I'm just starting back to work after about a six month hiatus, so I know the feeling. I might even get caught up with my bills in a couple of months.
I've raced my carbon bike, but my main racing/training bike is aluminum. It's a 2012 Specialized Allez E5 frameset, bought used off of eBay, and outfitted with parts from my previous bike...most of which had been bought used. It's the last thing that's holding me back. Inexperience and genetics are the main things. Some of us are doing better financially than others, but that's not what makes them better racers. Speaking for myself, I need to put more work into it and get more experience before I can race better and smarter.