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Five Couples Living on $46k, Number 3: The Leones

This article was written by in Career and Work. 12 comments.


In CNN Money’s series about five couples living on (about) $46k (couple one, couple two), the third couple, Andrew and Ozgul Leone from Fort Lauderdale, clock in at $54,400. Here’s their profile.

They’ve been juggling debt around. Their property doubled in value, so the couple took advantage of a home equity loan to pay off higher priced debt. Unfortunately, they don’t seem to have broken the debt habit. While in general, it can be a good idea to pay off expensive unsecured debt with less expensive, secured credit, if the spending beyond the limit of income continues, you still won’t get out of debt.

Andrew and Ozgul LeoneThis admission shows that the couple still is not on a path to financial freedom:

“I’ve had to rely more and more on credit cards to stay afloat,” he said. “There’s a lot of juggling to be done. A lot of creative financing. A lot of borrowing Peter to pay Paul.”

A big part of the couple’s expense is the child support Andrew is paying to his ex-wide for two children. Child support can be a significant financial strain, especially if income is earmarked for necessary expenses and prior debt. Based on their expenses, at the very least, the couple could eliminate cable. They also have two cars. If the wife is only earning $200 a week, and the second car’s total expenses are beyond that amount, it make more financial sense to eliminate the second job and the car. There is more to work than just salary; perhaps Ozgul finds enjoyment from her job as salesperson.

While I strongly believe that not every decision in a person’s life should be based purely on numbers, there must be some consideration when a couple is struggling to get by.

Published or updated April 23, 2007. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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About the author

Luke Landes is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about Luke Landes and follow him on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar dimes

Don’t forget, Ozgul is getting health insurance from her job, which is a savings of $250/month versus being added to her husband’s health insurance. I hope that with some time on her job her hourly rate would go up, because $6.70/hr is disgraceful.

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avatar Fellowes

I feel this couple’s pain in terms of child support. I am paying nearly $1000 per month to my ex-wife for child support and while I don’t have one bit of problem with that as it goes to support my daughter and allow my ex-wife to support her by working, I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t a burden and substantially impacts my ablity to repay my debt. That is exactly what I have chosen to get so serious about it and am willing to work additional jobs for on a temporary basis in order to get things under control. I already feel better about things having gotten it all out in public for everyone to see.

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avatar Michelle Hope

If you can’t afford to raise children, don’t have them. Simple as that.

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avatar Chris

I have a friend that may end up paying some serious child support, while his soon to be ex wife is going to try to severely limit his access to their daughter. Tough times.

Regarding Fellowes up in Comment #2, you gotta love the attitude here – that debt is an insidious drain on your future net worth, and that you’ll even work extra jobs to eliminate said debt. Bravo!

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avatar Andrew

I am the Andrew featured in the story. I agree completely with the notion that we are still not on solid footing, Ozgul and I, but we are working on it. Unfortunately Ozgul recently had to choose between a job more along the lines of her profession (artist and teacher) that offers no health benefits and staying in the sales clerk minimum wage one. Of course she chose to teach. By the way: only one car between us. And no regrets about my two wonderful kids and contributing to their wellbeing. Living under the same roof would not have cost me any less.

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avatar Luke Landes ♦127,500 (Platinum)

Andrew: Thanks for stopping by and filling in some of the details. The decision to do what you love to do is great, and I think it will make financial sense in the long run.

It’s the relying on credit cards “more and more” that would have me scared. That’s a move in the wrong direction… Hopefully soon that will be “less and less.”

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