CNN is featuring five couples living on about $46,000 a year. How do they do it? The first couple is Matt and Ginger Ogle. Matt is a public school teacher and speech coach bringing home the largest portion of the income, while Ginger adds a couple thousand a year as as part-time assistant speech coach.
The Ogles manage fairly well on their household income but they are having trouble getting ahead. “It’s very difficult to save,” said Ginger. “I keep a mortgage payment in the bank…If there are big expenses that aren’t expected we use the credit card.”
In Salem, Oregon, they were able to find a home that fits their budget. If they were to transplant to New York City, Matt would earn a $5,000 to $10,000 raise, but Ginger wouldn’t be earning much more.
This hypothetical salary increase will definitely not make up for the cost of living difference between Salem, Oregon and New York City. To maintain their lifestyle, the couple would need a salary of $85,000.
It sounds like the Ogles are just getting by now, with income just enough to meet their expenses. They don’t have an emergency fund larger than one mortgage payment and sometimes need to put unexpected big expenses on a credit card. They also want to start planning to have children. They might have to find other ways to cut back in order to take on the expenses of having kids.
Updated October 9, 2016 and originally published April 20, 2007.