Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Can you Live on Minimum Wage?

Some provinces in Canada have recently upped their minimum wage to the enjoyment of many and the frustration of others, like myself, that just wants the cost of living to go down rather than to increase the minimum wage but I digress as the subject of today is "Can you live on minimum wage?"

I believe it's possible to live on minimum wage but it depends on a few factors. Namely:

  • Where do you live? If you live in New-York, there's no way you can live, with any sort of comfort, on minimum wage but if you live in an unknown town then you might just be able to. Where I grew up, for example, it's possible to find a decent house for 50k with monthly payments that could be manageable on minimum wage.
  • Do you have debts? Debt is like a vampire sucking the money out of your wallet. Depending on the amount you ow, it may not be possible for you to live on minimum wage until you clear out that debt or declare bankruptcy.
  • Do you require a car? Cars are money pits and whether or not you require one can determine if you can live on minimum wage. My first car was a 15 year old Honda Accord that my dad got for me for 500$. I drove the thing for a few months until it died and after that I started walking to my, close to minimum wage, job (total of 4 hours a day) in a city that I couldn't afford owning a car and pay rent, at the same time, on minimum wage. 
  • What's your relationship/family status? Are you single? Do you have kids? Is your spouse working? All these are factors on whether or not you can live on minimum wage. 
  • Are you disciplined with money? Being able to stick to a budget is critical regardless of the amount of money you earn but it's even more so when you have only a few dollars to spend every month. Are you able to say no to yourself and live on the bare minimum?
  • Can you live with someone else? If you're able to have roommate then that can help with some of the financial struggles from working minimum wage.
While I believe it's possible to live on minimum wage I don't believe you can thrive on it as you require money to make money. You require money to gain more skills, to invest, to save, to build something for yourself and the less money you earn the more you mind needs to be focused on it which takes the focus away from planning your future. Given the choice, I doubt people would choose to work on minimum wage as it's definitely not an ideal place to be.

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