Frugal Living 

Try Living On Minimum Wage

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Stacks of CoinsWant to learn how to be frugal without having to resort to the extremes of spending only a dollar a day on meals? Try living on minimum wage. I’m not recommending that you pull a Morgan Spurlock but you should try to put yourself into the shoes of millions of Americans working a minimum wage job and try to figure out how they’re surviving. They do it every single day and they, through trial by fire, have learned what it takes to truly be frugal. You have to walk a mile in a man’s (or woman’s) shoes to truly understand.

Minimum Wage

So, how much is minimum wage and how much can you spend? The Federal Minimum Wage is currently $6.55 an hour, set to increase to $7.25 an hour on July 24th, 2009 (it may be higher in your state). If you assume an 8 hour day, that’s a grand total of $52.40 in earnings that day.

Taxes: If you worked 2,000 hour (the standard number of hours budgeted by companies) year, $6.55 is only $13,100 a year. Once you deduct the standard deduction of $5,450, we’re talking $7,650 of taxable income assuming no other deductions. According to the 2008 IRS tax brackets, you would be taxed at 10% for a total tax of $765.

Your $13,100 a year is effectively $12,335 after taxes. That’s a little under $1028 a month.

Rent: It’s difficult to assume what your rent is because it varies across the country but let’s take a nice round number of $500. Deduct $500 from $1028 and you’re left with $528. Divide that by 30 to figure out how much you can spend each day.

How Much Can You Spend?

The answer is $17.60. (if you assumed rent of $300, that would still leave you with only $24.27 a day to spend)

That’s right, if you work eight hours of minimum wage and have a $500 a month rent payment, you can only spend $17.60 before you start going into debt ($25 if you pay only $300 a month in rent). This is why so many people working minimum wage work two or three jobs, because eight hours is simply not enough. (There may be other social programs to help, like food stamps, but I didn’t want to get overly complicated in this discussion)

Eye opening huh? Try living on less than $18 a day for an entire month, I mean really try, and you’ll discover some things you didn’t think were possible.

(Photo: ppdigital)

{ 127 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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127 Responses to “Try Living On Minimum Wage”

  1. Travis @ CMM says:

    $6.55 is a joke. A joke you play on your kids. Its not enough for an adult to get by, but its enough for high school kids to earn responsibility, while making a little gas money.

    By increasing the minimum wage we’ll see inflation increase at a comparable rate. You could buy a lot 50 years ago with a dollar, now that same dollar will hardly pay for a pack of gum.

    Raising the minimum wage will not solve our financial troubles. We would be better served to require a Money Management course in high school so our kids don’t make the same mistakes we did.

  2. Brad says:

    Netta, I am sorry if you feel I called you a “child”. I do not recall doing that, but I will apologize either way.

    My only thing I can think that may be close was when I noted that I think it is condescending to the poor to say they cannot improve themselves.

    I don’t see any other choice, though I readily acknowledge many people do not improve themselves.


  3. Slinky says:

    Back when I lived off of minimum wage these were my expenses:

    300 rent
    75 groceries
    20 lunches out
    50 electric
    50 gas
    50 phone
    50 health insurance
    40 liability car insurance
    30 gas money
    Total monthly expenses: $690

    In the interest of full disclosure, I didn’t pay all this every month. I paid what I could afford and my older-already-have-a-job boyfriend (now fiance) paid the rest. I was in school, needed book money and occasionally had to fix my car. This is what I would have paid if I could have afforded it, but a lot of time I only worked about 16 hours a week. However, if I had worked full time, I definitely could have lived off of minimum wage.

    Now that I consider it, that’s about what I live on now if you take out my student loan, car payment and savings. I could easily cut out $200+ to save each month too. Huh, I didn’t realize how awesome that was until now. Thanks! Anyway, I’m really perfectly happy living at this level for the time being anyway. I will increase spending as I get better established, but there’s nothing stopping minimum wagers from becoming managers or going to school.

    It can definitely be done.

  4. Jessica says:

    When people say they know people with college degrees that are living on minimum wage, I have to ask what their degree is in.

    I don’t know a single person that graduated in my class with the same degree (Engineering) that had to settle on a job with poor pay and bad benefits or minimum wage. I do, however, know plenty of people that poorly chose their degree based on how fun or easy they thought it’d be that are now working minimum wage jobs with no prospect of anything better.

    I don’t know why they expected anything different since everyone has a pretty good idea what kind of job you can get with different degrees and how much those jobs pay. If you’re not sure what kind of job you’d get with a certain degree (I still don’t know what you would do with a general studies degree unless you had some sort of specialized minors??) then you should probably pick something else.

    There are always exceptions but I’ve always seen a strong cause and effect relationship with hard work and success.

    • netta says:

      Hi Jessica,

      I know a woman who has a degree in political science. I know another woman who is licensed to practice law in two states; another friend has multiple degrees. Still another has a degree in anthropology. They are all struggling. Not everyone has the capability or the inclination of taking on an engineering degree, or any other degree that “guarantees” a good-paying job. Not to mention the absolutely abhorrent student debt they’ve accrued.

      Sometimes hard work does equal success. Sometimes all it does is keep your head above water, and sometimes it doesn’t even do that.

  5. Debbie says:

    I so agree with you. While I have never had to live on minimum wage I am well acquainted with those who do. One ER visit with a sick child puts them over the brink.

    Brad – The pull up your bootstraps mentality doesn’t always work. How do you expect someone to go to school and work two jobs and then raise children in a quality environment? Should only the rich be allowed to have time with their children?

    • netta says:

      Thank you, Debbie. That’s exactly what I’m talking about. One illness; one accident. One week missed from work because you yourself are too sick to go. The engine blows up in your car; fuel oil prices have doubled since last year and you can’t afford to fill your tank; your babysitter flaked and now you don’t have anyone to watch the kids; no public transportation available to get to work; the lump on your breast is not going away and you have no insurance to get a mammogram. Your mother is ill and there’s no one else to care for her; the baby wakes up at 3AM and is running a 103 degree fever and you can’t get it down, but you have no insurance and have to go to the ER which costs you a month’s (or more!!) worth of earnings. You earn too much for public assistance but not enough to cover all the bases, or even a fraction of the bases.

      Shall I go on? Because I could, all day. This is just the tip of the iceberg.

    • M says:

      Quote: Should only the rich be allowed to have time with their children?

      No, however, only those who can afford children now and expect to do so in the foreseeable future should be allowed to have children, period. I am sick and tired of people in stores with 4, 5, 6, 7 children, paying with food stamps and wondering why they live where they do and don’t have anything. Children are not a way to make money / freeload, it’s sad that our government makes it appear otherwise.
      There is a difference between getting pregnant carelessly and not finding a solution for it and having the best of intentions, a good job and security and loosing it due to the economy or some other reason.
      People have choices, even if they are poor, they still have choices.

  6. Stacy says:

    When I graduated from high school a million years ago and had a baby to support, I worked two jobs and it just wasn’t cutting it. I joined the military and was actually bringing less home every month ($690/month) but…I didn’t have rent to pay, didn’t have to pay utilites, didn’t have to pay for medical care, I carpooled until I could save the $350 I paid for my first car. I got a great deal on it. My now ex husband was working different hours than me because we couldn’t afford day care. We did what we had to do to make it work. When I divorced him I had custody of 4 boys and no child support. I worked 3 jobs but when my boys were home, I was home. I worked while they were asleep or in school. I had to move in with my parents to make it work but it was worth it. I am now a SAHM to my 5th son. The oldest are 24, 22, 19 and 17 (soon to start college. My point is that I have lived on much less than I do now and I really wouldn’t trade anything I have experienced in my life. Being poor has taught me that I could do it if I had to. I would have to sacrifice some of my present lifestyle and it would suck but I could do it.

  7. Samson Babayan says:

    No justice in this world.Bush can send sons and daughters to war and stay home with his two daughters.Exxon can make 100 trillion a year in profits and raise gas prices to 5.00 dollars a gallon.The spawns of satan are in Washington D.C. 95 % of Congress should be in jail.

  8. Jaime says:

    Yes, I am somewhat in this very situation. The most I have ever made (college graduate with a degree in Poli Sci) has been $9.00/hour and that was at a short, temp job filling out tax returns early this year.

    Housing and utilities cost me about $400/month. I have liability car insurance with the highest deductable that I can get and still have the car in my mother’s name so as to keep the monthly expense to a minimum (~$27/month). My cell phone bill has stayed around $10/month, as after I left the family plan, I signed up for a prepaid phone, since I hardly use the thing anyways.

    I normally get by on about $25-$30 worth of food every week, and feel I’m splurging somewhat, since I do go for some organic foods and the like. Luckily, my grandfather keeps an organic garden where I fill in extra weekend hours working and am able to take home more fruits and veggies.

    All told, I am living off of about $27 per day, including minimum payments on my loans. That adds up to a little under $14 after housing.

    On the plus side, by being very frugal and following a minimum wage budget, I have been able to save enough money from any extra coming in for a 3 month emergency fund, pay more than minimum payments on my higher interest student loans every month (my only outstanding debt), and even invest a little towards retirement! Sure, my dollars are stretched pretty far and it hurts to see gas prices go up even a few cents per gallon, but at least I am single and in great health. I could not imagine having to support a kid on my income (my savings would likely be less than zero in that case)!

    I agree wholeheartedly with netta. Many people in similar situations are stuck in a position where one day’s missed work for an illness or emergency of some kind means dire straits for themselves and their families. I feel very blessed to not be in their shoes (although close enough that I can still see that cliff edge a couple feet away).

  9. netta says:

    M, you’re right. People should be more responsible about their breeding practices. However, that’s only one piece of the poverty problem. I had three children as a single mother with no child support, and never took a government dime, even though I have worked since I was twelve years old and have paid my share over the years. I think the incidence of people having babies for government money is much less than you think.

    Good for you, Stacy. I’m glad your life has gotten better, and I totally agree that once you’ve lived poor, you can do anything. It really gives you a different perspective.

    Samson, I agree 100%. Here we have politicians in office making decisions that don’t know the price of a loaf of bread, a gallon of milk, or a gallon of gas. There’s something very wrong with that picture.

    Jamie, I’m impressed with your story. You have just proved my point about college degrees not always giving the value of their attainment. Hopefully, your degree will pay off at some point, but for most people in the poverty rut, they can’t afford to wait for “some day”. Kudos to you for managing so well.

    I agree with the poster that said a basic course in self-economics should be given in high school. It’s survival. Parents should reinforce this with their kids. I taught my kids how to balance a checkbook, how to shop frugally, how to budget — so they can hopefully do better than I did. But when you can’t make enough to make just the BASICS to cover life support, what’s the answer?

    I don’t have one.

  10. Brad says:

    A college degree is not enough, in and of itself. It is marketable skills that are needed. The subject of the degree is worth more consideration than most make, but once you have it, realize you have “the ticket” many employers use to even get through the door. Now focus on some very marketable skill.

    Jaime, what do you do better than anyone else, or at least what could you do better with focus, learning and effort? Are you improving any specific skills and talents outside your normal job? That will ultimately be how you get ahead.

    It would be interesting to see if you are doing things there. It does look like you have the “be frugal” part working very well.

    Maybe you could apprentice with someone. Find a field you want to know more about and see if you can find someone who you can informally work with and learn from, in your off hours.

    Just some thoughts.


  11. netta says:

    Hi Brad,

    Yes, very nice thoughts.

    Now, please read this:

    You don’t have to, but it’s a voice from someone who actually deals with people in poverty on a regular basis. She says it better than I did.

    It seems so easy, doesn’t it? NOT.

    • Brad says:

      And your point is? What do you propose people do, give up and quit? I would rather encourage people to push ahead than to tell them everything is hopeless.

      Yeah, things are tough. I am not struggling for a job right now (though I will be voluntarily taking a separation shortly and I suppose I could be in a year), but my advice still stands. The effort you put into improving yourself is the only thing that will be different about your situation in a year.

      It really doesn’t matter how hard or impossible it is. Doing nothing is never going to help. Are you really proposing despair as the solution? I choose to believe in people, but some do think that giving up is better. What is the other choice?


  12. netta says:

    Dude, you make me so sad, for real. Again, you miss the point.

    You were the one that said these people just spend too much time in front of the TV and aren’t applying themselves. You imply “all” it takes is a willingness to work harder and educate themselves and they can do it. In some cases, that is correct, but in the majority it’s not, and there’s a lot more to the problem than motivation or working hard. PEOPLE ARE ALREADY WORKING HARD. It’s THAT attitude I particularly disagree with and resent.

    People need help. Bottom line. Whether it’s a living wage, a hand from those who can, or a change in the attitude that people who are struggling so hard either brought it on themselves or deserve it because they don’t work hard enough.

    I am not proposing despair as a solution, kiddo. Despair is a big part of the problem, and in spite of our differences of opinion, I pray that is something you never, ever experience.

  13. Anonymous says:

    uhhhhh…. i wanna get an apartment.

  14. TKC says:

    Okay Min wage is not really a living wage. It’s very hard to do especially if you are talking about more than one person living on that income.

    But one problem with raising the Minimum wage that politicians don’t seem to take into account is that if you raise the Min wage – then law of cause and effect – that groceries, and basic items will go up in cost. Because the groceries and others… fast food places and whatnot have to charge more in order to pay their employees more. So thus the cost of living will also rise. It’s a vicious cycle. Plus there will be companies that will “let go” of employees who are not productive enough to pay the new higher wage, or because they just simply can’t afford X amount of employees at the new rate.

    I am very annoyed at the people who think that one who works at Min wage simply is not working hard enough, or needs a degree… A degree promises you NOTHING in this economy – except that you will be paying off debt on your college. Plus as many others mentioned – try to get a loan when you aren’t really making enough to pay on one… And try to add classes to your 2-3 jobs. Working at Min wage doesn’t imply that someone doesn’t have good character…etc Don’t judge them – you don’t know what they are going through… you aren’t in their shoes. You don’t know the circumstances. And they may not easily be able to get out of the cycle.

    • Timothy says:

      This argument would suggest that the people at the top of the food chain deserve all the money they are getting. It is the people making minimum wage that are making the transactions!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Why has noone tuched on this point.

      We wouldnt have a problem with health care if we were paid a living wage….

      Formerly the land of oppertunity for all, now we enjoy stories of executives that make more then 1000x what the people who work for them make!

      Is this equality or servitude?

  15. Denise says:

    I understand totally what netta is saying. In today’s society, there is far too much emphasis placed on your education. Don’t get me wrong. I believe education is important, but I believe that it is too often overvalued.
    In my grandfathers time, 12 years of schooling coupled with a good work ethic was all that was needed for a decent job with good pay. Nowadays, a person needs the same 12 years of schooling plus at least 4 years of college, plus-as poster Brad keeps saying-one needs to be better than anyone else. Getting a job has turned into a competition.
    But what, I would love to ask folks like Brad, are people who are simply average to do? We can’t all be the best. We can’t all be better than someone else. Sometimes just figuring out what one is somewhat good at is a challenge in and of itself. I take myself as an example. I went to a very small high school and did well. I graduated 10th out of about 65 students. Not the best, but not bad, either.
    But then I went on to college, and BOMBED, big time. I was up against many kids who had much more education than I did. As an example…I took Spanish my senior year in high school. I got an award for my grades in that class at the end of the year. (Oh, and btw, the school had no foreign language until my senior year, due to funding issues–hell, we had no bus transportation for a year due to that, so many “extra” classes just weren’t offered. So I had no opportunity to take more than just that one year.) When I got to college, I figured I would keep up with my second language. I signed up for Spanish 101-supposedly for beginners said the description of the class. I figured it was perfect. I would be able to practice the lessons I had learned in high school and build from there. Guess again. The very first day of class, the professor walked in and stated that from that point on, no more English would be spoken in that room. What!!??!! I got an award for my grades in Spanish in high school, but I wasn’t at that level. Come to find out, many of the students in that class had had 2 or more years of high school Spanish. I was behind from the get-go. I wound up dropping the class.
    Not to mention that I was going to school for Early Childhood Education. I figured I would do great because I had tons of experience with kids. I was a volunteer aide in high-school for a first-grade classroom, I took Child Care at our Vocational Center, plus I had oodles of babysitting experience. Wrong again. I wound up taking classes like Political Science and Chemistry to fulfill the “basics” credits-both of which I did horrible in, thus lowering my GPA. I had little in my high-school curriculum to back up these classes. I took Earth Science and Algebra and History back then…and math was a weak point anyway, so Chem 101 was a joke. I didn’t get it at all. The classes that were actually for the degree were stupid as well. Instead of learning lesson planning, nutrition, discipline strategies, and such that would be helpful in a daycare setting, I learned the various theories of Freud, Piaget, and Maria Montessori. Even one of my professors said that they were simply theories and not proven, so they could be basically taken with a grain of salt. To sum up all of this…I got into $25,000 of student loan debt for this???
    My one talent that I have found is that I can read. Very well, in fact. That said, I have a very limited focus. I can read novels in record time. Textbooks, encyclopedias, and that lot…take me forever. I have a very hard time keeping my brain “there” so to speak.
    So here I am, 38 years old, and I would have no clue what to say if people like Brad were to ask me what I was better than anyone else at. Not much. But does that make me less deserving of a decent paying job? Does that mean I should struggle simply to support myself? I don’t see it that way. Everyone should have the opportunity to support one’s self no matter where they are physically, educationally. College is expensive, not everyone can afford it-or want’s to incur the debt of loans-or for that matter can even get a loan. I, personally wouldn’t take another loan in my life. Thanks to the loans I took out, my credit is so screwed up. When I was 18, I didn’t know that was even in the realm of possibility. I just thought when I signed the forms that I would someday have a job that would pay the loans back, and ta-da! Life would be good. We shouldn’t be pushing those kinds of decisions on 18-year-olds just starting out their lives. Several of my friends are struggling still with loans they took out for school when they were 18. It’s wrong on so many levels.
    I think more on-the-job training is called for.

    • Brad says:

      Denise, I am completely against taking out loans for college. Don’t get yourself into hock for something you can get otherwise. Lots of ways to go to school much cheaper exist.

      I am also not a great fan of higher education for everyone, in many ways. I do teach at the college level and am pondering a PhD, but I would not recommend that for everyone and a PhD for me would more be about completing what I started when I dropped out years ago rather than because of its true value.

      But back to your situation. You have shown that going for school without a definite goal is not productive. Even then, it may not be the best way to reach your own personal goal.

      The kind of education I “push” is self-education. Spend hours in a library learning things that are useful and that interest you. Even the stuff you wasted so much money on could have been learned by reading on your own, though I tend to agree with the implication of your post that a lot of such things are a waste, since they don’t really work in the real world.

      Are you arguing that a company must be mandated (usually by government) to train you on the job? Or are you saying that a modern form of apprenticeship would be better for most people? The latter is something I definitely agree with, though many such opportunities exist if you are willing to work in addition to a “day job” or such.

      In fact, I am planning at working on some “unpaying” things this fall so I can build a name for myself in a given field. I am sure some here will still argue I have unfair advantages, but this is a conscious choice of my wife and I. Perhaps not the best “financial move,” but I believe it will focus me better on my currently chosen path.

      It will also be a lot more fun, at right now, that is what I need. But a large part of it will be learning, so I practice what I preach in this area at least.


  16. netta says:


    Denise, thanks so much for sharing your story. That’s exactly what I’m talking about. It’s not that people are stupid (you are evidently bright and articulate) or lazy.

    I have PhD in the School of Hard Knocks. Unfortunately, the pay scale sucks. Even with on-the-job training, the odds are still stacked against you.

    When I was 18, I didn’t have the option to go to college. I had to get a job, two actually, to support myself. I went to a rural high school, where the guidance counselors figured girls just get married and have babies.

    Every job I’ve had I’ve risen through the ranks by hard work, paying attention, and taking every free on-the-job class or seminar I could. At one point, I was employed by a satellite office of a major insurance company. By this time I was in my early thirties and sure that I’d finally found the job from which I would retire.

    I took all the classes, seminars, etc. and ended up as high as I could go on the food chain. I applied for Senior Approver seven times, and was turned down each time because although I had the knowledge, I didn’t have a degree.

    Then, they downsized and closed the office for economic reasons. I was back at square one.

    Of course, there’s a lot more to this story — throw in a bad marriage, a physical disability, three children, and various and sundry other Major Crisis (including a mother with terminal breast cancer) and here I am. No credit, no degree, but a stellar work ethic and the inability to quit.

    I’m a freelance writer with a novel in progress. I’ve educated myself on how to set up a website, write web copy, articles, essays, fiction, edit novels, social networking, SEO, etc. It’s difficult, but for one, I love it and for two, I find it unacceptable to put my fate in the hands of an employer.

    Do I struggle? Yes, every damned day. Do I work my ass off? Yes, every damned day. But, at least I love what I do and I’ve done it on my own. I can see hope for the future when my book is on every damned shelf of Barnes and Noble. And it will, because I won’t quit until it is.

    So, don’t tell me I’m lazy and I just need to try harder. Ever.

    And I’m one of the lucky ones. As bad as it is right now, at least I know I have the brain to make it better, if I keep going.

    • Brad says:

      So, don’t tell me I’m lazy and I just need to try harder. Ever.

      Are you really so perfect you never need motivation or slack off? I have yet to meet someone in that category, though perhaps you are the first. (Though I have seen some (not you) who claim that.) I think I understand your point and I never meant to label you with that here.

      As an aside, they say good software developers are lazy. They want to get the job done in the least amount of time so they can goof off more. Turning the desire to not work into a productive asset is important, at least there.

      That said, I think I see why you dislike what I write so much. You see me saying, “you’re lazy,” when I am not saying any such thing. A lot of people are lazy, myself included (at least at times). Anyone who watches 1 hour of TV has 1 hour to improve themselves.

      You don’t sound like you are in even that camp (though I have no idea if you are or not), but you don’t appear to have quit and accepted your lot in life.

      If you don’t trust others to make life work for you, why do you seem to insist that government makes life work for others? Isn’t that the essence of a “living wage” and other such ideas? Make an external party force business owners to make a way for those who work for them?

      I keep saying I won’t continue this….


  17. Ruan says:

    Here in South Africa we live on a lot less. There is a MASSIVE divide between rich and poor. Corrupt government officials hand out contracts worth 100’s of millions of rands to their friends who never gets anything done. And they get a commission for doing so.

    While the poorest people who believed their lies live on what the government can give them cause they have no skills – in the area of 1.4 dollar per day.

    And we have people DYING from hunger for cryin’ out loud.

    This is what really ticks me off about postings like this – you’re not grounded in reality man.

  18. Debbie says:

    I have to say that with me making $9.00 a hr. its extremely hard after my husband died. My car is my life line and work is two blocks away. When something breaks you have to give up something else. I had to turn off the gas when the water heater decided to up my bill triple from staying on high and you couldnt even shut it off! The gas company said to replace it~ A trailer heater is around $500. or turn off gas to heater which at this point I couldnt afford to pay the higher gas cost. I have a son 22 years that cant find a job. He has no deploma or GED and has tryed to get it but cant pass the test from being tested as being slow but cant get assisitance. So this is the break down: for 2 people to live on $9hr

    Health ins.$96 monthly only for myself
    rent $300 monthly for a trailer
    water $30 monthly average
    Electric $110 average monthly for the year
    Gas $110 average monthly for year (was)
    car ins. $60 monthly
    car gas $30 monthly
    phone $30 monthly
    internet $40 monthly
    food $400 monthly lowest-including dog
    food, cat food and soaps for
    laundry all things to keep you
    clean and your home clean.
    I Net $1200 monthly
    total $1206
    with no gas I would save about $100
    in the winter and $50 in summer.
    so I should have with out gas about
    $50 extra dollars.

    entertainment is internet and animals
    no cable
    no trailer insurance
    no food stamps (I make to much)
    My point is to go back to school to learn some other trade would be impossible.
    The cost of gas and ware on car
    what would that cost?
    even with loans and grants extra for school
    what would that cost?
    you would eat more to have energy since you are working and going to school
    what would that cost?
    Yes I could work somewhere else making $10 maybe even $12 a hr. But the car gas makes it to be the same amount I make now since the driving and ware on car costs triple if you have to drive 30 minutes.
    Sorry to poo-poo on others that think its easy to get ahead or move forward.
    May I invent something to get to a higher pay is the only thing I have been able to come up with! Any suggestions please let me know.

  19. Sonnie says:

    I’ve read through alot of the older post, and if I understand the basic starting intent of this, the thought is that minimum wage should have kept up with inflation so that those caught up in the minimum wage job cycle were more able to get buy. I read some comments on private investments for retirement securities vs SSI, and some interesting comments on cost assosiated with income that individuals have. I don’t think that there is any one answer to generate relief to these problems. I too have found myself makeing less than one third of my income, now that I’m un-employed. As far as planning, I may have not planned for this as well as i should have, but I’m here. I have been a plant manager or equal to for the last 15 years, started out on the floor in a large automotive supply company, and worked my way up. Took every improvement class i could, and was promoted continuously. I recently made a poor decision to transfer, or change jobs to better my home life as i was traveling 120 miles one way to be with my wife and childeren on the weekends, to a local less pay, job, that downsized me out 6 months after i took the position. Well, I have no Degree, have been recognized in severl automotive circles for outstanding results, such as doubling size’s of facilities, provideing jobs for local comunities, etc. Now I can’t find a job, minimum wage is less than Un-employment, and My less than adequate savings has been consumed. So now i have the 100k salary a year bills, with 15k a year income, do the math. I have networked, Job searched, and the majority of the states automotive supply companies are moveing the work elsewhere, Mexico, Tenn, Georgia etc. Im going on 90 days of un-employment, which by the way, is handled through a different state than MI, and May have an oportunity to reach %75 of my old income at a job, 150 miles away in about 30 more days. As far as SSI, I think the complexity of the government system to be controled by the guy who is working, does not take into consideration all the cost assosiated with SSI. Children of Deceast parants, disabilites, and it portion of medical care. simply allowing the average working guy, tends to leave out a few needs in the country that i think may suffer more than they do now otherwise. I agree that minimum wage should keep up with inflation, but i also think that we neglect to look at what cause’s inflation, rising in cost’s hence labor rates. I know in the automotive business i ran, that labor cost were not the largest portion of our cost, but as the labor rate goes up, so does the overhead that supports that labor, medical insurance, and other benifits. just increasing a number to meet another number thats growing seems kind of silly to me, find a way to stop, or decelerate inflation, not create was to afford it. Well i’m done ranting, Hope i have not offended anyone.

  20. sheila says:

    well i will tell you this i live in tn my husband make 12 dollars an hour and there are 4 of us . we struggle every week to make ends meet! i feel for anyone that is trying to survive on min wage..

  21. Alphacide says:

    If you save, invest and spend wisely. Its no problem at all. Perfect to support 1 person and a hobby or two. Its when you get more than one person it becomes hard.

  22. jose garmos says:

    If you save, invest, and spend wisely it is no problem at all, but a very difficult and miserble existence. I lived off of minimum wage for a year and half, from feb 08-september 09.
    For an entire year I lived off of an average of 500 dollars a month.Could you do this? From feb-september 08 I paid an average of 300 dollars a month for rent, so each month I had a slight surplus. However my entire savings were wiped out due to a family emergency, then wiped out again when I attempted to return to college. When returning I got a job that paid 500 dollars a month at best, and my rent was 400, along with gas each month I had zero surplus, actually I typically had to borrow 80 dollars each month from my father and pay him back a few weeks later, only to borrow it again. Living on so very little created a disaster of homelessness the moment an unexpected expense occured, for 2 weeks I was homeless at the age of 21 and then I gained another job,(2 jobs) and pulled myself out but sadly found myself in a similar predicament. I found a new place for 400 dollars a month, yet each month I had little to nor surplus due to my such low income. Just imagine living off of 500 dollars a month. I was invaribly hungry, in some periods I would go a week without eating, 2 weeks barely eating. I could never get food stamps because the unethical assholes I lived with wouldn’t admit I lived with them(tax evaders). No pleasures or neccesities outside of gas or minor food purchases.
    Then I became homeless again when my temp. job ended for a week, then I lived with my parents for a month and in the first week got another job(minimum wage of course) along with working one day per hour week at a location 90 minutes away. Which was necessary even thou it cost almost 100 dollars in gas to drive there, it was still 200 dollars after cost. So anyways from that period until a few weeks ago, I lived on 900 a month. 400 for rent, 100 for utilities, 30 dollars for my phone, 100 for gas, 100 for food,20 for tobacco. That’s it, so I surplused 200 each month or intended to. However each month I’ve had to pay for expenses for my car, education, et cetra. Now I got another job, paying 12.25 an hour, more like 10.50 because it’s an education job(salary,-holidays) so with this job I’ll net 300 for the next few months, as now I’m paying back 100 dollar per month debt to my father and now I’m paying for car insurance/internet at 20 dollars a month. In january I’ll be netting 400 each month . That’s 400 dollars surplus from a 1200(after tax) dollar per month salary. To me this an enormous number, to me an additonal 400 dollars is wealth. I feel rich. hahaha
    I went on a shopping spree last week, buying lots of food! Now I can finally eat. And discretionary purchases were kitchen supplies,. And remember this no new clothing,no improvements, no impulse buys even if it a measly 50 cents, no extraneous purchases on the neccisites. Want text messaging for an extra 5 dollars a month, nope. Want hunts ketchup for an extra 30 cents, nope? None whatsoever, only the absolute bare necessities. It’s this mindset of frugality that will lead you to a lifestyle without tenous danger, without being on the absolute edge. ANother person said she had pets, huge waste of money. Health insurance, are you on crack? Credit cards, nope? If you owe any debt, don’t pay it> I owe over 10,000, it’s called bankruptcy. Pay 1,000 at the most for an attorney or use your brain and file yourself, ironically I worked at a bankruptcy law firm while homeless and in debt.
    I know a woman who has a degree in political science. I know another woman who is licensed to practice law in two states; another friend has multiple degrees. Still another has a degree in anthropology. They are all struggling.
    First off I believe you should pick which ever degree is of your impassioned disposition; not one based on salary. As any college degree(bachlors) provides a solid standard of living,(compare me 14,400 with +400 monthly to 30,000 minimal) and what’s the point of living if you’re miserable. If I can rise out of homelessness and a few months later make 12 dollars an hour without even a high school degree, while obtaining a job in the field I’m going to college for while the same peers I go to school with intern there, than anyone can easily rise above me with a bachlor’s degree, more experience and the age advantage.
    I did it by utilizing persuasion, dedication and intelligence. Instead of moping over the poor unemployment in my region I moved to the county with the lowest unemployment in my state and used an excellent cover letter(5) catered to different industries with basic sales skills during the interview process to gain a job(I still work 2). At the age of 21 I was getting 1-3 interviews a week, I’ve turned down jobs the past few weeks. So if you’re poor be extermely frugal and waste nothing and continue to try and you’ll prevail regardless of the current state.

  23. jose garmos says:

    1500 at most for chapter seven bankruptcies, it’s actually a very easy process and tends to be straightforward. Also if you are truly “struggling” you can discharge your student loans under the reason of hardship. And finally if you are homeless or facing homlessness then you can apply for the homeless prevention fund created by the stimulus acts, over 4 billion dollars doled out to the states! 4 billion!

  24. ironspade says:

    I would argue that the minimum wage in this country is a joke, however any attempt to raise it just drives up the cost to live. And like another poster said, he would not hire as many workers for a higher wage. And what insentive is there to lower the wage when there are so many people willing to work for it as it goes against the economic laws of supply and demand. But some people do get by on close to minimum wage at 10 to 12 an hour, and they are the mexicans. With the increase of mexican immigrants we had a huge supply of low skilled workers and they are willing to do the work because they all live clustered in one place to mimimize their living expenses. The american culture is to be independent and move out from parents home, but how realistic is that now and days, and a lot of people were doing it on false credit and it was all a scam perpetrated on the American people. I dont feel that there should be a livable minimum wage but I would like it to be increased to at least 10 an hour but that would only be accomplished if the people at the top are making less. If any politician talks about having a livable min wage, do not elect them because that is a corrupt politician.

  25. aua868s says:

    i was able to live off minimum wages for a few months when i was a student…but cannot imagine living off it today.

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