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)

lickety_split 15th-Jul-2013 09:13 pm (UTC)
LMAO @ rent being $600/mon. Where??
lickety_split 15th-Jul-2013 09:17 pm (UTC)
Well I guess you wouldn't need a kitchen since you're apparently not eating or buying food, so maybe you save.
crossfire 15th-Jul-2013 09:19 pm (UTC)
Bootstrapsland, the same place you can get health insurance for $20/month and don't have to pay for heat, food or clothes! It's a beautiful place, filled with unicorns and bunnies, where jobs grow on trees, bootstraps are rainbows, and nobody has to think about icky things like "the poor" or "classism."
magicpebble 15th-Jul-2013 09:32 pm (UTC)
My rent for a one-bedroom apartment in a small city (population of about 50,000) is $590/month, but no one living in a bigger city (or a bigger apartment, because lbr, if I wasn't single and childless I'd need more space) has rent that cheap. $600/month is like the lowest possible estimate they could have used and definitely does not represent any sort of average.
beuk 15th-Jul-2013 09:43 pm (UTC)
I live in a house converted into two 2BR1B apartments and our rent is $550, water/sewer/trash included, but I live in a cheap part of Boise, ID. Unfortunately the low cost of living is sunk by the even lower wages in Idaho.
saygoodnight__ 15th-Jul-2013 09:47 pm (UTC)
HAHAHAH RIGHT?! The land of $20 insurance, $600 rent, where you don't need heat or food.

dodger_greywing 15th-Jul-2013 09:51 pm (UTC)

The town I live in is a college town, so housing is artificially inflated, but go an hour north? You can find decent 2-bedroom apartments for under $500. My current apartment is $625, over 700 square feet even. So it's possible, as long as you stay in the middle of the country and away from major cities. Which is so viable for everyone. :|
beoweasel 15th-Jul-2013 09:54 pm (UTC)
In the South?

There are definitely apartments that are that cheap here in South Carolina, I've seen some as low as 300 a month, but whether they're somewhere you'd want to live in, is another question.

Now, up north is a different story. The apartment I lived in Maine, was 800 a month.
blondebeaker 15th-Jul-2013 09:54 pm (UTC)
The apartment I had in Trenton Ontario was 650 a month all inclusive. The second apartment, when I moved in with my fiance, in the same town was 790 a month (again all inclusive) and it was HUGE.

Moved to Toronto, first apt there was 1400/mth all inclusive. Last year we moved on street south to a smaller place and its 1190 all inclusive.

Up until our new place the apartments were roughly the same size.
pachakuti 15th-Jul-2013 09:57 pm (UTC)
We paid $590 - $610 (lived there two years, of-fucking-course they raised the rent after a year juuuuust enough) for a tiny one-bedroom apartment in Upstate SC, in Greenville. Not a bad place, but not very big. At least it covered the rent AND water/sewer.

Honestly, they should just scratch the health insurance right out on that budget, because not only does health insurance not exist for that little, nobody working at McD's at minimum wage is going to have health insurance and those assholes KNOW it. They should budget for the ER visits and outpatient clinics their employees are ACTUALLY visting when they can scrape the money together to actually afford some goddamn antibiotics for their ear infection once a year.
deviantfantasy 15th-Jul-2013 10:23 pm (UTC)
I live in small town Iowa and rent for a two bedroom apartment, with utilities included runs about 400. Of course, considering how crappy the wages are here, most people have to have a roommate just to afford that.
lux_roark 15th-Jul-2013 10:42 pm (UTC)
We pay $935 a month for a 2 bedroom 2 bath in San Diego county. The 2 bedroom 1 bath in our complex would be more if we chose to move. Since we've lived here for 10 years they don't raise our rent as much as they have it for new people moving in. Of course, with that we deal with the worst school district in San Diego county. There's no funding in the school district because the schools do not perform well on the standardized testing. So we might be paying cheap rent for our area, but the kids are affected. I do homeschooling after school, because I'm currently disabled so I have the opportunity to do that because I get to stay home. Not everyone is as "lucky" as me.
stainedfeathers 16th-Jul-2013 12:12 am (UTC)
Texas. My rent for 1 bedroom 1 bath is $540 per month.
mutive 16th-Jul-2013 12:17 am (UTC)
Eh, I've seen rents for around $500/month out here.

Of course, "out here" = rural Kentucky. (Where going without a car isn't exactly possible.) Rents vary pretty widely. It's not super impossible to get a decent place to live in a small city for less than a rat hole in a big city. (With that said, health insurance, food, etc. is still pretty much the same price. So it's not like the McDonald's budget makes any sense in the real world.)
wrestlingdog 16th-Jul-2013 12:29 am (UTC)
I spend wayyy more than that a month on my furnished room @ grad school, which is basically a glorified dorm room.
etherealtsuki 16th-Jul-2013 01:18 am (UTC)
I think it's assuming that you're not living on your own.

It's doable in Brooklyn or Queens if you live in an unpopular (not necessarily dangerous, just not hipster-chic) neighborhood with two others in a 3LDK. Not going to be spacious rooms, obviously.

paksenarrion2 16th-Jul-2013 02:08 am (UTC)
I live just outside of Metro Atlanta and pay $650 for a 2 bedroom/2 bathroom apartment at 1190 square feet. Rents around here run somewhere around that price. Even in Atlanta, prices are not super high. I just didn't want to deal with the commute since I work outside the perimeter.

Granted, I moved down there thanks to a promotion at work. I was living in the Pacific Northwest where I was paying $580 for a 1 bed/1 bath at 480 square feet.

familyjules 16th-Jul-2013 02:12 am (UTC)
Come to Kansas! Here in Wichita my two bedroom apartment is $540 for about 1000 square feet. You can easily find houses here where the mortgage/rent would be comparable. The cost of living here is really low. It will be the only thing I miss when I finally move away from here.
sio 16th-Jul-2013 02:16 am (UTC)
i live in a desert dump of a town and some places can be found for $450-550 a month. then again, the cost of rent is lower here cuz who wants to live here?
sitakhet 16th-Jul-2013 02:20 am (UTC)
I paid 275$ (out of a 1050$/mo rent) living smack dab in a desirable neighbourhood in Montreal.

BUT, that rent was some kind of fluke because the owner just wants long-term tenants so he makes the price more desirable; the 6 1/2 was technically not legal since two of the rooms had no windows or closets (and mine was a 9x9x9 box,) and I lived with 3 people plus part-time roomies in the form of boyfriends.

However, depending on where you settle, you can find a bachelor's or a 2 1/2 for around 500-700$.
box_of_rocks 16th-Jul-2013 03:15 am (UTC)
The midwest. I live in Indy, my mortgage is less than that (if you don't include insurance and taxes) and I have rented for less than that.
rex_dart 16th-Jul-2013 03:20 am (UTC)
In Belleville, IL (STL suburb, biggest city downstate), we paid 500/mo for a two bedroom apartment of an okay size and good location that was pretty nice. Of course the landlord was a fucking idiot who we later found out wouldn't rent to black people in a neighborhood that was mostly black so it was probably so cheap just because he was trying to get people to move the fuck in. (Didn't work, he only ever had three out of eight apartments filled because who the hell is moving to Nojobsville, Illinois.)
lickety_split 16th-Jul-2013 03:25 am (UTC)
Okay so the rent is only cheap in places I'd either never want to live in ever or can't because, yeah, not putting my black self in that neighborhood.
sarien 16th-Jul-2013 03:56 am (UTC)
Eh. My rent is that much. I'm in Houston and have a roommate though. But lol at paying this price in most other cities. I've lived in LA, Boston, and NY where I dreamed of $600/month for rent. Tbh it's one of the few things keeping me in Texas.
omimouse 16th-Jul-2013 04:09 am (UTC)
In Lewisburg TN (a little town right on I-65 that had, last I checked, close to 20% unemployment) we rented a 2 bedroom, 2 bath apartment for around $500ish/month. Up here in Barboursville WV, we're not renting, but that's only because this is my husband's childhood home that his dad is letting us live in because he's living next door with his mother. And we're managing, but it's paycheck to paycheck.

Which is not good, for any number of reasons, but the foremost right now is that we really shouldn't be trying to live in this house. It has electricity, running water, a roof that mostly doesn't leak . . . and then we get to the floor that's starting to go, the black mould that's taking over the bathroom, the septic tank that's collapsed in on itself, the lack of central heat or air, (and believe me, they're both sorely missed in summer *and* winter) the list goes on and on.

We're slowly putting money aside and scrimping everywhere we can, because we know that we can't afford to fix this place, so we're going to have to move eventually. It's a race between our finances and the floor at this point. And fucking hell, I consider us lucky to be able to put *any* money aside.
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