Hmm, lets delve more deeply into this idea that one can lead a 1970's lifestyle on one 30k salary for a small family of 4. 30K would be about 2500/month. Lets lop off maybe 400 for taxes, so $2100/month. Lets deduct monthly expenses: rent $775, gas/electricity/water/basic telephone $150, groceries $600 (that's about $5/person per day, before you start slamming me), gasoline for our one car $80 (as long as oil prices stay down anyway), car payments/maintenance for our one automobile, $200 (I haven't had car payments that low since my very first new car, a 1995 sentra with no heat/air) health insurance $200 (thats pretty cheap considering many employer health plans don't help out much with dependent coverage).... Well we're up to about $2000/month expenses already, and we haven't made any contributions to any retirement plans, put any $$ away for kids educations, we haven't purchases any incidentals like soap, shampoo, clothing, etc. and hopefully we were able to furnish our apartment previously with yard sale stuff. And not one damn thing has broken and needed to be fixed or replaced. I would love for someone to shoot holes in my shoestring analysis, because I'm actually starting to depress myself.