Well, the answer of course, is, as with any amount of money: not nearly as far as one might like.
When my mother heard that I'd be making $50,000 a year in this job, she was shocked. "That's the same as some lawyers make!" Referring to my stepsister, who apparently made about that in her entry level position at her firm.
(We live in the cheap Dirty South, obviously, where $150,000 will get you a mini-mansion.)
Well, break it down real quick for you, anyway:
First of all, at least 25 percent is gone for taxes. My take home is about $3000 a month, and that includes my not-especially-generous medical insurance policy (which is like $100 a month.)
(You can dick around with deductions on your tax form, but I'd prefer to pay it a bit at a time than all at once in April.)
Rent is $700 a month; utilities included at this place (cheap South, mild climate), but about $45 a month for cell phone and $55 for internet at home. Say $100 a month for gas for the car, $75 a month for car insurance.
So round off general necessary expenses at $1000 a month.
Food seems to be between $75 - $100 a week. That's for a decent high-protein, fresh veggies, not-too-much-processed stuff diet.
Basically, it's the median income in America, but I'd really hate to be trying to support a wife and kid on this amount of money.
I take advantage of the various budget hacks -- use "cash back" credit cards to pay for everything, take advantage of the "free trial month" on Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon as many times as possible, and otherwise get books, comics, and DVDs from the library.
One nice thing about America is toothpaste and soap and stuff like that is cheap at the dollar stores. (And you know I mean the Dollar Tree, not the Dollar General.)
Not exactly a huge draw for the lifestyle design crowd, I guess, though, anyway. "Come to America and save dozens of dollars a year on soap and shampoo and toothpaste!"