Anonymous asked in Business & FinanceOther - Business & Finance · 9 years ago

How hard is it to live on minimum wage?

Everyone I know keeps telling me I need "college", or else I'll end up on minimum wage. I'm constantly fighting with my parents about this. They keep telling me I'll be in "a constant cycle of poverty". I mean, how hard can it be really? I believe that in America, nothing is impossible.

11 Answers

  • 9 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Minimum wage is different from state to state. But, usually the cost of living there is higher in states where the min. wage is higher. They are directly proportional. So, I'm in Louisiana, so I'll give you examples for that. Here the min. wage is 7.25. That means if I'm lucky enough to get a job that has me work 40 hour weeks (that's 8 hours a day, with 2 days off) my gross income is 290$. But I don't get all of that. My employer takes out state & federal and medicaid. That's roughly another 70$ that I DON'T get. So, my net income is about 220$ a week, or 880$ a month. Now... to LIVE. Rent for a 1 bedroom apt is about 350$. Lights about 70$. Gas about 50$. Water another 40$. That leaves 370$ for the month. But wait. We haven't eaten anything yet! Even the pickest eater is going to need at least 50$ a week for food! So, we have 170$ at the end of the month that we haven't spent. But there's always emergencies! How are you getting back and forth to work? Do you have a car? If so, then there's insurance that about 50$ a month. Want internet? Want cable? That's another 100$. What happens if you tear a hole in your jeans? You need a new pair of pants! What happens if your filling falls out? You need a dentist?

    My point is that your parent's are right. It's IS possible. But it isn't fun. You need something that makes life more than survival. Putting in the effort up front, gives a big payoff after graduation. I know. That's just more of the same that you've always heard. But you've always heard it for a reason. It's the truth. So bite the bullet. get to it. That way, you'll have pretty teeth and nice pants for the rest of your life. You DO want nice pants, don't cha?

    Source(s): If you like this, give it a best answer!
  • seals
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    Living Off Of Minimum Wage

  • Anonymous
    4 years ago


    Source(s): Survival Methods
  • Fred
    Lv 5
    9 years ago

    You should move to Santa Fe.

    $10.29 in Santa Fe since 3/1/2012.(Santa Fe has the highest minimum wage in the United States)

    Nat USA min 7.25 times 40 hours = $290 per week Gross minus various deductions.

    If not college, Something to make you special.

    Are you undocumented? No I thought not.

    What does an apartment cost where you will be live?

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  • 9 years ago

    It is IMPOSSIBLE to live on your own without having a college degree or a wildly unique and in demand skill (which you will still need to be certified for, so that means going to college).

    Imagine this 8.25/hr (if you are lucky) and at 40 hours a week (if you are lucky enough to get a full time job, which you won't with no skills) is only $330 a week BEFORE taxes. Most apartments are at least $600 a month on the low end, so that is half of your salary gone right there on rent, then you have to pay ulilities (-$50-100 bucks a month), gas ($100 a month at least) and food ($150 a month if you buy your own groceries and cook all your own meals.

    So now your $1200 a month is down to $250 dollars a month or about $62 a week in expendable cash-this does not include buying health insurance, which you will not be able to afford.

    Been working on my PhD for years, taking odd jobs combined with some professional work and barely scraping by has sucked. Now that I finally have my degree and real job prospects I will be OK, but it BLOWS having to rely on a mate or a parent when you have a financial emergency you need to be bailed out of (car breaking down, medical emergencies, etc.)

    Source(s): Finally leaving the minimum wage world behind! My years of college have paid off, now I will make more than both of my parents combined and they have college degrees.
  • Cal
    Lv 5
    9 years ago

    It's a lie to say that everyone ends up on minimum wage. Your parents want the best for you and college obviously makes things much easier.

    But when people say "without college you'll end up on minimum wage" it's because they are looking at those who work minimum wage at 40 years old that didn't go to college and they just assume that the reason they are making minimum wage is because of that. They fail to look at other possible reasons, such as "Hey maybe this person is just not very intelligent or motivated in life and simply settled at minimum wage, and maybe that's one of the reasons they didn't go to college as well".

    Intelligent or motivated people can make more than minimum wage without college. As an example, I'm not a super motivated or intelligent person. I think I'm kind of average and can be lazy sometimes. But I'm not totally unmotivated and I'm not stupid. I didn't go to college. After high school I worked a few minimum wage jobs in Florida and moved to Pennsylvania at 20, I worked for the U.S. Postal Service from 20-23 and made twice what the minimum wage was in that state, and then moved to California and worked shipping and receiving jobs and mail room jobs for various internet companies and law firms, and made between $13-$17 on these jobs where the minimum wage was around $7.25-$7.50 at the time. Majority of my coworkers on all of these jobs didn't go to college either.

    So obviously not everybody who doesn't go to college makes minimum wage. Postal workers don't make minimum wage, construction workers, shipping clerks, call center agents, secretaries, none of these people make minimum wage and these jobs usually don't require college.

    I now live in Thailand and make money from my various websites that I update every few weeks. I don't work most days simply because I'm lazy and don't make much (about what I'd be making in the states on minimum wage) but I live comfortably where the cost of living is much cheaper than in the U.S and I have my own place, enough money to travel around and do stuff on the weekends and what not.

    So it all depends on you as an individual. Sometimes dumb and lazy people are too sure of themselves and think they can make it without college and find out the hard way that they can't. But I'd say your average person who doesn't go to college does not make minimum wage, but still considerably less than a person who went to college. But it all depends on where you live (In Florida it was much harder to find any jobs that weren't minimum wage as opposed to California for example, and in Thailand the money one would make from minimum wage in the U.S. goes a very long way).

    It's not easy but obviously not impossible. If I had to measure "how hard can it be really", then I'd say that for your average person in a state where the minimum wage is $7 and where the job scene is good, then making $9-$12 an hour shouldn't be that hard. Making $13-$17 an hour will be hard for your average person. Making $16 or more will be damn near impossible for anyone without college and only a small percentage without college (maybe 10% or less) will be smart enough and motivated enough to make that amount.

    If you're not very intelligent then it's much easier to succeed with a college degree, let's put it that way.

  • ?
    Lv 6
    9 years ago

    You're able to live on your own. But you'll have a hard time paying bills. And even if you could afford the bills, you wouldn't be able to afford entertainment. It's really hard to live on minimum wage. At my job, people are constantly asking for more hours. If anyway was giving away their swift, there's a line of people willing to take it. I can't afford my own apartment. Even if I could, I can't pay off the bills. Which is why I'm going to college.

  • 9 years ago

    The saddest thing is to see poor 50 year olds still working fast food or retail.

    You simply can never escape the nightmare.

  • Rob
    Lv 7
    9 years ago

    sorry parents are correct .

    minimum wages are just that.

    one misstep above homeless on

    street living.

    as for college , it is bovine manure.

    many careers do not need 4yr degrees.

    they do require training that is not in


    visit for info on many


    Source(s): employer of debtor grads
  • Anonymous
    9 years ago

    just go to college, so you can get a good job...

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