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)

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.
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