Saving On Minimum Wage

by Andy Hough on October 13, 2007

Recently there have been several PF blog posts focusing on the minimum wage and the thought that most PF blogs are out of touch with the minimum wage earner.  Since I earn the minimum wage I’m going to share my thoughts on this subject.

I earn the MO minimum wage of $6.50 per hour.  I do also receive tips and supplement my income with other sources so overall I make more than the minimum wage.  However I didn’t work the first three months of the year and I usually work less than 40 hours so my annual income will be close to that of a full-time minimum wage worker.

I do believe it is possible to get ahead on minimum wage although ideally you would seek a job earning more income as soon as possible.  My current job is delivering pizza and my restaurant has never been fully staffed.  Every city I’ve lived in there was always plenty of openings at restaurants.  It might not be the greatest job but it does allow you to make a bit more than minimum wage and pays the bills until you can find something better.

To get ahead on minimum wage you definitely need to be frugal.  If you click on my expense/income tracking category you can see how I’ve been spending my money.  By watching my spending I’ve been able to pay off debt and/or increase my savings every month.

Here is what I have done since April:

  • Paid off approximately $1600 in credit card debt
  • Paid cash for over $1000 of oral surgery/dental expenses
  • Established a $1000 emergency fund
  • Opened a Roth IRA and funded it with $700
  • Paid off $575 in student loan debt
  • Bought private health insurance

I also paid a significant tuition bill and had large car repair expenses.  I may not be getting rich but I’m definitely making progress.  My current goal is to put 50% of my income towards savings or paying down debt.  If I can do this on minimum wage than so can others.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Chief Family Officer October 13, 2007 at 3:17 pm

I just wanted to say that what you’ve accomplished this year (actually, in just the last six months!) is TOTALLY AWESOME! And inspiring. Thanks for sharing!

2 Lulu October 13, 2007 at 4:09 pm

Thanks for sharing your story with us. I lived on minimum wage for a looooong time (and ours in TX is lower than yours in MO) and I was able to keep my head above water.

It takes a great deal of sacrifice and most people who make more than minimum wage do not understand what we have to go through. I am now doing a one year internship where I am earning slightly more than the minimum wage ….but I am still living like I was when I only made $5.15 an hour.

I did not make the big debt payoffs that you did…..but I am working on it.

3 Patrick October 15, 2007 at 6:11 am

I think a lot of it comes down to several factors – willpower, and a drive to succeed. It sounds like you have both going in your favor. You have the will power to succeed on a small income, and the drive to look for other means of income. Congrats, and good luck !

4 Reynold June 27, 2010 at 11:21 am

I think it would be really tough to get ahead on minimum wage but quite possible. You would have to cut a lot of corners and find a lot of ways to save. Supplementing your income would definately be necessary. Trying to find part time ways of earning more or investment opportunities would be essential.

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