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Living on $46k - where the money goes

The median income for an American household is $46,242, according to the Census Bureau. Here's how five couples from different walks of life are managing now.

Andrew and Ozgul Leone
Andrew Ozgul Leone
Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
Andrew and Ozgul Leone
Job:
Andrew: Healthcare rights advocate
Ozgul: Saleswoman at department store

Income: Andrew earns $44,000 a year; Ozgul earns less than $200 a week

Andrew and Ozgul Leone are nearly priced out of their home in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, a state where the housing prices have risen 274 percent since 2000.

"I was lucky to buy into property before prices exploded," said Andrew, who bought his 2-bedroom condo for $100,000 in 2003; now it's valued at $200,000.

Andrew said he took advantage of the surge in property value to take a home equity loan and pay down other debt. But now he owes $167,000 on what had originally been a $70,000 loan.

"The place where I live is small," said Andrew. "But even a rental [in this area] is expensive. The cost of living has increased dramatically."

Andrew says for a while he was the only one in his home insured. In addition to his wife, he pays for support of two boys from a previous marriage.

In November Ozgul qualified for healthcare insurance through her work. "It costs $35 a week when she makes $6.70 cents an hour. If I had to pay for my [wife's insurance] it would be an additional $400 a month."

"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."
The Ogles The Ogles' spending The Thibaults The Thibaults' spending Andrew and Ozgul Leone The Leones' spending The Wheats The Wheat's spending Slingland Slingland's spending