ONTD Political

McDonalds Tells Workers To Budget By Getting A Second Job And Turning Off Their Heat

1:03 pm - 07/15/2013


McDonalds has partnered with Visa to launch a website to help its low-wage workers making an average $8.25 an hour to budget. But while the site is clearly meant to illustrate that McDonalds workers should be able to live on their meager wages, it actually underscores exactly how hard it is for a low-paid fast food worker to get by.

The site includes a sample”‘budget journal” for McDonalds’ employees that offers a laughably inaccurate view of what it’s like to budget on a minimum wage job. Not only does the budget leave a spot open for “second job,” it also gives wholly unreasonable estimates for employees’ costs: $20 a month for health care, $0 for heating, and $600 a month for rent. It does not include any budgeted money for food or clothing.

Basically every facet of this budget is unachievable. For an uninsured person to independently buy health care, he or she must shell out on average $215 a month — just for an individual plan. If that person wants to eat, “moderate” spending will run them $32 a week for themselves, and $867 a month to feed a family of four. And if a fast food worker is living in a city? Well, New York City rents just reached an average of $3,000 a month.

The sample budget is also available in Spanish. On another section of the site, it concludes, “You can have almost anything you want as long as you plan ahead and save for it.”

Neither McDonalds nor Visa returned requests for comment by the time of publication.
Last year, Bloomberg News found that it would take the average McDonalds employee one million hours of work to earn as much money as the company’s CEO. This immense wage disparity in the fast food industry has sparked a series of protests and walk-outs by low-wage workers working at fast food chains around the country — in New York, Chicago, Washington, and Seattle, to name a few cities, workers from chains including KFC, McDonalds, Burger King, and Taco Bell have spoken publicly about the need for serious wage increases across the industry.

(H/T Low Pay Is Not Okay)

[Source]
crossfire 15th-Jul-2013 08:39 pm (UTC)
This budget is complete and utter bullshit. As the article states, it's got nothing for utilities, food, or clothing. It's also missing things like internet, transportation (gas for the car, or bus fare), personal care (hair cuts, etc), or entertainment. Here's a real budget:

ItemAmountNotes
Rent/Mortgage1000A more reasonable amount than the $600 mentioned. I know I'm paying more, but I live in the Bay Area.
Food400$100/week for a 4-week month or $80/week for a 5-week month. Assuming 3 meals a day, that gives you $4.75/meal or $3.80/meal, which is doable.
Utilities150Gas, electrical, water, etc. In some places this would be a lot more.
Car Payment150Again, I know I'm paying more.
Car upkeep200Gas, maintenance, etc.
Auto Insurance100
Mobile phone100Ditching the loltastic "cable/phone" category in favor of something people will actually have.
Clothing allowance50I typically don't spend my clothing allowance every month, I save it up and buy clothes once a quarter. But you have to buget for it.
Health Insurance215Using the figure from the article
Entertainment50Once a month, go to a movie. Or go out for dinner. Or have drinks with friends. (But just ONE, because bootstraps.)
Misc Expenses100Laundry, hair cuts, random shit like parking tickets, etc.
Savings100lol
Total2765oops


And of course that's for one person. Got kids? Just about every one of those categories will increase, and you'll get to add new categories like child care, health care copays (for regular preventative visits to doctor and dentist), school supplies & expenses, birthday and holiday presents, etc.
gambitia 15th-Jul-2013 08:47 pm (UTC)
I scratched out my own budget and found much the same story. I even slashed out the entertainment category, and car payment (assumed public transit), and reduced food to $20/week (I've done it, but expect to eat a lot of watery soup), and I still came up several hundred over the McDonald's budget.

TBH I'd like to see the CEO's budget. What's so important that he can't share some of his $8.75 million/year?

crossfire 15th-Jul-2013 08:55 pm (UTC)
Wow, I don't think I could do $20/week in groceries in this economy. When I first graduated from college I could, but that was 20 years ago.

I also left out debt payments like credit cards and student loans.

And in all of these shoestring budgets, god help you if you get hurt or sick.
rex_dart 15th-Jul-2013 09:02 pm (UTC)
If you get rid of the car payment and add public transit, that's still a hundred bucks a month where I live. Which is less than most car payments and insurance but still a ton of money for someone working fast food.
crossfire 15th-Jul-2013 09:08 pm (UTC)
And that assumes your local public transportation will get you everywhere you need to go, most notably work and grocery shopping, in a reasonable amount of time. (Says the guy who used to have a 2-hour EACH WAY commute by bus.)
saygoodnight__ 15th-Jul-2013 09:29 pm (UTC)
People don't realize that public transit is actually really expensive. When I lived in northern Virginia, I lived only 15-20 minutes from my work by car, but when you put public transit in the equation, well five dollars and two hours later, you're finally at work. I had to take two buses and transfer metro lines twice to get down the street, basically.
etherealtsuki 16th-Jul-2013 01:11 am (UTC)
When I was working in retail in a shitty part time job (which was really more full time because I was working 35-38 hours a week, fucking bastards) and I was making $8.5/hour, buying a monthly MetroCard was essentially 1/6 of my budget when it was $96 dollars.

So yeah, I was glad my mom let me pay low rent or I would never have money at all. Forget money to play around during that time.
peace_piper 16th-Jul-2013 07:44 am (UTC)
Even if you "own" your car, (well it's my brother's but I share with him cause I don't have one) I'm still not getting a great deal cause the only job I could find was 43 miles away (both ways) and it's costing me $220/month for gas and $43 for insurance. Plus, I have to have a cell phone, another $45/month in case it breaks down on the way since it's 17 years old. That's more of a car-related expense, since I don't use it for anything else other than have that "safety" built in.
keeni84 17th-Jul-2013 08:35 pm (UTC)
It costs me $100 a month for public transportation, because I'm too afraid to buy a monthly pass ($62.00), because the pass is made from paper and I'm too afraid I'll lose it/accidentally destroy it.
rex_dart 17th-Jul-2013 10:42 pm (UTC)
As far as I know, here a monthly pass is a hundred bucks, which is probably about the equivalent of two trips per weekday if you take the bus and a bit of a discount if you take the L. If I'm wrong on that it's because I don't have a pass, I just put that money toward parking, but I've got friends who commute and I'm pretty sure that's what they pay.

And now that I think about parking, it costs people in our neighborhood a minimum of a hundred dollars to get a parking space, or else you're left driving around looking for a street spot in our no-permit-required neighborhood for god knows how long every day, and if you work late forget it. That's a big part of the reason we traded two cars in for one.
roseofjuly 17th-Jul-2013 02:06 am (UTC)
This reminds me of this article. CEOs make a lot more than $250,000 a year, but the point of the article was to lash back at President Obama, who has used the figure repeatedly at the threshold at which you start being rich (and therefore need to start giving more of your money to taxes).

The article tried to make it look like the family making $250,000 was just struggling to stay afloat, because their income taxes alone were double this McD's worker's yearly salary from Job 1. "Their spending is conservative," says MSN. Budget line items

-Maxing out the 401(K) contributions (I guess McD's workers don't deserve to save for retirement)
-$8,000 a year to save for their kids' college educations
-$4,000 a year on after-school activities (the McD's worker didn't even get childcare budgeted in there)
-What amounted to a $3,000/month mortgage, which would get you about a $500,000 house
-$600/monthly car payments
-A $3,000/year clothing budget and a $1,200 a year dry cleaning budget
-One family trip at $4,000 (poor Jonses!)
-$3,000 per year on gifts, which amounts to $750 per person in the 4-person family

"Not included are those hefty run-of-the-mill payouts for charitable deductions, life insurance premiums, disability insurance, legal fees - or monthly sessions at a colorist, or a gym membership." I mean, woe is the $250,000+ earner who can't get her roots bleached every month, right?

So I can only imagine what their CEO's looks like.
the_gabih 20th-Jul-2013 10:58 am (UTC)
$750 on gifts per person is conservative spending now?

And aww, poor babies, potentially having to do your own hair at home or- gasp!- do exercise there instead of at a gym! My heart bleeds for them, it truly does.
coconut_theory 15th-Jul-2013 08:54 pm (UTC)
Clearly you need a third job.
crossfire 15th-Jul-2013 09:04 pm (UTC)
Right? Or not have a car and stop eating, because who needs luxuries like that.

(I think in the interests of full disclosure I should say that my current budget is nowhere near this tight, but for a decade these sorts of spreadsheets represented my life quite accurately while I was unemployed or underemployed. I'm doing okay now, but I still remember what it was like to have to make those decisions every. fucking. month.)
saygoodnight__ 15th-Jul-2013 09:23 pm (UTC)
When I first moved out of the house, I was living just outside of DC. I remember looking around on the ground for change because the thirty-five cents in my pocket plus finding a few extra dimes really was the difference between eating dinner and having to do without. Living like that is fucking terrifying.
lickety_split 15th-Jul-2013 09:39 pm (UTC)
IT BUILDS CHARACTER THO!!!!
deviantfantasy 15th-Jul-2013 10:26 pm (UTC)
I figured out my budget because I was curious since I live in a small Midwest town, where things are cheaper. With all of that, plus student loan payment, prescription co-pays, and other such things, I came out way over the McDonald's budget. No wonder all the fast food workers in this area live in the roach infested apartments.
tsu_ 15th-Jul-2013 10:41 pm (UTC)
I live in NYC, and my monthly budget is 2000/mth per person. It's slightly cheaper in a city with public transportation (car upkeep/payments and auto insurance is cancelled out) my rent includes utilities which helps too. I have zero savings though and no healthcare plan ._.;;
crossfire 16th-Jul-2013 01:52 am (UTC)
Hardly. As I said it works out to $4.75 a meal for a 4-week month, or $3.80/meal for a 5-week month. That's not at all extravagant and pretty much assumes you're buying very few pre-prepared foods and cooking most everything from scratch.

Still though, feel free to cut it by 50%. At $200/month for groceries the numbers still don't match with the fictional budget proposed by McDonalds.
flyingwild 16th-Jul-2013 04:07 am (UTC)
It feels high to me...I cook most of our meals and we probably spend $50 a week on groceries? For two people.

But yeah the fake budget is extremely unrealistic.
roseofjuly 17th-Jul-2013 02:09 am (UTC)
Of course if you're making minimum wage you're not spending $400 a month on food because you can't afford to.

That doesn't mean that that's not what food costs, though. I live in New York, and even though me and my husband drive into northern New Jersey to buy food twice a month, a food run for us can still easily cost $200 and that's if we also don't need household supplies.

When I was living alone I maybe spent $250 a month on food, but that's if you didn't include eating out and maybe getting lunch at work. And if you're working 80 hours a week and flying between McD's and the movie theater, when do you have time to make yourself a sandwich?

Edited at 2013-07-17 02:10 am (UTC)
keeni84 17th-Jul-2013 08:38 pm (UTC)
And some people working minimum wage (or not) do eat out a lot, because they don't have time to go to the grocery store/cook their own meals.

It might not add up to $100 a week, but it certainly can get expensive.
roseofjuly 17th-Jul-2013 01:50 am (UTC)
Girl I was coming here to post something like this. And I live in NYC. You MIGHT pay $1,000/month if you live in Harlem/Bed-Stuy/Inwood and have a roommate or two. And your gas/electric could easily be that; we don't pay for water (it's rolled into the rent). You wouldn't need car, but your MetroCard would cost $112/month. Still, even if you would save the $300 in auto insurance and upkeep, you'd still be over your monthly salary working TWO minimum wage jobs at about 80 hours a week.

If you have children, God save you. You're either cramped into an apartment too small for your needs, or your rent is more than your take-home pay.
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