They could even spend a little more if they wanted to tighten their budget in other places like staycations, no new cars, eating out less, no cable, etc. Imagine if only we'd drop the victim mindset and did a little math. 50% of your take home is your max to spend and I've always gone under that, (so really these two teachers would qualify for nearly 4k a month). It's also important to remember that while year 1 and 2 of that mortgage might feel tight eventually the PMI goes away which drops the monthly payment. Also, as wages increase the mortgage doesn't so by year 5 that is way less than the 30% of the take home. Maybe we should realize two first year teachers at 22 making 120k a year are NOT POOR AND DESOLUTE!
I'm a big fan of living within your means. I'm also a big fan of financial independence and self reliance. I've always under-purchased my homes except for 1. And that's because I didn't have to on it. Get out of debt, stay out of debt, and live like no one else. Living without a mortgage or car note is absolutely the most free feeling in the world! Takes the stress out of a bad principal too because you always know you can walk away from the job at any point and be just fine for many months if you have the right amount in your emergency fund.