The Greiners are both 33, and they expect to pay off their house and get completely out of debt by Jan. 1, 2012. Living on a combined annual income of $78,000, they’re paying extra toward their student loans and home mortgage.
Shortly after their marriage in 1993, they found themselves with almost $8,000 in credit card debt and decided to make a change. “We got rid of the credit card debt maybe four years ago,” Larry Greiner said.
The Greiners’ income is well above Spokane County’s median family income of more than $47,000. However, they’re close to the state’s median family income of about $70,000 – a figure that’s skewed upward by higher salaries on the West Side.
The Greiners, who have two sons, ages 3 and 8, are frugal but not austere in their habits.
Larry says he couldn’t imagine buying a daily $3 latte because of how it would add up in a monthly budget: $60.
“That’s crazy,” he said.
Yet they budget for regular family vacations, mixing trips to San Diego with lower-cost options like camping. They invested in a new van with a DVD player. They budget 50 bucks a month for a nice dinner out. And they fork out $86 for DirectTV.
He works as a vice president of information technology for a credit union, and she’s an administrative assistant for a psychologist. They’ve tracked their budgets on a computerized program for years. They’re in good financial shape, but the figures are sobering: groceries and utilities have roughly doubled, gas expenses have tripled.
“The one that we’re feeling right now really is Avista and the city of Spokane,” Larry said.
- Shawn Vestal