That's our point, we have. At least I have. I don't have to anymore so I'm not going to.
As for your wife, before she gets TOO mad, here is the original question once again and keep in mind it was posed by a young, single male
|Originally posted by vega:|
Now this is my proposed goal lets come up with a list- (MN area seeing this can be sorta area specific)
of logical amount for one to live upon. Now there is food of coruse then there is car insurance- and gas as well. Then there is rent - and utilities- and cable weather it be tv or internet or a mix. Ect. what does the bare minimume REALLY add up to? 1000? 1200? how much a month.
Nobody's talking about feeding, clothing, schooling, etc. a family of four. That hasn't been the discussion. Read the question again then put the anger away for a moment and think it through. You are a young, single person working at a minimum wage job. In Washington, that's about $7.50/hour, 40 hour weeks, 52 weeks per year. That totals about $1300/mo. Taxes and other mandatory witholdings out of that will not amount to more than about $200 so that's a net of about $1,100 per month.
Decent health insurance for a male that age is going to cost about $100/month. Maybe a little more, maybe a little less, but that's going to be close. At least that's what it would cost ME to insure an early 20's something single male through my insurance. Now we're down to $1,000/mo.
Groceries for one person if they shop wisely should not cost more than $100/mo, but let's say it's $150/mo so we're down to $850. Car insurance on a Fiero type car will depend on driving record but if you have a good record no more than $400/year so that's about $35/mo. Figure 25 mpg and 300 miles per month (let's not get into that again, of course it will vary) will be about $35/mo. Add another $25/mo for routine maintenance (oil changes, etc.). Clothing, I don't spend $500/year on clothes and I'm hard on them but it's mostly jeans and T's, but that's about $40/mo. Since you're probably going to be renting you need renters insurance for your stuff (not required, but wise to have) for another $30 or so per month.
Add all this stuff up and we have $315 including the food so we're down to about $685/mo to pay for a place to live and utilities. Phone should not cost more than $25/mo. I don't know what the utilities are like out there, but I know what it costs here and you can definitely pay your gas/electric/sewer/trash/etc. for $150/mo. So we're down to about $500/month left to find a place to live. Most likely, if you're working minimum wage, you're either living with your parents or a room mate so the two of you should have about $1,000 left to spend on an apartment and as I've posted in the past, you can find some apartments in the Seattle area, at least, for $600 or $300 apiece.
Now I grant you that's not any cushion or margin for the inevitable things that come and bite you in the butt. But that's not the question. Again, the question is "what does the bare minimume REALLY add up to?" (sic)
Don't confuse running the numbers and making a determination to be lacking in empathy. Don and I have both BTDT and we're not saying it's easy, fun, or that's how we want anyone to live. What I'm saying is that it's POSSIBLE to live, nothing more.
I've looked over your list, and Don's as well. It appears that the prices for NECESSITIES isn't that widely variable from KS, to TX, to WA, at least to me. Basic foods are all about the same. Mine are actually higher, but remember that some of the ones I listed are for name brands, like Minute Maid. That I had to take from the paper because I really don't drink juice in the mornings, too much acid to go with my coffee. Folger's coffee isn't cheap either. Many of the other things like the hamburger are the higher priced varieties because, to be honest, I don't buy my meat that way, I get a calf and hog butchered and put it in the freezer, so I don't shop for meat like many people do, but I priced it across the meat counter from ads so they are actually, probably, a little on the high side.
I printed out Don's list and you guys' and have them in front of me side by side with mine. They are surprisingly close.
I actually thought about putting them in a spreadsheet and figuring the variance on them, and if we get more people to compare prices with I will, but for just the three sets of numbers it's not very meaningful, BUT:
Campbells soup, 79 to 55 cents per can. Mine was cheapest but I doubt the other two bought them on a "3 for" sale like I did on my receipt
Sugar, 1.88 to .88 cents per bag, with yours the cheapest (must have been a good sale)
Milk all within pennies per gallon
Eggs, same thing per dozen
Hamburger, you wer cheapest again by 50 cents per lb, again must have been a good sale
I can go on, but the prices you guys are paying are either cheaper (probably because as your wife pointed out, she's a very good shopper as opposed to being just a buyer) or within pennies of the things on the list.
We've had people move here to the country from Denver, KC, and other metro areas and the common complaint is that "groceries and stuff are pretty expensive out here" and they are, because we don't have NEARLY the competition in our area. We have Dillons (Krogers), a couple of Food 4 Less (and one of them recently closed), Wal Mart super centers, and then smaller town grocers. The small town grocers are more expensive because they don't do the volume, but their meat and produce is generally better.
So far, I don't see that the NECESSITIES of life are any more expensive there than here in KS or TX. If you have any specific examples in mind, then we should add them to the list and compare those prices as well (not including rent, which we all realize IS most definitely more expensive in your area and other areas).
If the discussion offended you or your wife, it wasn't meant to. Nobody is disrespecting you guys or saying that minimum wage is enough for a family of four to be satisfied with or even be able to exist on, that's not the discussion and that's a point we all agree on. This is a good discussion, I hear over and over again that some areas are just SOOO expensive and I've wondered in what way? (other than housing) Maybe I'll find out.
|Originally posted by GDS-1:|
ok, if you guys are so adamant in your views, time to put your money where your mouth is:
Make up your list...and live off of it for SIX months.
P.S. To be honest when my wife saw this thread and she got hot! Matter of fact here she is:
I don't see how anyone can say that they can live off minimum wage and support a family of 4, with no help from the state, family, friends, etc.....
By no means are we living extravagantly....matter of fact most of the time we spend less on certain things than even the State says is minimum. Example: I spend typically $200 a month on groceries to feed 2 adults and 2 growing boys, yet the State of Washington says the amount a family of 4 should be using for groceries each month is $476.
Thes apts that were listed earlier in the thread...just because as ad sounds nice, doesn't mean it is. If you aren't from here or hell even from Seattle, you have no clue what things go for or what condition thigns are in. Ever hear of deceptive advertising? One of the ads that was posted was for a studio apt including kitchen and bathroom, it was 200 square feet. Now I don't know about you but I can't see raising my family in 200 sq ft. That is about the size of my living room. The 800 sq ft apartment we used to live in, surrounded by druggies, shootings, cop calls and the likes now rents for almost $600 a month, no amenities.
YOu see it as work ethic, I see it as doing what is necessary to provide for family. Yes, my husband has a decent job and we live alright but that's it. He drives 58 miles day so we can live "alright". And honestly, it wasn't really a choice...I mean yeah, he could have chose not to take the job and we could try to live off the system but really, that just isn't an option either one of us wanted to take. I provide childcare right now to help make ends meet as well as do occasional work for my dad's maintenance business. Even then, things are tight and not always by choice. My kids go without alot, and I am not talking toys and candy...I'm talking waiting to get that new pair of shoes, walking around in old jeans because we just can't get new ones right now.....
I'll break it down for you...minimum wage aftrer taxes for a month would be $1074.30, providing you work 40 hours. Let's use the ratty apt we used to live in as example: $600 for rent leaves 474.30. Average $70 for electricity leaves 404.30. Then you have the the $150 a month for laundry since the apts have no w/d for free, that leave 254.30. Basic phone is about $30 so that's 224.30. Basic cable just to have some sort of picture is another $30 so that leaves 194.30. Let's figure $20 a week for gas as the bus doesn't run early enough for my husband to take it to work so that's 114.30 left. Now, let's go get those $200 worth of groceries for the month and I am now in the hole 85.70. I haven't paid car insurance, bought toiletries or put gas in my car.
Just something to think about....