My husband was a Bible teacher at a Christian high school when we met and got married. We lived in a high-cost of living area where even a 2 bedroom apartment in the hood cost $900/month (and it's probably gone up since then - actually, after checking, it has gone up to $1200+/month). He earned around $40,000 at the time, and while that may sound like a lot, keep in mind that after taxes and withdrawals for health insurance and tithe, we had about $2200/month to work with. At some point, we felt like it would be better to be in a safer and nicer section of town, so we moved and paid $1350 per month. Our cars (there were two) were paid off, and we carried no credit card debt (we charged, but paid off our balance every month). In our first year of marriage, I had worked and put my entire paycheck toward paying off the last $18,000 of his student loans from seminary in one year so that I could stay home with our first child, born about one year after we got married.
But in 2010, now with two children, we realized that it was very difficult to move forward with the salary my husband was receiving. Yes, his benefits were great, and we were making ends meet, but it felt like there was no wiggle room. He and I both felt like he needed a graduate level degree, and after some thought and prayer, felt like law school was the way to go. We wanted to do it as cheaply as possible, so we eventually moved in 2011 to a lower cost-of-living state and attending a school that was affordable and offered a reasonable scholarship. Still, now with 3 boys ages 4 and under, it was hard for me to work while he was in school. I realize looking back on that time that I could have done something, but life felt overwhelming enough to me with the boys and the home. I'm working now on ideas to generate income from home.
Fast forward to 2014: the good news is my husband finished law school, took the bar, and passed on his first try. And, even more importantly, he got a job with benefits. We now have four children - a new girl along with our three boys, and I homeschool.
The "Meh" news: his job doesn't pay six figures, not that we expected that. We are starting off at $50,000 annually.
The "Sigh" news: we have $72,000 of student loans, $3,500 on our credit card, and $15,000 of a car loan. And after taxes, required retirement and health premium contributions, we have $3000 to cover our basic expenses and loan repayments.