I've always thought it was easier to make money from photography's ancilliary activities than as a pro. Selling cameras, providing print and developing services, being an educator bring in a steadier income than your average jobbing professional. There are exceptions of course, but most commercial photography is not a romantic occupation, it's a living (if you're lucky!) like any other.
I'm a pro lab owner who's only source of income has been photography the past 14 years. I find the money I earn from running my lab allows me to indulge in my own photography and gives me complete access to any direction in photography I wish to go. I am truly very lucky.
On the subject of money, if anyone has any old money, perhaps last year's which has gone out of fashion, I will happily take it off you.
I have been working professionally since 1976 , my only source of income is from phototgraphy, I feel as passionate about it today as I did the first day I saw a print emerge.
I am also working on personal projects at a rate that would be daunting for many, I use the camera as a tool to put images on film , I prefer to call myself a printmaker rather than a photographer, and the darkroom is where it all happens, not at the exposure / camera side.
When I have Leica, I dont have Money to buy film, When I dont have Leica, I dont have Money to buy film either.
We were a 1-income family while our daughter was growing up, and remained so after that, due to my wife's health problems. This required a lifetime of real frugality. I always had a low level interest in photography, but never pursued it due to expense and family responsibilities. My increased interest coincided with becoming empty-nesters and the collapse of film. Now that I'm in my peak earning years before retirement and we were mostly unaffected by the recession, old habits die hard and I still am pretty cautious about spending on photography equipment and supplies. I never forget that every bit of it is just a toy. However, when an unexpected opportunity appears to get something I want at a good price, I don't have to worry about taking advantage of it.