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Are You Just Getting By? + Living Wage Calculator

2012 August 17
by Aaron

A month or so ago, I stumbled on this neat living wage calculator created by some smart folks at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology). I typed in my city and state and was intrigued at the information provided. It lays out in detailed terms what a single person, married persons and married with children would need to make per hour to “get by”.

Another feature of the MIT calculator is that it shows you different types of occupations and the hourly wage one can expect to make working in that industry. 

I checked out some other parts of the country and was a bit shocked to see how much of a struggle it is for a single parent with one child to make ends meet. According to this calculator, many industries do not provide an adequate hourly wage for that demographic. The child costs alone can eat up most of a single parent’s budget! (I recently read that child care has now exceeded yearly costs of college and food bills! Yowser)

Is it just me – but do you often feel you are just getting by? With my spouse out of work – it is definately putting a little bit of stress on our budget. I mean – we live a pretty thrifty lifestyle. We rarely do much in the way of vacations or entertainment (Redbox is sometimes the most extravagant we get many weekends).

It seems as though the cost of everything just keeps going up. The only thing that isn’t- is the $$ coming in! I’m sure many of you feel the same way and I’m certainly not complaining here; it is what it is.

Recenly, J$’s post at BudgetsAreSexy.com on Gigs for Goals has really resonated with me again. The idea of creating revenue streams for each “bill” (or goal) is not a new one – but it’s an interesting perspective on how to better handle and manage the out-going vs. in-coming that affects our daily living. An example would be that most of our regular income would cover our housing, food, transportation and savings – while another gig (perhaps designing logo’s) would provide for child expenses and/or reducing my wife’s student loan. If we wanted to purchase a big ticket item (say – a boat or something), we would need to develop another revenue stream. Pretty simple.

This type “living” would really help eliminate the feeling of “just getting by” because you are specifically addressing expenses. And, if your income(s) cannot provide for a certain expense – you either drop it OR find a “gig” to meet it.

I think that “just getting by” feeling would be eliminated if we were to better stick to this line of reasoning (myself included). It certainly isn’t rocket science – and anyone can adhere to it.

Are you feeling a bit more strapped these days? How do you deal with it?

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Aaron

Helped start Three Thrifty Guys with his friends Charlie and Mark after being inspired by how they lived their lives “on the thrift”. A designer by day, Aaron was once $40k in debt. After 5 years – he dug himself out and lives to tell about it. Aaron also blogs at the StarTribune

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