How do you live on a minimum wage?


Quick Answer

Surviving on a minimum wage is challenging and requires following a strict budget that mainly covers essentials such as rent, food and utilities. Find ways to stretch a dollar by pooling resources and avoiding activities that cost too much, such as eating out.

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Full Answer

Every purchasing choice matters when it comes to living on a minimum wage. However, there are strategies that help save money on basics such as clothing and transportation to work. When shopping for clothes, seek out bargains at discount stores. Inexpensive clothing is also available in thrift shops and some garage sales. Shopping for food items requires discipline to avoid buying foods not on the shopping list. Select foods such as beans, pasta and rice that allow the food budget to be stretched further. Avoid food vending machines and coffee shops. Another way to save money on food is to bring a homemade lunch to work or school.

When making purchases, opt to use a debit card, or pay cash from money on hand. Keep the credit card at home to use for emergencies. Commuting to work can take a chunk out of a shoestring budget. Ways to reduce transportation costs include taking public transportation, forming a car pooling group to share rides with coworkers, biking, or walking.

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