More month than money: The numbers show why your wallet seems lighter these days


Real median household income in the U.S. increased 1.3% between 2006 and 2007, according to the U.S. Census bureau. It's up to $50,233. But, consumer prices climbed 5.6% between July 2007 and July 2008, so most households have to meet bills with less real spending cash.

In case you're wondering why you're no longer able to pay the bills, part of that could be related to the fact that inflation is eating up your raises. You may actually be able to buy less than what you did last year because your salary increases have not kept up with inflation.

If you're wondering where you can earn the most money, move to Plano, Texas. The median household income increased to $84,492, up 10% from 2006 to 2007. Houses are cheap there too. The median home price is $225,000. Plano is the home of several corporations, including Frito Lay, JCPenney, EDS and Perot Systems. The city that came in second place in median household income was San Jose, Calif. at $76,963, where many high tech companies are located. But the problem there is that the median home price is $744,000, so living costs will kill your budget.