CNY community members find the minimum wage challenge difficult to completeIn an effort to raise awareness about the plight of the working class, Central New York’s Fight for $15 Coalition organized a “minimum wage challenge.” For March 7 through 11, about two dozen people pledged to live on the minimum wage for their daily expenses, from transportation to food. After taking out money for constants such as housing, car payments and bills, participants were left with $97 for the week, or about $19 a day. The coalition hoped the challenge would encourage greater support for raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, up from New York’s current $9 an hour. After the challenge ended, the group traveled to Albany on March 15 for a rally at the state capitol. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been outspoken in his support of raising the minimum wage.
A budget of $97 per week or $19 per day for all expenses, excluding housing, car payments, credit card bills and childcare; stick to this budget for all other expenses during the five days of the challenge; participate in one task per day; post on social media daily to describe your experience and challenges using the hashtags #CNYfor15 and #Fightfor15
Step 1: Announce you’re taking the challenge Step 2: Take a grocery trip and post a video and/or photos to talk about what difficult decisions you had to make due to your budget limitations Step 3: Ride with a low-wage worker or take public transportation to work Step 4: Social activities: What would you normally be doing that you can’t do this week? Dinner with friends, a movie, etc. Are there affordable options within your budget? Step 5: Share a summary of your challenge
Weekly income: The challenge provides a weekly budget of $360 per week based on 40 hours of work at $9 per hour. Taxes: From the $360 salary, take out $40 for taxes, leaving $320 per week. Housing expenses: Deduct $223 per week for housing and utilities. This is the average amount a minimum-wage worker in New York pays for housing. Final budget: Deduct the taxes and housing costs from a $320 weekly salary, which leaves $97 per week or $19.40 for each day of the five-day challenge.