Skip to comments.Politicians Canít Make it on Minimum Wage, But We Did
Posted on 07/31/2014 8:37:10 AM PDT by Diana in Wisconsin
LIVE THE WAGE: Politicians cant seem to figure out how to live on $77 a week could you?
In an effort to gain sympathy for raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, numerous politicians accepted a challenge to Live the Wage. To no ones surprise, they couldnt do it.
They were going to live for a week on $77 because thats all that the challenge sponsors say a full-time worker earning minimum wage makes, after average taxes and housing expenses are deducted, of course.
But then, they werent supposed to be able to get by on that amount. That was the point, as the challenge is designed with failure as the goal.
Former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland gave up. He started on a Sunday, but ran out of money by Thursday, he explained in a column for Politico. He said he skipped meals to save money and ate smaller and less healthy meals.
Because fresh fruits and vegetables are hard to find at a price within a minimum wage budget, I turned to bread, peanut butter, bananas and bologna more than anything else, he wrote. That was what I could find when I took this budget to the grocery story last Sunday. And thats why I ate lunch from the McDonalds dollar menu.
Perhaps what this challenge really proves is that too many politicians have no clue how to plan and live within a budget. But then, one look at the federal deficit tells us that and without all the publicity and hype of them failing to Live the Wage.
She posts her receipts and menu ideas in the article, too.
She did a great job and proves that it can be done and fairly easily. All you need is a little bit of ingenuity and persistence. If you put your mind to it, you can achieve almost anything.
Seeing what she and her husband did makes me want to take on the challenge, too. Pretty sure we could do it!
If they can buy seeds and plants for gardening with food stamps, they can damn sure buy them on minimum wage. Learning some simple skills like canning and dehydrating also help stretch every buck.
Of course the headline implies they were trying to live on 77 bucks rather than feed themselves on 77 bucks.
A few other tips.
She could probably have saved 30% or more by shopping at Aldi’s.
The public library has movies for free.
I haven’t bought any shirts or pants from a retail store for five years. I hit the Salvation Army once a week on the 50% off day and see what they’ve got in my size that’s any good. I have a very extensive wardrobe now of business casual shirts, most of which would cost $50 to $100 retail. I paid $2 to $3 each. Also found amazing buys on linens, cutlery, cookware, etc. The key is to hit the store regularly.
Admittedly the SA bit isn’t for everybody, as what I’ve done is trade time for money.
When I was a broke college student, I had the following very short grocery list:
jarred tomato sauce
cheese food “singles”
Carnival hot dogs (59 cents a pound)
Cheapo bologna (99 cents a pound)
With just those ingredients and a toaster oven and a hot plate, I was able to have a surprisingly varied menu for not much money, without having to spend a lot of prep time cooking.
When I was in college I used to live on
Peanut Butter and Jelly.
Sometimes one turkey per month (you can make a surprising number of meals for nearly a month from one turkey, including soup from the bones)
Your food choices (by necessity, of course) are simply not very healthy. Lots of processed foods, I’m afraid. Yeah, you can live on this stuff but who calls that living?!
I just realized, I ALREADY do this. I go shopping about once a month for my family of 4 and I spend about $300
I buy actual ingredients- not pre-made and boxed foods
3 dozen eggs, some peanut butter, milk, cheese, hamburger or ground turkey, onions, green peppers, canned tomatoes, a couple of chickens... heck I even get some steaks some times.
when you blow more than $77 a day on restaurants it seems like a tiny little amount of money. They should be forced to live on it for a month or two. for just a little more ($500) I would even get the occasional lobster
No need to apologize for clothes shopping at thrift stores. I do that from time to time; people give away T-shirts that are just fine. I snap ‘em up for two bucks and nobody’s the wiser.
FWIW, I can’t believe that somebody would give away a perfectly good official ABC “300 Bowler” shirt. I didn’t pick that one up as I would have some explaining to do.
I get almost ALL my clothing at thrift stores.. I likely always will. Sure i could afford new stuff but after I wear it it’s used right?
I do draw the line at drawers and socks. those I buy new.
Only problem lately is the thrift stores are raising prices to that of walmart.
Yard sales are still the bomb pricing wise.
My real point was that if you don’t have a lot of money for food you have to eat a lot of processed food - even the menus included in this article had some. And Tuna Cassarole! I’d rather die!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
“Only problem lately is the thrift stores are raising prices to that of walmart.
Yard sales are still the bomb pricing wise.”
I have for years purchased at yard sales and estate sales. Had 3 consignment booths and what I did not use or got tired of I resold and made money doing it. Especially on antiques and collectibles. What people don’t know can make you money.
The interesting part is $77/week AFTER housing. If you make minimum wage, you don’t get to live by yourself - you live with a spouse, parents, roommate.
At $290/week full time, that’s 1200/month. We’ll say 1000 after Social Security and Fica. They are assuming you’re spending $700 a month on housing, which is insane if you have 1000 take home.
Take that $700/month apartment and share it with one or two roommates or move in with a relative in a 800/month house for $400/month rent and utility share.
Their mistake is assuming a person making minimum wage has a non-efficiency apartment to themselves.
And not getting EITC, SNAP and other benefits many of them get.
Perhaps what this challenge really proves is that too many politicians have no clue how to plan and live within a budget.
Bingo. Most of us who live in the real world could make it work.
“.......too many politicians have no clue how to plan and live within a budget”..
Ask yourself why should they, most have never held real jobs, have lived off the tax payers for years, etc. Most of them have NO CLUE is correct.
Well, some food is more processed than others. Packaged ground beef is more “processed” than a freshly slaughtered steak. Even store milk is “processed”. That’s a far cry from the Totino’s frozen pizza and the Carnation Instant Breakfast.
I buy nearly all of my clothes second hand, save for underwear, socks and shoes (hard to fit feet, dammit!) But, even then, if they’re NEW I make the occasional exception.
I once worked with a woman that was married to a very wealthy man. She never ONCE wore the same outfit twice in the five years I knew her. Never! And she wasn’t mixin’ it up to make new outfits, either. EVERY piece was new, every day!
Now, if she had just invested that extensive, ‘Wardrobe Allowance’ in a solid Mutual Fund she’d have had PLENTY of money when her husband traded her in for a Newer Model. ;)
Who earns $77 in a 40 hour work week?
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