What Happens If You Try To Live On McDonald’s Wages: A Budget

By Claire Gordon  | Posted Jul 17th 2013 @ 11:17AM

While fast food workers across the country are asking for a “living wage,” McDonald’s has launched a budgeting website with Visa to help its employees deal better with the money they’ve got. The “sample budget” provided was greeted with sneers, and sure enough, with more realistic numbers, this McDonald’s employee would go into over $50 of debt a day.

Critics of the McDonald’s budget pointed out that it involved employees working a second job, turning off their heat, spending just $20 a month on health insurance, and never buying food or clothing. But even more glaringly, the budget ignores a fundamental fact of the fast food workforce: it increasingly includes women with children. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says the median age of a fast-food worker is now 28; and for women, who make up most of the workers, the median age is 32.

So AOL Jobs decided to write up a second budget for a McDonald’s employee who is a single parent with one child living in Newaygo County, Michigan, which has the average cost of living for the country. The income numbers are the same, but the expenses are based on the “budget calculator” from the liberal think tank the Economic Policy Institute, excluding tax, but with the original budget’s ambitious $100 of monthly savings.

As you can see below, our McDonald’s employee with a second job and one child will go into $1,548 of debt each month, or $51.60 a day.

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