Vice president of information technology, 32, Denver, Colo.
We purchased a home last year and I'm proud to see my children live in a decent neighborhood close to a good public school and have a backyard to play in. However, since moving, unexpected expenses and rising costs have created a situation of struggle. I do have a fixed-rate mortgage, but everything else is getting so expensive. Last week I spent $170 on gas alone. I've taken on a second job, and I know as long as our economy hangs in there and doesn't collapse, we'll be okay. My biggest frustration is I work very hard to maintain a lower middle-class income and lifestyle. We don't go on vacations, or rent movies. We just hang out and do free or cheap stuff. But I still work a second job and I miss out on school events and struggle to feel okay explaining this to my son. NEXT: Dave Goldthorpe: Travel out of reach