We all hear about stretching your dollar — especially since we are in a recession. But where you are depends largely on how far you can make your dollar go. I live in the relatively small Utah city of Logan (population is around 48,000).
My dollar goes further here than it would in, say, New York City. In Austin, Texas, though, my dollar may do better.
How far does $5,000 a month go in Logan, Utah?
On average, my husband and I make more than $60,000 a year. But, since I am self-employed, working from home, we try to live on $5,000 a month. (We are lucky; the median income in America, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, is $50,233 per year: $4,186 per month.) We have a two-income household, with my husband earning money as a student researcher while he works toward his Ph.D. We have one son.
Our housing related expenses are fairly basic. We have a home with four bedrooms and three bathrooms. Our mortgage payment, including taxes and insurance, is $1,350 per month. We pay, on average, $120 a month for heat, electricity, garbage collection and water.
Compare that to the $2,801 the Center for an Urban Future reports as the effective citywide rent in New York City. Con Edison figures that electricity costs in New York City ranges from $0.15 to $0.29 per Kilowatt-Hour. I pay about $0.10 per Kilowatt-Hour.