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Erik Krohn - Living within his means
Erik Krohn - Living within his means
Erik and Jennifer Krohn
Graduate student, 27
Iowa City, Iowa

We are certainly better off than we were in 2001. Now granted, we were both in college in 2001 making next to nothing. Now I'm a graduate student and my wife is a substitute teacher. We still make much less than most. We are not well off by any means and when we left college we had 2 pretty beat up cars and not much else to our names.

We bought our first home over 2 years ago. A yard and a garden beats apartment life any day. We bought a new car last winter.

Our jobs are both pretty stable. Education is a great business to be in during a recession. Our income has increased enough over the last few years. It's not as much as we would like so I have a part-time job a few hours a week to make up for it.

The only debt we have is our mortgage and student loans. Those go down every month. We have no credit card debt. This is a priority to pay off every month.

We live comfortably. We don't eat steak every night but we also don't eat ramen noodles every night either. I have a budget but we aren't strictly bound to it. If we go over in a category one month, so be it, we'll cut back the next.

We can't afford cable TV. We can't afford $3 coffee every day. We can't afford eating out 5 times a week. We can't afford a big screen TV or other fancy household items. We can't afford a second car. We can't afford a lot of luxuries. But we also realize we are a teacher and a student. We shouldn't be able to afford those things. We live within our means and that provides us no stress about our financial situation. That's worth more than a boatload of money to me.

NEXT: Kristine DiGiovanni - Golden years turned to lead

Last updated August 28 2008: 4:39 PM ET
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