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.

Matt and Ginger Ogle
"We know we're going to make it."
Salem, Oregon
Matt and Ginger Ogle
Job:
Matt: English teacher, speech coach

Ginger: Stays at home, part-time assistant speech coach

Income: Matt makes $42,000; Ginger earns $200 a month

Because Matt is a state-employed teacher, the couple has more stability in their income and a steadier employment outlook than many of their peers, says Ginger.

The couple, who call themselves "planners," consciously found a home that would fit well with their stable but modest budget before beginning their family.

But there are some expenses the Ogles can't forecast: a sudden rise in energy prices, like last summer, was unforseen. "It's hard to factor in gas prices. Every month the natural gas and electric bills are higher. And that makes it harder when you try to plan," Ginger says.

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."

"I don't stay awake at night worrying about money...unless something horrible happens, we know we're going to make it."
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
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Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.