I presently make $15.00 an hour, and work between 40 and 50 hours a week. I get some overtime pay, but I’m limited by the amount of hours in a day and the scheduling needs of my workplace. Would I work more? Sure, but my newly adopted dog is already pretty upset with the amount of time I’m away from the house (as indicated by the new urine stains on my mattress, which I did not personally put there to my knowledge), so it isn’t really an option.
I could hire a dog walker, or pay for him to go to daycare while I’m at work, but at my current wage, it feels like I’m barely scraping by. I get paid biweekly, and rent eats up about 81% of the first paycheck of the month. Then my electricity, phone bill, car payment, car insurance, and medical bills from the past combine to get rid of 59% of paycheck two (student loans would be on that list if I cared enough to get them out of default, but clearly I do not). Groceries, gas, dog food; alcohol – that takes care of the rest of the money I’ve got.
Is this livable? Clearly – I’m alive right now to spin this yarn for you. Am I living in excess? I don’t personally think so, given that I’ve not even adequately furnished my apartment after two months of living in it (I just got a dining room table last week for $35 – I’ll be sure to point it out in my upcoming Cribs special), and I can’t manage to pull together any real social life. Oh, and I still get help from my parents, so I’m really doubling down on the whole “artist” thing.
If you’ve been reading that in a whiny tone – that’s fair. I’m equally unenthused with the way all of that sounds. So why am I complaining at you? Well, with the minimum wage debate swirling around Amazon’s choice to pay all its workers a minimum of $15 an hour, I thought having an example of exactly what $15 gets you would be helpful.
I’m not paying all the bills that I should be, but I’m paying the other ones on time. I’ve got a roof over my head, and I’m able to feed myself and my dog enough for us to both look healthy. $15 an hour doesn’t get you a lot – it gets you barely enough, and I know with certainty that I could not live with less. Money – and how I don’t have enough of it – is constantly on my mind to the point of obsession.
I mean… maybe I could drink a little less, but take it from me, all this obsessing makes a body thirsty. Cheers.