This story is part of CNBC Make It’s Millennial Money series, which details how people around the world earn, spend and save their money.
Norberto Orellana and Ehlana Broaddus come across as an ordinary young couple.
The pair share a “pretty modest” 2,000-square-foot home in Gillette, Wyoming, with their two young daughters, and earn a combined $78,000 per year.
But behind the scenes, the couple have overcome many obstacles to get where they are today.
Orellana, 24, grew up poor, spending time in New York, Miami and Colorado, and experienced homelessness for stretches of his youth. Broaddus, 23, meanwhile, was raised by a single mother in a low-income household and endured more than 20 surgeries to treat her X-linked hypophosphatemia, a condition that affects bone growth.
Orellana and Broaddus met in Colorado in 2018 and married in 2019. They moved to Wyoming in 2020, and now both work at a nonprofit dedicated to at-risk youth, him as a grant manager and her as a youth advocate. Orellana earns $49,000 a year, while Broaddus makes $29,000.
Norberto Orellana and Ehlana Broaddus with their two daughters.
That they are now homeowners, have two cars and are raising a 2-year-old and 1-year old together is something that was difficult to imagine just a few years ago. “I didn’t think at this point I would have been able to achieve that sort of income … at my age,” Orellana tells CNBC Make It.
And they feel like they are “just getting started” building their lives together.
“We’ve come pretty far, but this is what the beginning of the journey looks like,” Orellana says. “I think we’ll do everything we can not only to protect what we have, but continue to grow it.”
How they spend their money
Here’s how Orellana and Broaddus budgeted their money in April 2022.
- Housing: $1,317 for their mortgage, internet, gas, electricity, water, sewage and trash
- Child care: $1,220 for daycare and diapers
- Insurance: $1,103 for health, dental, vision and car insurance
- Transportation: $800 for gas and car payments
- Food: $550
- Discretionary: $340 for entertainment, household expenses and donations
- Phone: $90
- Cat: $60
- Subscriptions: $37 for Xbox Game Pass, Amazon Prime, Spotify and Hulu
Living in Wyoming wasn’t always part of the couple’s plan. They made the move in order for Orellana to pursue a Ph.D. in chemistry. However, he decided to abandon the program in favor of entering the workforce because of the income opportunities …….