on the show) Barney withdrew $300 from his bank account to buy a car, so we know he had been saving money, and we learn that some time in the past he had purchased a septic tank, which was expensive, for his parents' anniversary present.

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Something else to consider, Don Knotts was born in 1924. Assuming Barney is supposed to be the same age, that means he grew up during the Great Depression. Many people from that generation tend to be very frugal.

Truthfully Law Officers are disgracefully underpaid but believe they used this fact to create Barney as a penny pincher. Barney is an excellent tightwad. He advises Thelma Lou to order "The Special" at the diner on a date. And collects from her when he picks an item up from the market for their supper. When it came to someone in need... remember how money came flying off his person to raise money to save the Lester Scobey house from foreclosure? It's only make believe.

Barney paid $5/week to Mrs. Mendelbright to stay at her boardinghouse - So $20/month. Barney would definitely be considered middle class. My Dad was a Deputy Sheriff during the early 60s to the mid 70s. To his recollection, his pay was roughly: Junior Deputy: $275/month. Senior Deputy: $325/month. Chief Deputy: $425/month. Dad said the Sheriff earned $600/month. Everyone earned an additional $125/month car allowance and an additional $1000/year for travel, uniforms and other incidentals.

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