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Minimum Wage Challenge. Try to survive as a member of the working poor. Basic Information. Typical Salary Per year. Typical Occupations. You are starting here. Your Task. You must create a monthly budget As a single parent making minimum wage.

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minimum wage challenge

Minimum Wage Challenge

Try to survive as a member of the working poor




Per year

Typical Occupations

You are

starting here

your task
Your Task
  • You must create a monthly budget
  • As a single parent
  • making minimum wage
to successfully complete this project you must turn in all of the following
To successfully complete this project, you must turn in all of the following:
  • Completed Excel spreadsheet budget
  • Apartment advertisement (printed out)
  • Babysitting advertisement (printed out)

ALL of these items are due by

Wednesday, May 22nd

let s get started
Let’s get started
  • You are a 28-year-old person.
  • With a 3-year-old child.
  • Working at a supermarket, making minimum wage.
when you open the excel file click enable editing in the yellow bar at the top of the document
When you open the excel file, click “enable editing” in the yellow bar at the top of the document
step 1 hourly wage
Step 1: Hourly wage
  • Go to this website:
  • Find out what minimum wage is in New York state and plug that amount in step 1
step 2 hours worked week
Step 2: # hours worked/week
  • Full time is 40 hours per week.
  • Plug that number in
step 3 taxes
Step 3: Taxes
  • You will need to know your yearly income before taxes, which you can figure out with this formula:
  • Multiply your hourly wage (7.25) times 40 hours per week times 52 weeks per year.

(you should get a number with 5 digits)

  • Now go to this website:

  • Find out how much you will be taxed.
  • Plug that percentage in
step 4 rent
Step 4: Rent
  • You work at the Nichol’s Supermarket in Liverpool. You probably want to find an apartment nearby.

(Click here to see the location in Google Maps)

  • Try the following website to look for rentals
  • You MUST print the ad for the rental that you choose.
    • Be sure to circle the rent per month, any utilities that are included, and write in the distanceto work (just get the distance by getting directions from Nichol’s to your apartment in Google Maps)
step 5 utilities
Step 5: Utilities
  • Your apartment might include utilities in the monthly price, but most won’t include all of them.
  • There is no way to estimate your utility bills so assume these amounts:
    • Heat: $100/month
    • Water: $5/month
  • If your advertisement says nothing about utilities, assume that you have to pay them all separately
step 6 child care
Step 6: Child care
  • Find a child care provider and plug in the cost per hour
  • You can search here:
  • You might want to refine your search as follows:
  • Make sure that you babysitter is close to your apartment. Some sitters will only travel a certain distance.
  • If the sitter gives a range for his/her cost (ex. $5-10) you can go with the smaller number.
  • You MUST print the ad for the provider that you choose.
    • Circle the sitter’s cost per hour and whether or not they have their own transportation
step 7 groceries
Step 7: Groceries
  • To estimate your monthly grocery cost use this website:
  • Remember that in this scenario, you are 28 years old AND you have a 3-year-old child
  • The number of meals eaten away from home should be 5-7 for each of you (Sometimes you will eat at work and your child will eat at the babysitters)
  • If you want to have a car, then you need to complete steps 8 & 9 to calculate insurance and fuel costs. You will skip step 10.

(We will assume that you own your car and aren’t still making car payments)

  • If you want to save money and take the bus, then you need to make sure that your apartment and babysitter are close to a bus stop and skip to step 10.
step 8 car insurance
Step 8: Car Insurance
  • Use this website to estimate your monthly car insurance cost:
  • You can decide the make/model car that you own in this pretend world, but don’t forget it. You’ll need it for the next step.
  • Divide the yearly quote by 12 and enter that number in step 8.
step 9 fuel
Step 9: Fuel
  • Use the “Fuel Cost Calculator” on the right side of the excel budget document.
  • First input the cost per gallon of gas. You can find the average cost here:
still step 9
Still step 9
  • Then google “mpg” and the make and model of the car you chose to find the miles that your car gets per gallon of gas (mpg).
  • I put in 20 as an average, but you can replace that number with the exact number when you find it.
last part of step 9
Last part of step 9!
  • You need to find directions from work to your apartment.

(Click here to see the location in Google Maps)

    • Click to get directions and input the address of your apartment (it should be on your advertisement)
  • Do the same with directions to the babysitter (if your babysitter is going to drive herself, then enter 0 for the miles in that box.
step 10 bus
Step 10: Bus
  • You can check for Centro bus routes from your apartment to the mall and find out the cost of a bus pass here:
  • Butremember, yourapartment has to be withinwalkingdistance of a bus stop and youbabysitter has to drive herself/himself!
step 11 cable internet phone
Step 11: Cable/internet/phone
  • Do you want to have a cell phone? Check the cost of a plan for one person on the website for the phone company of your choice.
  • Do you want cable TV? Internet? A landline phone? Check Time Warner Cable or Verizon for estimates (or look into Netflix, Hulu, Skype for other options)
    • Time Warner Cable website
    • Verizon Fios website
  • Your apartment might include cable

and/or internet. Check the ad.

step 12 restaurant take out
Step 12: Restaurant/Take out
  • How many times are you going to go out to a restaurant or order takeout in a month? Sometimes you might want a special treat for you or your child.
  • Estimate your own budget and plug in the amount.
step 13 clothing
Step 13: Clothing
  • Think about how much will you spend on new (or used) clothing for you and your child IN AN ENTIRE YEAR
  • Then divide that number by 12 to get your monthly clothing average.
  • Keep in mind that your 3-year-old will grow out of his or her clothing and you will have to buy more clothes for your child at the very least.
  • Your number in this box CANNOT BE ZERO
step 14 entertainment
Step 14: Entertainment
  • You might want to go out to the movies, the zoo, take a small vacation, etc…
  • Calculate the average monthly cost for these little splurges.
step 15 child
Step 15: Child
  • Your child will cost you some extra money sometimes
  • Calculate how much you want to spend per month on things for your child, such as toys, books, etc…
emergency fund
Emergency Fund
  • The federal government will require businesses to provide health insurance to all fulltime employees, but not until 2014.
  • Employers are not legally obligated to provide health insurance, and yours does not.
  • You ARE covered by the Family Medical Leave Act, which gives you up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave if you or someone in your family is sick and need care.
  • During this time you can’t be fired if you take up to 12 weeks of sick time, but don’t earn any money.
step 16 emergency fund
Step 16: Emergency fund
  • You need to budget for health emergencies on your own in case you or your children need medical care for any reason.
  • How much do you want to set aside each month just in case you need to pay for a doctor’s visit, car repairs, serious medical injury, etc…?
  • If you’re not sure how much to save, this article has some helpful tips:

need more money
Need more money?
  • Now you can consider ways to stretch your budget.
steps 17 overtime
Steps 17: Overtime!
  • Maybe you want to supplement your income by working overtime. You make 1.5x your regular wage by working more than 40 hours per week.
  • Use the website below to see the minimum overtime wage in New York State
  • Plug that amount under step 17
steps 18 19 overtime
Steps 18 & 19: Overtime!
  • Choose the extra hours you want to work and plug them in step 18
  • Enter your tax rate under step 19 (it’s the same rate that you entered on the page before)
  • The extra cost of child care is automatically added in when you decide how much overtime to work.
public assistance
Public Assistance
  • This is temporary aid (like money or food) given to people in need.
  • You do not have to accept public assistance. You

can try to make due with just your overtime. It’s

up to you!

public assistance1
Public Assistance

Public assistance is paid for with tax dollars. Everyone pays into the system in case they fall on hard times and need to use it

step 20 headstart
Step 20: Headstart
  • Your 3-year-old might be eligible for free half-day pre-school through a program called “Head Start.”
  • Head Start exists to make sure that children from low-income families get the early education they need to succeed in school.
  • Check HERE to see if you qualify.
  • If you do, you will save yourself 80 hours a month in childcare costs. That’s half of your babysitter’s time!
  • If you qualify, look back at your total child care cost per month (in the yellow square). Enter HALF of that amount in the box for step 20.
step 21 child support
Step 21: Child Support!
  • As a single parent with sole custody of your child, you are entitled to court mandated child support from the other parent.
  • Even if your child’s other parent does not want to pay, the court can force him/her to pay a minimum yearly amount.
  • Use this website to calculate how much child support you should receive in 1 year. Assume that the other parent’s yearly salary is the same as yours: $15,080.00.
  • Divide that number by 12 and enter it into Step 21.
step 22 snap supplemental nutrition assistance program
Step 22: SNAP(Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program)
  • Find out if you qualify for SNAP (food stamps)
  • The form is a little confusing, so be sure to do the following:
    • You can make up a name for you imaginary three-year-old! And remember, you’re 28!
    • Assets – you don’t have any! Just skip to the next section.
    • Use $15080 for your earned income (wages) annually.
    • In the Unearned Income section, include the monthly child support
    • Dependent Care – enter your babysitting costs per month (remember to SUBTRACT HALF if your child qualified for Head Start)
    • The child support section should be left blank, because YOU don’t pay

step 22 snap continued
Step 22: SNAP (continued)
  • If you do qualify, you can type the amount in the

box for Step 22

  • You should also go back to Step 7 and change your

grocery costs to zero if SNAP makes up for it.

step 23 child healthcare
Step 23: Child Healthcare
  • New York state does offer free/reduced cost healthcare for low-income families
  • See if you and/or your child qualifies here:
  • If you qualify, check to see what your monthly cost will be ($0-$60)
  • Enter the cost in Step 23
  • You might want to look back at step 16 and adjust it.
have more money now
Have more money now?
  • Go back and look at your extra expenses.
  • If you don’t mind having less savings, you can increase the money that you devote to things like entertainment, your emergency fund, etc…
  • You might want to work more or less overtime now as well.
is your budget finalized
Is your budget finalized?

Double check and make sure that you have done all of the following:

  • Completed Excel spreadsheet budget (printed out)
    • All info filled out
    • Math makes sense
    • Name at the top
  • Apartment advertisement (printed out)
    • Name at the top
    • Circle the monthly rent and the utilities included (if any)
    • Wrote somewhere on it the distance to Nichol’s Supermarket
  • Babysitting advertisement (printed out)
    • Name at the top
    • Circled cost per hour and whether or not transportation is needed
    • Distance from home written on it
turn in the following
Turn in the following:
  • Budget
  • Apartment ad
  • Babysitting ad
    • All paper-clipped or stapled together with your name on ALL pieces.