I was just reading an article and it basically gave the difference in wages and a few other things from the 50’s and compared them to todays prices. According to this article minimum wage was .75/hr. That works out to roughly $125/month before taxes. Average rent was $45. In my state, todays minimum wage is $9.04/hr which works out to $1500/ IF you are working full-time. Most employers around here are not hiring for full-time because then they also have to provide health insurance. Average rent for a 2 bed/1 bath apartment is $850. A 3 bed/2 bath apartment jumps to $1200. That’s not anything special either! Neither of those would include a pool or any other special amenities. Sometimes they don’t even have a washer and dryer. I live in a moderate sized county in the Pacific Northwest corner of the United States. We have a University with enrollment of almost 15,000 students. We also have a Community College and a Technical College. The 1 bed/1 bath apartments around the university rent for at least $600 a month.
I am currently working 2 jobs making just over minimum wage at both jobs. I work 6 days a week, almost 50 hours a week. I am living with family trying to save up enough to get a small 2 bed/1 bath apartment. One of my jobs will be offering me health insurance after the first of the year. I currently spend almost $200/month in gas for “The Beast”. Hopefully that will go down very soon (like possibly tomorrow!!!) when I get a different vehicle. The apartment I’m looking at right now is a very small 2 bdrm/1 bath for $655/month and it doesn’t have a washer/dryer so I’ll have to add quarters for laundry into my budget. After rent, phone, power, gas and food are paid for, I’ll be left with about $200 a month. That doesn’t include vehicle insurance (which is required in my state) or any medical bills not covered by insurance. That doesn’t include any of the millions of things the school convinces my child she must purchase.
The point of this whole post is that I don’t understand just who these people are talking to when they think that “being broke” means you have only have $500 a month to spend on food? Seriously? I’m lucky if I have half that amount! It would be nice if someone actually wrote articles that more accurately portray the low-income/working class lifestyle.