My Life On Minimum Wage is an ongoing series of stories from minimum wage workers all over Illinois.
My Life On Minimum Wage: Jophanie W.
I work at a warehouse where I make $8.25 an hour. I have a two year old son, and it is a struggle to raise a child, work full-time and go to school. Even though I work full-time, I have to use government programs like food stamps and a medical card to get by. This assistance helps, but it is still really difficult for me to pay my rent and bills on a minimum wage salary. My son and I have to live with two other adults in a two bedroom apartment because we can’t afford to live on our own. If there was a raise in the minimum wage, my son and I would have a chance at a better future.
My Life On Minimum Wage: Jason C.
My wife and I moved to Chicago in August. The job I have currently pays me $9.25 an hour. Even though that is slightly above minimum wage we still have trouble paying our bills. I am unable to save money and I can’t afford health insurance. My wife works as a teacher part-time so I am the main earner in our household. We barely have enough to pay rent and utilities. There is no way I would be able to raise kids on what I am making now.
My Life On Minimum Wage: Amanda M.
I have been working at Arby’s for three and a half years and I have only recently gotten a raise to $8.75 an hour. I have three kids, ages 1, 6 and 8. I have been on food stamps, a medical card and WIC for eight years. I wouldn’t have a place to live if I didn’t have a roommate. We have been living together for five years because I am not able to save any money. I have been in this situation so long because I am not able to save any money on my current income.
My Life On Minimum Wage: Justin D.
I work at Jimmy John’s and I get paid minimum wage. I have a daughter and a fiance, and if my fiance didn’t have a job there would be no way for us to make it. 100% of my check goes to paying our mortgage, and even then we’re just scraping by. Trying to raise my daughter while only making minimum wage is extremely stressful. It can be rip-your-hair-out, want-to-cry-in-a-corner stressful. We have to use things like food stamps and a medical card. If the minimum wage was raised then we wouldn’t have to rely on that. It’s crazy because the government will spend so much money downtown on building luxury condos, even though no one in Alton can afford to live there, but they ignore the working people that make up most of this town.
My Life On Minimum Wage: Jenna S.
I am a tipped worker at a restaurant, so according to Illinois law I only have to be paid 60% of the minimum wage, or $4.95 an hour. I am a single mother with a 5 month old son. I am worried because with the economy going so badly, people aren’t eating out as much or tipping as much. If things get worse and I can’t rely on my tips, then I am going to need to use things like food stamps. I am not able to save any money because I am living paycheck to paycheck, so if something unexpected happened I wouldn’t know what to do. We need this new law to raise the minimum wage because it would change the law for tipped workers so that they would get 100% of the minimum wage. We shouldn’t have to depend on something as unreliable as tips to survive.
My Life On Minimum Wage: Edward A.
I am a minimum wage worker at a restaurant and trying to provide for my family on a minimum wage salary is really tough. I have a fiance that makes minimum wage as well. We have three children and our paychecks combined barely cover the necessities like a roof over our heads, gas and lights, and clothes for the kids. We wouldn’t be able to make it without government assistance like food stamps and a medical card. There is constant stress because we are living paycheck to paycheck and never have enough money. Everyone needs help sometimes, especially since the economy is so bad and it has made life even harder for working people. This isn’t about needing more money for luxury things, we need a raise in the living wage in order to survive.
My Life On Minimum Wage: Roger M.
I have been working at McDonald’s for two years and it is very difficult to make ends meet on only $8.25 an hour. My wife and I raised our kids on minimum wage salaries and it was very hard for us to support our family and pay for basic needs like clothes and food. Right now we are dependent on food stamps because the cost of living is so expensive. Since the cost of living has kept increasing, I believe that the minimum wage should increase as well so that people can at least make enough money to survive.
My Life On Minimum Wage: Misty S.
I perform housekeeping and dietary duties at a home for senior citizens. I am currently married and have three step-children, but my husband is unemployed. There is a lot of stress being the only one working in a five person household. I love my job and the relationships I develop with the people I care for, but it isn’t easy doing this job and getting paid only $8.25 an hour. I work almost everyday, yet we still have trouble providing basic needs for our family. Most of my paycheck goes to rent. We have had to move around five times in the past couple of years because we couldn’t find any place that was affordable. We depend on food stamps to feed our kids and a medical card for healthcare. A raise in the minimum wage would help us have a stable place to live and a way to stop relying on government assistance.