and had vastly different results. My husband and I would like to try to replicate Spurlock's stint with poverty. We watched him on Oprah talk about how impossible it was to live on so little money...and then he takes his niece and nephew to the movies and buys everyone popcorn and candy. So the moral of the story is that it's hard to live like a baller on little money? Duh.
I honestly think I could live on minimum wage. Heck, we don't even try and we only spend half my husband's paycheck, and I spend $400 a month at the grocery store on gourmet mushrooms and cheeses. If we really tried, like going to Aldi and having my husband ride his bike three times a day to work instead of just one, we could cut that down to next to nothing. And we sure as heck wouldn't be 1) going to the movie or 2) buying outrageous Junior Mints there. If we were so inclined (and we might not be, since I love cooking and cable TV), we could spend very little money. To be honest, all we could think about while watching Spurlock on Oprah is how hard it would be for us to stay on minimum wage. If for some reason we both had to start from the bottom again, we'd race each other back to the top. Night school, adult education, something so that we'd make more money. And we wouldn't spend a dime more than we had to. Spurlock just sat around his apartment and complained about how much better his old life was and how hard it was to be poor.
Actually, the real experiment we missed out on came as a tardy inspiration. I should've gotten a job at Walmart when we moved here and seen how I was treated for the six months. That would've been interesting blogging.
Blogging about Wallmart is the best. Now excuse me while I login into my mycoke account.
Posted by: Will at September 23, 2006 10:02 AM (H4u2c)
I watched the same episode and had a similar reaction to yours.
What I couldn't understand is how people that have to live in shelters or get public assistance can "afford" $300 car payments and cell phone bills (when they make $700 a month, or however much). Scout and I aren't anywhere near living in poverty, but our car payment certainly isn't even close to that much.
Hmmm...and they wonder why they can't afford medical their medical bills...
Posted by: Erin at September 23, 2006 01:38 PM (023Of)
First of all, I just wanted to say that I've been reading your blog for a while now. We have a couple of mutual friends, and I think our husbands know each other. :-)
Second of all, I completely agree with you. I know that my husband and I could live on much less than we do now, because we've done it before. It wasn't pleasant, but definitely possible. In some ways, life was simpler back then. Even now, if I really want to see a movie in the theater (sometimes there's nothing like it), I just wait a few weeks until they show it in our $2 theater here. Sorry, I just don't see the point in spending over $7 to see a movie that I can wait a little while and see for $2.
I really enjoy reading your page, and I even agree with quite a bit of what you write. Keep it up!
Posted by: Robin at September 23, 2006 05:52 PM (6G8cC)
I would suggest trying to live on minimum wage here in New Jersey, you might find it to be near immpossible. You may scoff but think of this: the average apartment rent here in NJ is $800.00 a month, throw in another $200.00 a month for utilities minimum, and you've already exceeded the full one year pay of one person @ minimum wage. C'mon tell us how to live on minimum wage, especially when you get housing, and medical for free, and pay reduced rates @ the commisary and PX/BX. Seriously do the math.
Posted by: BubbaBoBobBrain at September 24, 2006 07:35 AM (8ruhu)
People aren't meant to live on minimum wage. It's for teenagers and people who can't speak english.
Posted by: Will at September 24, 2006 10:44 AM (H4u2c)
I've got plenty of money myself and I look at the so called Pooor and ask myslf "what's your problem?"
could just be more like me, we wouldn't be having all these problems
Posted by: Norton at September 24, 2006 12:09 PM (EegKo)
I'm going to have to agree with one of the above commentors. I think the biggest obstacle to living on the current minimum wage is the almost across-the-board high housing cost in this country, never mind the states that far surpass "high" and cross over into absolutely ridiculous housing costs. The cost of a typical basket of goods doesn't differ much from place to place but the housing costs certainly do.
Posted by: Nicole at September 24, 2006 01:32 PM (nTCFk)
Yeah, no one should live on minimum wage in New Jersey. But why on earth does a guy working taking blood *need* to live in New Jersey? Move your family of four to Iowa and make roughly the same salary but with WAY lower cost of living! There are ways to live better, but usually the hard luck stories are people who can't make it in LA or East coast where housing is astronomical. Rent in Kirksville, MO, is $385/mo for 1100 sq feet, and you flip the same burgers you'd flip in NJ. Why not move there?
Posted by: Sarah at September 24, 2006 05:40 PM (bw5Sm)
Been there done that. Shoulder messed up too badly to work. VA comp being taken by congress to pay off my separation pay (on a side note I've finally gotten to see my first VA check recently after ten years of VA disability). My wife working at Taco Bell, and me silently furious over the traumatic realization of my own mortality.
It sucks, it's hard, and it requires making sacrifices. It is also doable so long as you make the sacrifices. No cable, don't buy CD's, don't rent movies, don't go to the movies, sell the crap you accumulated but couldn't bear to part with, then move the hell out of the city, no eating out, drive a Ford Model POS, and learn something about keeping it running. Turn the dang lights off, don't run the AC when it's only 90, and grazing with the fridge door open. Choose cheap dial-up so you can keep net access for e-mail and help job search. Be willing to walk when you don't have to go cross town, and use public transportation when available.
It really sucked and it is even more difficult when you're coming off life with a 70k/year job, but it is doable and transitory. Oh, and with sacrifice you can afford a treat of the movies every so often. When I was growing up (dirt poor) we had a banana split once a month at Alex's Drive In (window trays, roller skates and all) and a movie every three to four months. That was in Hawai'i where it was $800/month decades ago.
Posted by: Kalroy at September 24, 2006 07:07 PM (9RG5y)
Ever heard of a "zero yen house?" That's Japanese for "zero dollar house." Apparently in Japan there's a whole rising niche of architecture specifically designed to cost no money, with houses usually located in the trees or under a bridge. They do things like hook up solar panels to modified storage containers and some of them even have gardens. Anyway, if you consider the way minimum wage is going and the way Walmart pays minimum wage and the way Walmart is putting every decent local business out of business, I'm sure we'll all be needing to think about stuff like this soon.
Posted by: Will at September 25, 2006 12:42 AM (H4u2c)
I don't make minimum wage, in fact I make about twice minimum as does my wife, I work at least 48 hours a week, she about 20-28. Even with the money we make it is a struggle. Add in an autistic 14 year old son and diabetic 13 year old daughter, and ...well you can imagine how expensive it can be. I really can't leave the north east to cut costs as my son's care would suffer, see while we pay ridiculous taxes here in NJ it is one of the top five states in which to rear an autistic/handicapped child. Curious thing all the top five are here in the north eastern part of the nation. the next tier are California, Oregon, and Washington notice a pattern here Sarah?? Sure I could move to oh say North Carolina, but the programs for handicapped kids down there generally suck... remember low taxes = low/lousy services. I just hope you never have to face the dilemma we do.
Posted by: BubbaBoBobBrain at September 25, 2006 07:16 PM (8ruhu)
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