Can You Live on $7.25 in Tuscaloosa? | YES or NO

Cashier CareerThere has been a lot of buzz about how no one can make it on minimum wage.  Well, I’m here to tell you that that’s a load of hot garbage.  Yes, it is tough, but it is nowhere near impossible.  And here are the facts to back that claim up.  Below are the financials (CHART) for an 18 year old Ben Baxter to survive in Tuscaloosa, Alabama in the year 2014.  For the example, let’s assume his parents or guardians are no longer involved.

Ben is a hard working young man.  He worked while in high school to help put food on the table, and while do so, he gained the opportunity to work 40 hours per week as a cashier at a local pharmacy when he graduated.  He’s still making the minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, but working a full 40 hours per week really helps.  He has some other odd jobs that he does to earn money, but for now let’s focus on his base pay.

If we assume Ben works 40 hours per week (or 2080 hours per year), he will earn $15,080 before taxes.  That equates to $11,254.13 take-home pay after federal taxes, state taxes, Social Security, and Medicare are taken out.  He also lives with two roommates, Ruiz Chalmers and Harris Carr, in a median rental home for $720 per month.  Rent is split three ways with each person paying $240 per month.  Utilities are also split three ways.  He pays for his own food at $150 per month and his own health insurance at $25 per month.

Ben does not have a car, and nor does he need one.  Almost every route within the quadrant of McFarland Blvd, Lurleen Wallace Blvd, Interstate 20/59, and the Black Warrior River can be measured at around 3 miles or less.  At Ben’s current stride, he can easily commute by foot in approximately 45 minutes to almost anywhere.  This is great for his health as well since he will burn over 600 kilocalories during that routine 45 minute commute.

Ben assumes he will need to travel longer distances sometimes so he rents a BAMA Bike from a local university for $10 per month.  This university provides all maintenance on this bicycle.  Ben also budgets for education because he would like to make more than minimum wage by the time he is 25 years old.  He is attending Shelton State Community College.  And he is majoring in Air Conditioning and Refrigeration for his Associate in Applied Science Degree.

His yearly budget is listed below.  After one year, he stills has $500 leftover to go into savings for a rainy day.  You never know when that may come in handy.

Could you live on what Ben is living on? (SEE BELOW)

Ben's Budget