Living on the minimum wage

Earlier this month calls for a new living wage to be introduced were made by numerous public figures.

Thought up by the Living Wage Foundation charity, the move will form part of the Labour Party’s manifesto for the next general election and is designed to help millions of low earning people out of poverty.

Under the proposals, the living wage would be £8.55 an hour in London and £7.45 in the rest of the UK.

However, it is not a scheme which is legally enforceable like the national minimum wage – which currently stands at £6.19 per hour for people aged over 21.

So with this in mind, there are millions of people out there earning minimal amounts and struggling to make ends meet.

Indeed, the bottom ten per cent of adult workers earn an average of just £7.04 per hour, while 40 per cent of part-time employees get paid £7.19 or less.

Living on the minimum wage
Let’s do some maths. A person earning £6.19 per hour over a 35-hour week will earn £11,265.80.

Not a lot is it? And it is significantly lower than the £14,400 which the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) says is the bare minimum a person can live on.

Last year, Yahoo blogger Felicity Hannah decided to do an experiment in which she and her husband tried to live on the then minimum wage of £6.08 per hour.

“I was a bit apprehensive about how much of our minimum wage income would need to be earmarked for bills, which include the cost of our home's gas and electricity, broadband, TV package, TV licence and council tax plus water rates,” she wrote.

“Add to this our personal bills, including our mobiles, gym memberships and my car loan, and our bills come to an average of £609 a month.

“That means our bills come to around £152.25 a week, leaving just under £60 for day-to-day spending. Add on our weekly child benefit of £20.30, and we had a total disposable income of around £80.”

In order to get through the tough times, she took a frugal approach to buying items.

This included swapping branded food products for ones produced by the supermarkets themselves. They also had to cut back on buying meats, meaning that Mrs Hannah’s husband has to go veggie for a week.

They also had to find a new and cheaper way of commuting to and from work. This included her husband cycling to work rather than driving.

But the thing with Ms Hannah’s experiment is that she didn’t have any debts to service.

While she had bills to pay, she wasn’t having to manage the burden of credit cards and loans each month.
Indeed, many people earning minimum wage are merely surviving rather than thriving.

The only people who can really manage comfortably on the national minimum wage are people who are living at home with their parents and thus have limited outgoings.

For those who are looking to fly the nest and buy a property in their own right, living on the minimum wage can be a source of great frustration because not only will they be unable to borrow enough to buy a home at the prices asked today, they will also find it virtually impossible to save a deposit.

However, there are some luxuries which everyone can enjoy from time to time, even if they are only earning minimum amounts. If you are savvy you can find a wide number of special offers and discount codes on the internet.

These will include buy-one-get-one-free offers on meals to discounts on day to day items such as nappies.

1 comments:

  1. This was a wonderful experiment. We have the same problem here in the U.S. when people try to live on minimum wage.

    ReplyDelete