Jean Chatzky
Just five years ago, Manhattan residents Janey Lee and Pablo Agüero were thousands of dollars in debt. Yet recently, the young married couple accomplished what many people consider the impossible—they bought a $445,000 apartment in New York City on their combined salary of about $100,000 a year! How did they do it? Jean talks to Janey and Pablo about how they got out of debt and achieved their goal of home ownership.

Janey and Pablo say they reached their financial goals by cutting back on spending, saving every penny and focusing on their ultimate goal—a home of their own. "It's really just about a lifestyle change," Janey says. "You can't do it by making small adjustments—you have to do it by totally changing your lifestyle and your way of thinking."

Here are a few ways the couple managed to cut back and save up:

  • They stopped going out to eat.
  • They stopped drinking socially. Janey and Pablo say bar tabs can really add up.
  • They gave up smoking. To help kick the habit, Janey and Pablo took advantage of New York City's free nicotine patches.
  • They attended free social and cultural events in the city.
  • They bought property in a neighborhood that isn't "hot" by real estate standards.
  • They focused on the big picture, not small purchases. Before making any purchase, they'd ask themselves, "Do I really need this?" or "Would I rather have a latte or a home?"