THE PRICE FAMILIES PAY FOR LIVING IN THE WHITE HOUSE
In the early days of the republic there was no presidential expense allowance for entertaining so presidents often left the White House deeply in debt. As an example, James Monroe's salary was only $25,000 per year but, after serving two terms, he left office $35,000 in debt and spent years trying to get reimbursement for his expenses. Thomas Jefferson left office $24,000 in debt. It was not until the 1920s that Congress agreed to allocate funding for the president's official entertaining. The president now receives, in addition to his salary, a $50,000 annual expense account, plus an additional $19,000 for entertainment. However, the First Family is responsible for all personal expenses, including their food, clothing, toiletries, education, and vacation travel (they pay equivalent of a coach ticket). The White House staff keeps track of everything served to family members and their guests. First Lady Nancy Reagan was shocked when she received the first bill for personal expenses after moving into the White House and wrote in her memoir claiming that "Nobody told us that the President and his wife are charged for every nonofficial meal, as well for such incidentals as dry cleaning and toothpaste."