To put things in perspective, it might be helpful to list what our basic monthly bills are, for a family of 8, including one in college. My husband's salary does meet these basic bills, with absolutely no wiggle room.
Natural Gas: $77/month
Car Insurance: $68/month
Life Insurance: $88/month
Car expenses: $200/month
Music Lessons: $100/month
My husband's take home pay from his job is $2167 per month. You will notice there is nothing in that list about medical expenses, homeschooling, travel, etc. When I said, no wriggle room, I meant it! My husband also has other income which comes to about $400 per month. It arrives once a year and in the past we have just used it for Christmas or to pay off bills. We will have to be much more wise about its use from now on.
We do live in an area of the country where living expenses are pretty reasonable. But then salaries are also low.