I’m jumping on the blogging bandwagon of “could we live on minimum wage?” that I came across when reading Fabulously Broke in the City! Who got it from Michelle at Making Sense of Cents, who got it from…the list goes on.
I wondered if we could do this. Now, to really be honest, we could not both work with two kids who need FT supervision (one child is about to be born, and one is 2) – there’s no way to afford daycare on min wage. However, I’m assuming that we would find a way for one person to watch the kids while the other worked, and then when that person came home the other would go to work. Split shifts, as it were. I have a friend whose husband works from 4am until 1pm, and she works as a waitress at night – so I’d assume for this purpose we’d utilize that type of schedule.
Just figuring the hours that we’d have to work, not even including sleep, is making me twitchy! If one person worked from 4am until 1pm, then the next person left to work 3pm until 12am, there would be literally no sleep for either of us with a toddler and a newborn, considering how often kids get up at those ages (infant = up every 2 hours). YoWza.
Ok, still going on this premise of assuming that my husband and I would survive on literally no sleep, here is where our moolah would be.
$7.25/hr x 40 week x 52 weeks year x 2 people = $30,160
Minus 10% taxes = $2,262 per month take home (assuming lower taxes because of kids)
$1100 mortgage, home insurance, and prop taxes (2 bed/1 bath townhouse that we already own)
$100 utilities (hopefully we could keep it that low, I’m not sure what the current utility average is)
$370 health insurance for family (catastrophic health insurance)
$92 car insurance
$60 2 phones (would probably try to unlock my iPhone and get Virgin mobiles prepaid plan, and then have a cheaper prepaid phone as well, or a landline. Or a magic jack.)
$390 groceries/diapers/household needs
Living on min wage with kids is impossible, from a simple sleep standpoint. No one could live on that little sleep – at least I don’t think they could. It took 18 months for us to finally get our son to the point that we could sometimes get 8 uninterrupted hours of sleep. With an infant waking every 2 hours and a very active toddler, I doubt that either of us would get more than 2-4 unconsecutive hours of sleep a day. I think it would actually be healthier for one person to work 2 min wage jobs rather than to split shift like that.
If we don’t think about that, then from a money standpoint – yeah sure I guess it could be done. I think there’s an expense I’m missing but can’t think of. I think my estimation of utilities is too low. I just calculated how much it would cost for two of us to take the bus to work ($2.50 each way, $10 per day for both of us to take the bus to and from work, $300 a month) and it’s actually cheaper to share the 1 car and drive.
Also, if we made min wage, we’d qualify for state health insurance for the kids (saving $150), and would also be eligible for WIC. We’d also be eligible for food stamps as well, so that might help out on costs of food and such.
What could we do to help the situation (while staying within the parameters of making min wage?
-get a job at a place with a grocery discount
-work in restaurant/food service where they feed you (or at a place that throws away food at the end of the night that you can take home)
-work somewhere with employer paid health insurance (that would be huge)
-work somewhere with employer cell phone/utility discounts
-work somewhere with employer subsidized transportation (bus pass or carpool share)
-utilize DSHS child care subsidy programs to get some childcare help
What do you think? Could you do it?