It sounds like you guys got a great deal on your home and mortgage, that's awesome. It also sounds like you and your husband are pretty savvy financially to already be in such a great equity position at 26. You guys are doing better than a lot of people.
I think overall though that location plays a big part in how far your money will go. I have lived in some of the most expensive cities/states in the country (SF, LA, DC) and some of the least (TX, NC) but while the cost of living was so different, the pay for the same job wasn't that much higher in the more costly places. I know that's anecdotal evidence but I'm pretty sure I'm not that far off base, depending on the job.
You're right about being grateful for having a job that pays decently and isn't totally demeaning, even if it's shitty. I think though being grateful only gets you so far because once you hit the wall and despise your job, there's very little that can be improved by getting a raise. You definitely do tolerate more with better pay but in the end you have to wonder if it's really worth it.
yeah we really worked hard when we were "young" Got married at 18, went to college with no student loans thanks to finacial aid, I had an awesome paying job (32,000) right out of high school. My husbands odd jobs while we were in college paid the bills we needed when we had a studio apt in the shitty part of the city, 5 years of saving we were able to buy a new car in cash, and get a house in a nice neighborhood. I got pregnant at 23 and had to stop working at my Job because it was REALLY physical. We had to really learn how to stretch our money after losing all that income. BUT we found out that it isnt hard to make shit work.
I used to live in LA when i was younger, its the reason my parents went into debt. Raised by my grandparents who had 8 of their own kids plus me, got a bunmch of credit cards to make ends meet and are in CRAZY debt. We wouldnt be able to make it out there with 28K a yr. My Hubbys job offered him a position in SF (which i would LOVE) even though its more per year with the standard of living it would have been a pay cut, and im too snoody to live in oakland ahaha. So i do understand location is important.
I'm just so sick of people complaining about their finacial sitch I rant alot about it because you can really do more than you think with what you've got it just comes down to determination and drive. I have a bunch of friends who whine about their bills and they live in an apt with like 3 roomates make more than Me and my husband, parents bought their cars, they have all the latest gadgets and arent grateful for what they have.
I'm talking in circles at this point but im sure you see my points/passion