What do you consider to be a "good" salary? - Page 3 - Mothering Forums
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#61 of 125 Old 03-02-2011, 08:32 PM
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That city data website says the COL here is 103, which is close to average, but it sure feels higher than that. Rhode Island is a densely populated state, so housing is expensive.

 

DH and I bring in about 50K a year. I say "about" because we are both tipped employees, although he does get a much higher hourly wage in addition to tips. I get minimum wage for waitstaff ($2.89/hour) plus tips, so just about all of my income is tips and is therefore unpredictable. Up until this year I also received 12K/year in child support, but that is now reduced to a little over 8K because DS1 has aged out. So we hover around 55-60/K a year, I guess. Money is tight. Our rent is $1300/month. I have a car payment; DH drives a beater. We don't buy all organic but we enjoy food and don't eat cheaply, and with a 6'3" DH and two teenaged boys, groceries probably run us about $800/month. And then there are the cats, one of which needs medication.

 

Oh, and then there's heating oil, which is going at about $350-400/month right now. I had some debt from my divorce that I FINALLY just paid off last month. The boys have health insurance through their father, but DH and I can't afford insurance at this time for ourselves. Neither do we have anything saved. I guess I would feel comfortable with about 75K a year. I'm really not sure we ever want to buy a house, to be honest, but I do want health insurance at some point. I finish school next spring, and am hoping to find a good job right out of school. My field is promising in that aspect. 

 

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#62 of 125 Old 03-02-2011, 09:11 PM
 
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For a long time I kept telling myself that things with our budget would get better after my husband graduated from college or after he got a new job. The thing is, if you can budget on 10,000/year, you can budget on 100,000/year. That's why people who win the lottery are filing for bankruptcy 2 years down the road. 


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#63 of 125 Old 03-02-2011, 10:00 PM
 
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In our neighborhood 100k a year is probably the minimum to qualify for a house.  The smallest ones here start from 550k.  If you buy a condo or rent a family of 3 or 4 can get by on 75 - 80k comfortably.  Although I can see how a family can get by on as little as 30k as well.  When you're low-income there are all sorts of benefits you can claim that people with average or more income would never qualify.  Loads of stuff are priced on a sliding scale based on income.

 

*OK I just found a mortgage calculator.  To buy the smallest  house in our area, even with 20% down payment, you need a family income of 112k a year to qualify.  Gee I'm glad we bought our house early enough.  We won't qualify for it now.


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#64 of 125 Old 03-03-2011, 07:47 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ellien C View Post

I think some of it depends on where you are in life, too. DH is closer to the end of his career than the beginning. And while we don't have student loans anymore, we're past the starter-house phase. We bought what we needed to raise the whole family in. I would dearly love a newer kitchen, but it's not happening right now. Our retirement contributions are pretty important and we might not be able to fully fund them at the level we want this year, even though we make what I consider a very good living. there's just always STUFF - ya know?

 

When I graduated college I made $18,000 a year, which was enough for me to have an apartment in a good neighborhood with a roomate, pool, window A/C, off-street lighted parking and on-site laundry facility. I saved enough to put a downpayment on a car that year. I could afford my auto-insurance, gas and food. I put new clothes on layaway and paid a little each pay check until they were mine. I really didn't make much, but it was a good salary for me. I was a liberal arts major so it was probably half of what my engineering friends made. It many ways I had a bit more disposable income then (or maybe simpler needs) than now.


Season of life certainly plays a big role in our comfort levels.  We are "older" parents.  I'm in my late 40s and DH is in his early 60s, so we have spent considerable time working and have years of experience in our fields.  We live in a super HCOL area and our one-bedroom apartment was $290k when we bought it about 10 years ago.  DH and I make in the $200k range but our comfort level involves being able to put a significant amount into savings and for other costs associated with maintaining a normal, middle class life in the city.  Our biggest yearly expense next to mortgage and maintenance is DD's tuition, but it is well worth it in our opinion.  My brother does fine on about $70k here in the city (with four kids) but they have no savings to speak of and are constantly moving to avoid rent hikes.  For him, that is okay, but for me, I need financial padding to maintain a sense of security.  I don't want to be thinking about month to month survival when I'm in my 60s, which is only 20 years away. 

 

Similar to the PP above, I made $17k per year when I graduated from college 25 years ago.  At that time, I lived in a lower COL area and I seemed to do just fine.  I had my whole life ahead of me and didn't think much about finances in the long-term.  DH and I have always lived fairly simply - we're not extravagant spenders by any means.  But here in the city, an income in the $200k range puts us squarely in middle class status with a little bit of future security.
 

 


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#65 of 125 Old 03-03-2011, 08:15 AM
 
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We live in a relatively low COL area. DH makes $93K a year. In theory, I should make about $30K as a freelance writer this year, but my income is highly variable. We do have debt from years ago that we're pouring everything into to get paid off. We're getting there, and once we do, then I'll feel much better. Median income in our town is about $35K for a family of 4. I would feel inhibited by that income. I've realized that while I'm okay with risk (i.e., high-risk investments), I don't like having high monthly obligations compared to our income. I think that would be true to me no matter where we are on the income continuum. Once I'm working in auditing & DH gets a non-government job, our income should be somewhere around $225K. That *sounds* great, but I'm not sure how it will be once we're there. I have some issues with spending and feel panicky when I even think about, say, going to Disney World. Though we can afford it, I really have this, "but we could..." mentality with money that's probably not entirely healthy.  


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#66 of 125 Old 03-03-2011, 01:25 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lactatinggirl View Post

For a long time I kept telling myself that things with our budget would get better after my husband graduated from college or after he got a new job. The thing is, if you can budget on 10,000/year, you can budget on 100,000/year. That's why people who win the lottery are filing for bankruptcy 2 years down the road. 


This is a wise post that bears repeating.  Bravo!

 

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#67 of 125 Old 03-03-2011, 04:56 PM
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I just looked it up - the COL index is 140.

Now, that being said, I think 75K is a good income for us - but that means leaving in 1br appartment with really bad schools. Which I don't mind at the moment - although I am a little jelous of all the houses I see on "house hunters".

However, when the kid goes to school or we want more kids - we need more money.

PS besides small expensive housing, the average cost of very mediocare daycare here is 2K a month.
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#68 of 125 Old 03-04-2011, 09:51 AM
 
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My husband and I talk about this all the time and his idea of a good income differs drastically from what I consider.  He thinks that 70K a year is 

a good wage, but I still feel as if I am not able to live a "good" life on a salary of that amount and save.  $125,000 a year would be the minimum level at which I would feel secure knowing that I can pay for everything cash, and still save close to half of our yearly income.


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#69 of 125 Old 03-04-2011, 05:02 PM
 
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To me it's 60-70k.  DH makes somewhere in there, I stay at home and we have 2 kids, a mortgage on a 3 bedroom in a nice neighborhood and the unexpected expense of 2 new cars, a new roof, 4 separate plumbing issues (I hate the plumbing here so much), a broken air conditioner and 2 major appliances in 3 years hurt our savings, but hasn't killed us.  You could live on a lot less here, but the neighborhood wouldn't be as nice and you'd have to watch your budget closer than I watch ours. 

 

This thread makes me incredibly glad we live in the podunk Midwest though.  My parents live 25-30 miles from Chicago and to live on the same level as we do here DH would probably have to make 80-90k.


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#70 of 125 Old 03-04-2011, 09:13 PM
 
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COL is 145 here. I'm very comfortable at $125K - able to cover needs, aggressive savings, and a reasonable amount of wants - but then again I bought my condo 12 years ago for half what it would cost now. Sometimes I think about upgrading to more space, but even with the equity that would require a mortgage between 2-3x what mine is now, and suddenly that income looks a lot tighter. And I'm a single mom, with no backup for income or health insurance, so keeping expenses manageable is a priority. Daycare used to cost more than my mortgage, but I was fortunate to get a spot in one of our city's excellent public preschools (open to all with a sliding tuition scale, but long waitlist), which cut that cost in half. It was like getting a raise!

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#71 of 125 Old 03-05-2011, 09:17 PM
 
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$62k is considered very low income here for a family of 3 (but not enough for aid since most aid is tied to the federal levels).  Average household income is $106k/yr.  We make $60k post-tax and just scrape by in a totally not fancy house.  We're lucky to even be in a house, considering we're considered poor for this area.  A comfortable salary, at least for us, would be $80k post-tax as that would allow us to save a bit, maybe get me some health insurance (through husband's work, it's a lot of money to add family, more than we can afford, but $16/mo for the employee).  $100k would be heaven.  We only get by because we have no debt.  So I'm thankful for that.  For the typical family with debt, a lot more than that is needed.  It won't buy you even a small house.

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#72 of 125 Old 03-06-2011, 12:01 PM
 
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COL index is 112 here.  Mind you that is the provincial StatsCanada number so in the city it's probably higher, and we also pay Canadian income tax so it's probably a little different.

 

I'm not sure here if we're talking good salary for one person or good family income.  The cost of two parents working full time could easily be $15,000-$20,000 in childcare.

 

I would say $45,000 is a reasonable salary for one person who is several years out of school and supporting a family.  $60,000 single income could be comfortable.  On $80,000 you could easily save for retirement or larger purchases.  I think you would need $100,000 single income to live the lifestyle I see seemingly *everyone* living with eating out, shopping, vacations, etc. 

 

DH and I together make over six figures, but once you take out the cost of working, savings, and common luxuries like owning a car, we are still on a budget.  Not a crazy budget but certainly more disciplined than most of the people I know.  I know it's different because some of them make more and some of them don't have kids, but I suspect a lot of people are heavily in debt.

 

ETA:  Apparently the median family income here is around $90,000.

 

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#73 of 125 Old 03-06-2011, 04:29 PM
 
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COL here is 148, blech. I think we'd be comfortable in the 120-150k range: enough to swing a mortgage, pay our student loans and live comfortably (without things like CC debt).  Hopefully we will get close to this when I go back to work once my kiddos are in school.

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#74 of 125 Old 03-06-2011, 05:15 PM
 
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I live in NYC... you need $250,000 minimum to have a solidly middle class standard of living, nice neighborhood, private school if necessary, vacations, eating out, health insurance, retirement savings etc.

 

I am originally from a small rural town where anything over $100,000 would have been "rich."

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#75 of 125 Old 03-07-2011, 07:16 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by choli View Post

Very high COL area. $100K a year would be just making it around here, and that would be pretty tight if you have a mortgage and kids.



 amen to that. I live in a high COL area. You need that. But add in car  payments, tuition if need be and any extras- 150K or higher


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#76 of 125 Old 03-07-2011, 11:41 AM
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COL is 133.  I thought it was higher.  I'm in Southern CA.

 

I don't know what is "enough" - it seems like it never is.  As our income rises, so does our spending.  I piss away money here and there, and my husband is always pushing for more electronics, a nicer car. 

 

We are actively trying to reduce our spending - we are buying a house in a cheaper suburb (longer commute) but the schools are still not great.  The restaurants there are terrible so we will also save money by not eating out often.  We are hoping to reduce spending so I can quit job and stay home, but it's so expensive here, I just don't know that we can do that.

 

My MIL provides childcare while we work so we pay her living expenses (she does not live with us).  So we are supporting two households.

 

Combined we make a pretty good chunk.

 

I agree with an earlier poster who said that this thread was humbling.  I have a lot of respect for those of you who get by and make it work on so little. 

 

During the last presidential election, the candidates asked what they consider to be rich.  McCain said making over $5M per year.  Obama said making over $250K.  It just shows you what perspective does. 

 

 

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#77 of 125 Old 03-07-2011, 04:07 PM
 
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COL index is around 135....quite high. 

 

We make around the state median for MA which is about $60K. Our town median is higher by over $20K. 

 

We can't afford to buy a house. That's our biggest issue. We don't lack for anything we need and we have savings to fall back on. 

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#78 of 125 Old 03-07-2011, 08:03 PM
 
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In my area 75K gets you a modest home and a decent enough lifestyle... Especially if you are willing to live in the burbs. 100k you get to go on vacation and probably have decent cars.


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#79 of 125 Old 03-28-2011, 09:51 AM
 
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This thread was very interesting to read.  It's eye-opening how different things can be in different areas, as well as different lifestyles.

 

For the past several years, DH's income has been over $125k and we've been comfortable, free from worrying about money.  We have a brand new truck (dumb move) and my Odyssey is loaded with every gadget you can get.  We own a camper and take several weekend trips a year instead of 1 large vacation.  We also have a fully funded emergency fund and a great start at retirement savings.

 

Projects in DH's field have slowed which means income will also.  To be honest, the thought of making less than $80k made us both panic and forced us to create a budget, which we have never done before.  I'm glad that we did though because I've learned that no matter what your income, you should know where every dollar is going and should be able to plan what your money is going to do for you.  We're late to that party.

 

In this area, I think it would be extremely difficult to buy a home on less than $75k.  Most people we know make around or slightly less than that.  To maintain our lifestyle (mostly organic food, weekend trips, dining out once a week - not fast food, private school tuition for DD) we would need to make at least 100k.

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#80 of 125 Old 03-28-2011, 08:59 PM
 
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We are a family of five. We made $37k last year. Its tight, and would be easier if we made a little bit more, were a little better at managing money. I think a good amount for us would be $45k a year. Only because with adding a fourth child, and probably not being done yet, we're outgrowing our 925sqft.


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#81 of 125 Old 04-01-2011, 02:38 PM
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I would say 150K-we live in the Washington-DC metro area.


 

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#82 of 125 Old 04-04-2011, 01:26 PM
 
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I replied much earlier up-thread... and it is pretty funny that a position opened up that may allow us to make our "good" salary level in short order if I get the job.  :)  and another position opened up that might work if Dh gets the job. at this point it is one or the other as they are in different towns, but Woot! 


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#83 of 125 Old 04-04-2011, 05:40 PM
 
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for a household, or per person? tbh... I think a 'good' salary would be 80-100k. that would be enough to live, save, spend.


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#84 of 125 Old 04-04-2011, 06:15 PM
 
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Coming from a low COL area here, in a family of 4 living almost frugally but comfortably with one $45k/yr income. To me for a one earner household 35 or 40k is adequate, 50k is good, 70k or more is luxuriously rich. If you have a home paid off already I'd subtract 10k off each of those.

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#85 of 125 Old 04-05-2011, 09:25 AM
 
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Originally Posted by CatsCradle View Post




Season of life certainly plays a big role in our comfort levels.  We are "older" parents.  I'm in my late 40s and DH is in his early 60s, so we have spent considerable time working and have years of experience in our fields.  We live in a super HCOL area and our one-bedroom apartment was $290k when we bought it about 10 years ago.  DH and I make in the $200k range but our comfort level involves being able to put a significant amount into savings and for other costs associated with maintaining a normal, middle class life in the city.  Our biggest yearly expense next to mortgage and maintenance is DD's tuition, but it is well worth it in our opinion.  My brother does fine on about $70k here in the city (with four kids) but they have no savings to speak of and are constantly moving to avoid rent hikes.  For him, that is okay, but for me, I need financial padding to maintain a sense of security.  I don't want to be thinking about month to month survival when I'm in my 60s, which is only 20 years away. 

 

 

 


I think location plays a role but also season of life. I had my first child at 19 and he is now a college freshman. So compared to others my age, what is a reasonable salary for many is not for us as I have one child in college and another who just started kindy. Also combined with the fact that I am nowhere near paying off my own student loans since I only graduated from college 10 years ago and got my masters about 5 years ago. Yet most in my peer group only have 1-2 small kids so their expenses are a lot lower than mine.

 


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#86 of 125 Old 04-05-2011, 09:54 AM
 
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I've actually run the numbers as recently as yesterday.  If I'm talking "after-taxes", $60k would pay our monthly expenses and fund our basic sinking funds (heating oil, insurance). But if we ever want to replace our cars, go on vacation, rely on more than hand-me-downs, eat out/socialize occasionally, start saving for college (3 kids) or retirement (currently at $0), we'd need a substantial hike to our income. The "problem" is that our current income level we qualify for fuel-assistance, state subsidized healthcare, reduced lunch. And suddenly $60k isn't quite enough. I think that as your income goes up, your expenses tend to go up and I fear that even at a much higher pay scale we'd still feel a pinch. And THAT number...not so sure where it falls. 

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#87 of 125 Old 04-05-2011, 11:57 AM
 
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I dream of having an income of at least $90K. We would be able to save faster for our EF, house and retirement.
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#88 of 125 Old 04-05-2011, 01:58 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nina_yyc View Post

COL index is 112 here.  Mind you that is the provincial StatsCanada number so in the city it's probably higher, and we also pay Canadian income tax so it's probably a little different.

 

I'm not sure here if we're talking good salary for one person or good family income.  The cost of two parents working full time could easily be $15,000-$20,000 in childcare.

 

I would say $45,000 is a reasonable salary for one person who is several years out of school and supporting a family.  $60,000 single income could be comfortable.  On $80,000 you could easily save for retirement or larger purchases.  I think you would need $100,000 single income to live the lifestyle I see seemingly *everyone* living with eating out, shopping, vacations, etc. 

 

DH and I together make over six figures, but once you take out the cost of working, savings, and common luxuries like owning a car, we are still on a budget.  Not a crazy budget but certainly more disciplined than most of the people I know.  I know it's different because some of them make more and some of them don't have kids, but I suspect a lot of people are heavily in debt.

 

ETA:  Apparently the median family income here is around $90,000.

 



where did you find the numbers for COL?

it'll be different all over Canada too. def depends on area here or in U.S. i stay at home with the kids in our 3 bedroom (+1) house and i THINK hubby makes between $50-60 a year but i could be wrong about that. i'm a freelance writer but i tend to shop with my cash ;) it's a small town and houses are fairly low priced in comparison to bigger cities like Toronto or areas near Toronto. we'll be doing really well once my student loans are paid off. darn loans!!

 


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#89 of 125 Old 04-06-2011, 09:18 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goinggreengirl View Post

This is very interesting. We survive on less than $20k. I would feel awesome with $30k. When I worked we had about 45k but I didn't feel like it. I think having less makes me more aware of where it's going! We live in a low COL area.

I agree. We used to make more, but I also didn't feel like it. My ds brings in less than $25k a year and we do manage. $30k would be nice. $40 would make me feel really comfortable, I think. Like decent grocery budget and I could have health insurance. That'd be cool.
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#90 of 125 Old 04-06-2011, 11:12 PM
 
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We reside on the border of 2 SUPER high COL states. 40,000 doesn't even come close to being adequet for our family of 6. Before layoffs almost 2 yrs ago DP made 70,000 a yr and that still wasn't enough, although we could squeeze by without the massive struggle we are dealing with now. As soon as that level of income stopped we stopped being able to even heat our home, which we rented to the tune of 1250/mo. Low average for a small 3 br house here. Even apts cost that much!

 

 Don't mistake me... we are ubber frugal and don't see the need in things like cable tv or other luxuries like eating out so it's not like I'm talking about being able to do anything but live. Some of those things might be cool but not even in my scope. I love to buy second hand, cook from scratch/nothing processed, don't need new cars, can live without entertainment that costs money, we homeschool, use cloth everything but TP and enjoy live very simply but this economy is rediculous when one can't even meet basic needs. Car repairs or replacement w/ even a USED car? Forget it. I could go on... but I fear I'm preaching to the choir winky.gif

 

Our entire income goes into healthy HEALTHY food... it *IS* our health insurance since we could never afford it, rent and gas. It gets squeeky 'round these parts and pretty soon our temp rental with everything included will be no more. We are facing a 300+ jump in rent w/ nothing included. Fun fun!

 

So, from my experience to live comfortably in the Northeast, without ANY burden of financial stress, according to my very low key standards one would need at least 80-100,000 /yr.

 

Our plan? To get out from underneath this system and head off the grid! In progress slowly but surely. There is no other option. Wish us luck! Sending you all a little bit too.

 

Edited spelling


Ima to Mizz.Jonas- 14, Isman- 12,Javsar- 9, Nani Gweesa- 4 and Baby Micah born into the Universe sleeping at full term Oct. 19th 2008 and Partner to Abba ~ belly.gif8/2011  Grateful to be Dead  broc1.gif
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