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Engage in the spirituality of sustainability. Sign up now and participate in a daily action and reflection challenge throughout the month of October. Read, act, and contemplate on your own, or attend events and reflect with friends and other campus community members. 

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Day 9: Living on the Minimum Wage


"Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due." Romans 4:4


Limiting yourself to the recently legislated new Minimum Wage of $10.00 per hour (effective 2016 in CA pending Gov. Brown's signature as of this writing), create a hypothetical monthly budget for yourself or for your family. Your budget should include the following (if applicable):

Monthly Income:
Monthly income from full & part time jobs (limited to $10/hr)

Monthly Expenses:
Line of Credit
Home/Renter's Insurance
Credit Card #1
Credit Card #2
Credit Card #3
Credit Card #4 (add as many as you need)
Car Payment
Car Insurance
Train fare
Health Insurance
Cable/Satellite TV
Internet Access
Phone Bill
Mobile Phone Bill(s)
Prescribed medications
Pet care
Gym Membership
Gas Bill
Electric Bill
Water Bill
Lawn Care
Other monthly expenses not listed above
Unplanned: (e.g., Vet Bill, Meals out, car repairs, parking ticket, doctor's appt. copay, etc.)


No matter which tax bracket you're in, you have a stake in the issues at hand in the concept of a Minimum Wage. Please consider the following questions for reflection:

1. How did you feel about limiting yourself to a budget of $10/hr? Was it surprising? Did it make you feel anxious? Would your lifestyle need to change? If so, do you think the change would be an easy or difficult transition for you?

2. A living wage is the minimum income necessary to meet one's basic needs in a local economy. Do you think just being able to meet one's basic needs is really "living"? Why or why not?

3. Many minimum wage workers receive almost no benefits (e.g., no overtime pay, no retirement funds, limited health insurance, etc.). Is this fair? Do you think an increase in salary would redress the lack of benefits, or is this a completely separate problem?

Contributed by Bill Mains (Business School Undergraduate Business Programs)

Comments Comments

Janice said on Oct 9, 2013
It is so hard to imagine having to live day to day on minimum wage. Our lifestyle and living situation would need to change. My family includes a husband and son- living wage should consider that most people have to care for someone in addition to themselves.
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