19 July 2020

A Typical Budget For A Full Time Minimum Wage Worker In Denver, Colorado

In 2013, McDonalds and Visa got together to present minimum wage workers at McDonalds working at $8.25 per hour with the following grossly unrealistic budget plan (including a second job requiring them to work a total of 12.5 hours a day).
Image may contain: text that says 'Sample Monthly Budget Monthly Net Income Income (1st job) $ LIOS Income (2nd job) 955 Other Income 0 Monthly Net Income Total $ 2,060 Monthly Expenses Savings 100 Mortgage/Rent 600 Car 150 Car/Home Insurance 100 Health Insurance 20 Heating Cable/Phone 100 Electric Other 100 Monthly Expenses Total 1,260 Monthly Spending Money 800 (Monthly Net Income Total minus Monthly Expenses Total) Daily Spending Money Goal. 27 (Monthly Spending Money divided 30)° *the averageo 30 days month to simplify your budget English|'

What does the monthly budget for a typical person working full time at minimum wage in Colorado really look like in 2020?

Monthly Net Income

Primary job: $1668 ($11.10 per hour, not quite 35 hours so not entitled to benefits).

Second job: $336 (additional 7 hours at minimum wage, so working 40 hours per week).

Less FICA taxes $153 
Less Denver head taxes $12 
Less Income tax withholding $0 (Federal and state income taxes are typically zero, or almost zero, for a full-time minimum wage worker)

Total monthly net income: $1839

Monthly Expenses 

Rent: $917 (half of median two bedroom rent; 49.5% of income; you need a roommate to split rent; you can't afford to rent your own apartment by yourself)
Heat and electricity: $120 (half of average heat and electric bill for a rental household) 
Out of Pocket Health Care Costs: $17 (the average Colorado out of pockets health care cost for a family in Colorado is $66.67 per month, divided by four) 
Haircuts $15
Savings/student loans/other debt payments $25 (while few minimum wage workers are college graduates, a significant number incurred some student loan debt before dropping out, or have other debts of some kind, those that don't could save up to $300 per year for an emergency fund to cover expenses not in the monthly budget)
Clothing, entertainment and other $29 (the average person spends $161 per month on clothing; but on minimum wage, you are pretty much limited to thrift store clothing).

Total monthly expenses: $1839

You can't work just one job.

You need 40 hours a week of minimum wage employment to cover even your most basic needs if your employer won't employ you full time in order to avoid having to provide benefits.

You can't afford a car.

You can't afford a car, which would cost $709 per month ($595 more than a bus pass).

Gasoline and oil changes $171 ($2.50 per gallon, 20 mpg average, 15,000 miles per year, five oil changes per year at $40 each)

Even if you owned the car debt-free you couldn't afford a car.

You can't afford to have a child.

You can't afford to have a child by working full-time at minimum wage without welfare assistance or child support. This would cost, for a four year old in day car full time while you are at work: $1,107 per month for child care, food and health care alone. 

Child care $717
Additional food expenses for child $200 (80% of worker person)
Additional health care expenses for child $190 (same as for worker for insurance and out of pocket expenses).

Even if family provided child care for free while you worked, you couldn't afford to have a child.

(All dollar amounts are rounded to the nearest dollar in each line.)

1 comment:

Guy said...


But not unexpected. I think it better makes case for more income redistribution rather than a higher minimum wage.