they only reported $3,800? that's barely enough for 2 months 'round these parts.
Presumably we can assume that there was other money that was not reported, but Loup also specifies that the woman made "only" $13.80/hr. Although hours aren't stated, please understand that from my personal perspective, $13.80/hr is not an "only" by any means. Even if we assume a mere 20 hours per week average (which should be rather low), this results in a gross yearly income of approximately $14k, which should translate into something in the vicinity of $12k of actual spendable money, although obviously the majority of it would need to be spent on, well, needs, rather than these things that people want that they think are needs.
In any case, the bare minimum necessary would be around $6k (here at least)-but that would be cutting it very, very close. For two people, $7k is a more likely number, with the above caveat applied.
So $12k (on the low end) and $3800 would be acceptable-or at least more so than $3800 alone-but, again, people decide they need things that they merely want, and then of course there's the issue of living in more expensive parts of the country (as you apparently do, dystopic).
This post may confuse some of you, as I've ranted time and again about how people in the above income brackets (and more importantly the lower ones) don't technically make enough money, regardless of how many hours they work, but the other issue at hand, which annoys me almost as much, is that the vast majority of people don't know how to spend money intelligently.