After my whole Project Vegetarian which just lasted one week and I'll admit wasn't the best thing ever, I've decided what to do next. Traveling to Puerto Rico and Cancun, I was able to see a lot of poverty stricken areas. I always asked myself, "How do these people get by? What do they do for money?" Then you come back to Wichita and you can sometimes see the same thing. People working on minimum wage jobs and probably scratching and clawing to get by. Is it possible? How hard is it?
Now if I was loaded and retired, this is a Project that would be more feasible but something I'm going to try in the month of January is a little something something I call Project Minimum Wage.
How hard is it in Wichita to live on a Minimum Wage Salary? More importantly, can I do it? Cause I'm certainly going to try. Minimum wage in Wichita, KS is $7.25. There are 31 days in January so that equals out to roughly $1,200 one would earn before taxes and everything. Right now in my daily life, I could not live off of that especially when you take into account general expenses like housing, insurance, daily cost of living, eating out for this blog, etc.
So there are certain liberties I'll have to take into consideration while doing this whole project in the month of January. I live in a house but I'm going to pretend I have an apartment I pay for. A low end Apartment in Wichita can run around $300 that would include trash and water. My electricity bills are higher than an apartment so I'm just going to say an average electricity bill is $50. So there's $350 right there.
Then you take out taxes and at a $1200 salary from what I've been able to find out is about 15-20% so we'll just say $200. After apartment, electricity and taxes we're down to $650 for a month.
For the sake of the project, we're going to save I don't have a car payment. I just drive a car with bad gas mileage which in fact my SUV has so it helps with the project at hand. I'll have to cover gas when I need it out of my now $650 budget. Say I get health insurance through my employer at $100 a month. Then my auto insurance is $30 a month. That $650 figure drops to $520 just like that.
What about cable and internet? $100 Boom. (I need cable and internet!) Down to $420.
Can I live off of $420 in a month? Remember this isn't including the cost of gas, food, recreation, haircuts, savings, clothes, toiletries, etc. And what about unexpected costs like healthcare and stuff? I may just have to man it up.
Any toiletries I currently have, I get to use for January along with clothes and food currently in my house. The food is scarce enough and I will try to keep it at the same levels until the new month.
People who have heard of this adventure I'm about to go on always ask "Why are you doing this?" Well my first response is "I don't know." I just do things to do things with no rhyme or reason. Then I start to think about it and it's something I have wondered about. How do people do it? Maybe it'll give me a better appreciation for what I have in life. Not to take things for granted. I'll be honest, some people think it's kind of stupid what I'm doing and yeah there might be a level of stupidity to it all but if I made a list of the Top 10 Stupid Things I've Ever Done...... This would not even crack the Top 30.
Everything I do will be on a $420 budget. I hope my friends don't plan any sudden road trips, casino stops or invite me every day to stop by a bar to watch a game. If so, I might have to buy some Old Milwaukee's Best to sneak in the bar with me.
What about my Shocker season tickets? I'm going to pretend I won those in a radio contest. Not giving that up!
No help from the government either. I'm not going to "pretend" to get food stamps or anything. Just all off of a minimum wage salary. Although if I start to run slowly, donating plasma could be tempting. But I hate needles, so that's out of the question.
How about free meals and such? Well if I get a free meal, I'm going to consider it a free meal. Trust me though I'm not going to make constant stops by my parents or beg my friends to buy me a drink or a meal. I won't actively go out and look for that. If they do offer me one though.................
So that means I have roughly three weeks to live it up in a life of luxury. Come January 1st, it all changes for 31 days. It'd be better if I was retired, that way I could really do this project right and go get an apartment and see if I could truly do this. But for now, we're going to take some liberties into this.
I'll keep a daily journal and post it here when it's all ready to go so you guys can follow along.
Can it be done? One month on a minimum wage salary in Wichita, KS?
Until then be on the lookout for Letter Q coming out very soon.