How realistic is McDonald’s “minimum wage budget”?

How realistic is McDonald’s “minimum wage budget”?
(Photo credit: MGN Online)
(Photo credit: MGN Online)

(WTVM) - Making minimum wage has prompted McDonald's to help its employees budget better.

The fast-food chain has partnered with Visa to launch a website to help its low-wage workers – those making an average of $8.25 an hour – to budget.

While the website is meant to illustrate that McDonald's workers should be able to live on what they make, some say it actually highlights just how difficult it is for a low-paid fast food worker to get by.

The site includes a sample "budget journal" that offers what many call an inaccurate view of what it's like to budget on a minimum wage job.

Not only does the budget leave a spot open for a second job, it also gives unrealistic estimates for costs like $20 a month for health care, $600 a month for rent and zero for heating.

It does not include any budgeted money for food or clothing.

Probably the most difficult thing about this scenario is the need to work two jobs just to make it.

At a minimum wage of $7.25, an employee would have to work about 75 hours per week.  At $10 per hour, it would take about 55 hours. That's a hard work week.

The reality is low-income Americans have to make the kind of hard choices that critics are saying is ridiculous.

The online media company Gawker calls the budget "just-shy-of-condescending," but budgeting is an important skill that isn't obvious to everyone.

Offering practical advice on how to live on a modest income is hopefully more constructive than ridiculing.

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