8 Challenges People Faced Trying To Live On a Minimum Wage Budget For A Week
Members of Congress and thousands of paycheck fairness advocates across the country wrapped up the “Live The Wage” challenge yesterday, after working to live on a minimum wage budget for a week. On just $77, these leaders hoped to gain just a small understanding of the challenges and decisions faced by minimum wage workers every day. Earning just $7.25 an hour, the average full time minimum wage worker struggles to survive on only $77 a week after paying taxes and housing expenses.
We’ve rounded up 8 examples of the challenges they faced. While they pale in comparison to the challenges that low-wage workers face every day, they provide a glimpse of why we need to raise the minimum wage so that hardworking Americans can make ends meet.
1. Everything needs to be planned. There’s absolutely no room for spontaneity on a minimum wage budget.
2. Transportation really cuts into a budget. The price of gas and even public transportation quickly adds up.
3. Medical costs can easily destroy a budget.
4. There’s little to no room for any other expenses. Standard expenses like home costs and school supplies just don’t fit in.
5. It’s pretty much impossible to save on just $77 per week. And the understanding that having savings is key in case of an emergency.
6. It’s hard to eat healthy on a minimum wage budget. The fast food dollar menu is sometimes a more affordable alternative to fresh fruits and vegetables.
7. This is a reality everyday for millions of people. Women and families have it especially hard.
8. An appreciation for the challenges low-wage workers face. And, accompanying that, a desire to see more elected officials share the experience and vote to raise the minimum wage.
BOTTOM LINE: If some elected officials do not believe hardworking Americans deserve a raise, then we challenge them to do what leaders and advocates around the country did last week and live the wage. American need leaders who take the side of working people, not just the wealthy. A higher minimum wage would help working families and help the economy.