The final “couple” in CNN Money’s series on the spending habits of households living on about $46,000 isn’t a couple at all. Susan Slingland is a full-time piano accompanist at Appalachian State University. Susan seems to have her expenses under control. At $675 a month, her rent is her biggest expense, and she keeps that low by opting for a more frugal living environment — a converted garage.
Unlike the other couples or families profiled by CNN, Susan’s expense for health care is only $50 a month for insurance. According to her pie chart, she spends less than $100 on food each month. She also manages to put away 9% of her salary into her 401(k) and a full 37% into savings. She’s not struggling on her median income.
Here are some factors that contribute to her success.
* She’s only one person, with no significant other or children.
* Her housing isn’t extravagant.
* Her housing is close to her job.
* The university proves inexpensive health insurance.
* She drives a practical and somewhat efficient car.
* Thanks to scholarships and assistanceships, she doesn’t have to deal with student loans.
Three degrees is a lot of schooling to be earning $46,000, but I’m willing to bet she gets a ton of satisfaction from her job. Susan mentions that she knows individuals with three degrees in music like herself, but they are struggling to find jobs. I would like to bet that many others are dealing with the stress of debt, as well. In comparison, things are working out well for Susan.