CNBC make it 2024-04-14 02:00:55

The 14 U.S. states where you can still afford to buy a home if you earn less than $75,000

There are only 14 U.S. states where residents who earn less than $75,000 can afford a median-priced home, a new Bankrate analysis reveals.

That number has dropped from 36 in just four years, illustrating how rising home prices have tilted the balance of homeownership toward the wealthiest Americans.

Considering that half of the country’s households earn a median of $74,580 or less, these 14 states are some of the few places where middle-income earners can afford a typical home.

To calculate homeownership costs in each U.S. state, Bankrate assumes a 20% down payment, no homeowner association (HOA) fees or mortgage insurance and a 30-year fixed mortgage interest rate of 7.05%. Monthly mortgage payments for each state are based on median sale price data from online broker Redfin.

Here’s a look at the 14 states where homes are most affordable, based on the annual income needed to cover homeownership costs without spending more than 28% on housing.

  1. Mississippi: $63,043
  2. Ohio: $64,071
  3. Arkansas: $64,714
  4. Indiana: $65,143
  5. Kentucky: $65,186
  6. Iowa: $65,314
  7. Oklahoma: $65,443
  8. Michigan: $66,343
  9. Missouri: $66,986
  10. Louisiana: $67,886
  11. Alabama: $69,514
  12. Kansas: $72,343
  13. North Dakota: $73,414
  14. West Virginia: $74,957

Median-priced homes in these states cost $300,000 or less, a significant discount compared with the U.S. median price of $402,343.

While these 14 states may have cheaper properties available, there are trade-offs to consider, like higher rates of poverty and fewer high-paying jobs compared with the rest of the country. Many of them are among the most rural in the United States, and incomes in rural areas tend to be lower than in large urban cities.

In contrast, you’d need to make $197,057 to afford a median-priced home worth $739,200 in California — the highest amongst all states.

The median income needed to afford a home in the U.S. overall is $110,871 — up from $76,191 in 2020. This is largely due to a longstanding shortage of homes that was exacerbated by supply chain constraints early in the pandemic. Since 2020, median home prices have risen by 27%, while mortgage rates have nearly doubled.

However, price gains were more dramatic in states where there has been long-running demand for homes, like California and New York. Home prices in rural or Rust Belt states like Mississippi or Michigan have not increased as much as others, making them relatively more affordable for middle-class earners.

Want to make extra money outside of your day job? Sign up for CNBC’s new online course How to Earn Passive Income Online to learn about common passive income streams, tips to get started and real-life success stories. Register today and save 50% with discount code EARLYBIRD.

Plus, sign up for CNBC Make It’s newsletter to get tips and tricks for success at work, with money and in life.

Don’t miss these exclusives from CNBC PRO

  • Friday’s biggest analyst calls: Apple, Amazon, Tesla, Microsoft, Boeing, First Solar, Schwab & more
  • Citi says this ‘high risk’ but ‘attractive’ global stock has 280% upside
  • This AI stock could fall 50% and has an ‘exaggerated artificial intelligence narrative,’ Morningstar says
  • Morgan Stanley names 3 overlooked global tech stocks, giving one almost 100% upside

Couple pays $1,600 a month for a 1-bedroom apartment in Brooklyn—they have 150 plants: Look inside

In 2020, Vionna Wai, 30, and her husband, Chucky Hui, 29, moved into a two-family home in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, with his parents.

The couple pays $1,600 a month to live in the one-bedroom, one-bath apartment on the second floor, while Wai’s in-laws pay the rest of the $3,500 monthly rent and live on the first floor, according to documents reviewed by CNBC Make It.

While their living arrangement might be familiar to some — 16% of U.S. millennials lived with their parents in 2022, according to Axios — what sets Wai, a construction engineer, and Hui, a UX designer, apart are the 150 houseplants and two cats, Mi and Ding, they moved in with.

“When I look at my houseplants, I really am living in the moment. I don’t think about like my stress or worries about work or anything like that,” Wai tells CNBC Make It. “I’m just focusing on taking care of my plants and making sure they’re happy and that for me is very calming.”

Wai’s plant collection might be overwhelming for some, but she doesn’t think 150 plants is excessive.

“I’m just a homebody that wants to stay at home all day to play with my cats and plants,” Wai says. “Once I go to work, it’s all fast-paced… but when I come home, it’s a complete switch. I’m in my own element and everything’s just very calming and lively.”

Wai says there is actually very little maintenance — she spends about 30 minutes a week watering them and does some pest control between seasons.

“They just need water, sun, and some love,” Wai says. “It’s really not that hard to take care of them but I think people fail to see them as living things sometimes. How much love you put into that plant it’ll give back to you.”

One of the most expensive plants in Wai’s collection is a Phildendrom Florida Beauty she bought for $350 during the pandemic. Wai and her friend split the cost with the plan of propagating the plant. While the price tag might have scared some away, Wai says it was 100% worth it.

“It gave me so much joy.”

Though Wai admits she was scared it would die on her: “Part of the journey is nursing it back to health and being able to share with friends.”

Because many plants can be toxic to cats, the couple has an area they call “the cat jungle corner” that houses their pet-friendly plants. Mi is 10, while Ding is five.

“I’ve learned to train my cats to coexist with my plants,” Wai says.

The couple also makes sure to use cat repellant on the plants and keeps the toxic ones out of Mi and Ding’s reach.

The only place that Wai and her husband don’t have any plants at all is in their bedroom.

Because the couple is currently renting, they made sure to keep their plant set up renter-friendly but eventually, Wai admits that she would love to have a greenhouse.

“I always have this dream of moving to Japan and just living in the countryside with the rice paddies on the side and just, you know, a greenhouse and just have that calm, like country life,” she says.

Want to make extra money outside of your day job? Sign up for CNBC’s new online course How to Earn Passive Income Online to learn about common passive income streams, tips to get started and real-life success stories. Register today and save 50% with discount code EARLYBIRD.

Plus, sign up for CNBC Make It’s newsletter to get tips and tricks for success at work, with money and in life.

26-year-old works 20 minutes a day—and brings in $462,000 a year from his Etsy side hustle

This story is part of CNBC Make It’s Six-Figure Side Hustle series, where people with lucrative side hustles break down the routines and habits they’ve used to make money on top of their full-time jobs. Got a story to tell? Let us know! Email us at

Francisco Rivera doesn’t even like candles — but he brings in six figures per year selling them on Etsy.

In February 2023, Rivera was living in Orlando, Florida and working part-time for online tutoring company Outschool. Demand dropped when after-school activities resumed post-Covid, so he started looking for more income elsewhere.

He found a YouTube video about print-on-demand side hustles, where sellers create designs for products like T-shirts or mugs. They list their designs on marketplaces like Etsy or Amazon, and when a customer places an order, a manufacturer prints the design onto the product and ships it out.

For his product, Rivera chose neutral-colored organic candles with “witty” labels, he says. He creates his designs on Canva, lists them on Etsy and uses a service called Printify to connect with manufacturers.

DON’T MISS: The ultimate guide to earning passive income online

His Etsy shop brought in approximately $462,000 in sales last year, according to documents reviewed by CNBC Make It — enough for him to quit his tutoring job in December 2023. (Rivera says he’d prefer not to name his shop, to prevent potential copycats.)

About 30% to 50% of each sale is profit, Rivera estimates. His expenses include Etsy fees, nearly $55,000 last year, and money he spends on marketing and Printify’s services.

Often, he works only 20 minutes per day, he says. Some days, he works extra: up to two hours, researching trends and designing new candle labels. With the rest of his time, he’s pursuing a music career, he adds.

“I’m making more than I ever have, doing less than I ever have,” says Rivera, 26.

Here, Rivera discusses the side hustle advice he thinks actually works, the biggest downside to his print-on-demand gig and why — despite his distaste for them — he chose to sell candles.

CNBC Make It: Do you think your side hustle is replicable?

Rivera: Absolutely. The beauty of the [print-on-demand] model is it’s so low-risk. It’s $0.20 to list something on Etsy. I borrow someone else’s Canva account, but the Pro version costs $120.

I don’t think I’m special — I just work hard. There’s value in time and value in flexibility. I would take a pay cut if it still allowed me to do what I’m doing [outside of my Etsy shop].

There are so many people I know who are interested in this, but just can’t start. I always say: If you have a 9-to-5, you’re putting in work and you already are consistent. You just have to channel that consistency toward something else.

A lot of print-on-demand businesses sell items like T-shirts or mugs. Why did you choose candles?

I’m not super passionate about selling candles. I’m actually allergic to them.

But at the time, candles were a newer category in print-on-demand. After scouring YouTube and Printify’s product catalog, I liked the idea of coming up with witty phrases to put on a product, and I noticed a lot of people were already selling apparel and mugs.

It felt like there was more opportunity with candles. They make great gifts, a lot of people buy candles on Etsy and people who had funny candle shops typically went viral within a year.

What’s the biggest downside to your side hustle?

The biggest downside of this side hustle is copycats — people who use the exact same phrases or very similar designs. They see bestselling candles, replicate them and then skip [to the top of search results]. I have to file copyright infringement, and it’s a mess.

Etsy is very secretive about its algorithm [for search results]. You can revise things, like the images on your listing or use different words on your product descriptions.

I don’t find a huge amount of success changing those things, so I would rather focus on pushing out new candles.

Can you share a piece of side hustle advice that you think is overrated?  

A lot of people recommend sales analytic tools that show you demand versus competition [customer searches for your product versus similar products].

I’m not fully convinced they help. Instead, I’d tell people it’s important to not be married to your creativity. If there’s a design in your shop you really like, but it’s not really getting the results you want, cut it.

Research what other products are selling well. Put your own spin on it.

Want to make extra money outside of your day job? Sign up for CNBC’s new online course How to Earn Passive Income Online to learn about common passive income streams, tips to get started and real-life success stories. Register today and save 50% with discount code EARLYBIRD.

Plus, sign up for CNBC Make It’s newsletter to get tips and tricks for success at work, with money and in life.

The phenomenon of your rich friend being the stingiest rings true, expert says—here’s why

Scrolling through my Venmo transactions, it’s evident that requests for comically small amounts of money are almost always made by friends who were either born with or earn more money than me.

The experience is curious and seemingly universal.

“Rich people love to Venmo request you $4.72 for like half a bagel because they have no concept of money and don’t understand that working class people operate under an economy of buying someone a beer,” one X user mused.

“Friend making $450k as a software engineer: ‘Can you Venmo me $3.62 for your share of the Uber ride?’” another wrote.

Susan Bradley, founder of the Sudden Money Institute, coaches clients who have quickly or unexpectedly come into large windfalls of cash on how to transition out of being a have-not.

The phenomenon of the rich friend being the stingiest rings true, she says: “People with more money than their peers struggle with generosity.”

‘They are peerless’

If a person knows they are in a higher income bracket than their friends, they likely feel isolated or “othered,” Bradley says.

“People with substantially more [money] have a smaller population to have as peers,” she says. “So in some ways they are peerless.”

Because their money is what differentiates them from their friends, they start believing that their money is why they have friends.

“They don’t want to be taken advantage of or to feel like, ‘I have money and that’s why people hang out with me,’” Bradley says. “It feels very invalidating.”

These insecurities manifest as a $4 Venmo request.

“If someone does the small-dollar Venmo, it means they don’t feel good,” Bradley says.

If someone does the small dollar Venmo, it means they don’t feel good.
Susan Bradley
Founder of Sudden Money Institute

‘With more wealth comes more of a focus on transactional relationships’

Being economically peerless also means you might struggle with feeling a sense of community, says Hal Hershfield, a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles Anderson School of Management. Hershfield studies the psychology of long term decisions-making.

“With more wealth comes more of a focus on transactional relationships, which could then bleed over into relationships that should be communal,” Hershfield says.

Let’s say you’re moving apartments. If you’re trying to save money, you might enlist the help of a few friends. This favor signals a communal relationship.

If you earn enough money to pay for movers, then this experience becomes transactional.

Soon, you might start to see the world in a more transactional way, he says, and that will seep into your friendships.

If a friend Venmo requests you for small amount of money, Bradley suggests doing two things: pay it and then ask if something else is going on with them.

“If they’re doing that, it’s a way of not being taken advantage of,” she says. “It could be about something in the past with longer legs that hasn’t been dealt with. They don’t care about the $4.”

Want to land your dream job in 2024? Take CNBC’s new online course How to Ace Your Job Interview to learn what hiring managers are really looking for, body language techniques, what to say and not to say, and the best way to talk about pay.

Plus, sign up for CNBC Make It’s newsletter to get tips and tricks for success at work, with money and in life.

A nutritionist shares her simple diet for optimal health

The impact of what you eat daily on your overall health cannot be overstated, and we can all look to the diets of experts like nutritionists for guidance.

Carissa Galloway has 10 years of experience as a registered dietitian nutritionist and is a nutrition consultant and personal trainer for Premier Protein.

Prior to her career as a nutritionist, Galloway was a sideline sports reporter. A realization about her own eating habits and their effects on her health led her to an interest in nutrition, which not only changed her day job but also how she approached her diet.

“I found that as I was traveling, I wasn’t eating healthy. I wasn’t feeling energetic, I was sluggish,” Galloway tells CNBC Make It.

Here’s the diet that Galloway follows now for better health.

How this nutritionist eats for optimal health

When it comes to Galloway’s diet, she aims to get three types of foods in every meal:

1. Protein

Protein is “hugely important for muscle growth and repair,” Galloway says.

“For weight management, protein foods help you feel full and satisfied,” she adds. “So when you have a protein in every meal and snack, you’re helping support steady blood glucose levels, and you’re watching out for that blood sugar roller coaster.”

The kinds of protein that Galloway reaches for are:

  • Protein shakes
  • Seafood high in omega-3′s
  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Tofu

“If you’re using meat in your meals, you want the amount of protein to be about the size of your palm,” she says.

2. Produce

“I want a fruit or a vegetable anytime that I eat anything. And I want to make sure that I vary my colors,” she says.

“Because when you’re varying your different colors, that means you’re varying your different antioxidants and vitamins that are in them.”

Her family’s favorite fruits to start their mornings with are berries, and she’s a huge fan of dark leafy greens like spinach, kale and arugula.

“But also the broccoli, the cauliflower. There’s research that shows they have anti-cancer fighting properties,” Galloway adds.

3. Fiber-rich foods

Adults ages 50 and under are recommended by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to get 25 and 38 grams of fiber a day, for women and men respectively.

Yet, on average, U.S. adults are only getting around 10 to 15 grams of total fiber daily, according to Harvard Health Publishing.

This is why Galloway aims to eat fiber-rich foods in every meal. Some foods that have high fiber content include leafy greens, avocados, raw almonds, apples and seeds like chia seeds.

A nutritionist’s typical breakfast, lunch and dinner

This is what Galloway made for breakfast, lunch and dinner for her and her kids on the day that she spoke with CNBC Make It.

  • Breakfast: Overnight oats, made with plant-based milk, cinnamon and protein powder, topped with nuts and berries
  • Mid-morning snack: Premier Protein high-protein shakes
  • Lunch: Air-fried salmon with a broccoli slaw and microwave brown rice (Leftovers from the night before)
  • Dinner: “Salmon again,” she says. But usually on Thursdays, her family has tacos with tilapia, black beans or ground turkey.

“The important thing that I think of when I’m framing what I eat from day to day is planning. I’m a mom, and I’m really busy,” Galloway says.

“I’m not trying to be the most creative person on Earth. I’m just trying to get in foods that taste delicious, that support my overall health goals, that make it easier for me to get that and not harder.”

Want to make extra money outside of your day job? Sign up for CNBC’s new online course How to Earn Passive Income Online to learn about common passive income streams, tips to get started and real-life success stories. Register today and save 50% with discount code EARLYBIRD.

Plus, sign up for CNBC Make It’s newsletter to get tips and tricks for success at work, with money and in life.