The Beginning Of The End Ad
Gold Buying Guide: Golden Eagle Coins

Recent Posts

The Preppers Blueprint Economic Collapse Blog Get Prepared Now Ad

Enter your email to subscribe to The Economic Collapse Blog:

Delivered by FeedBurner

The “McDonald’s Budget”: Laughably Unrealistic But Also Deeply Tragic

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on Google+Share on LinkedInShare on StumbleUponEmail this to someone

The McDonald's BudgetCan you support a family on $2,000 a month?  Recently, McDonald’s and Visa teamed up to launch a website that is intended to help employees of McDonald’s manage their money.  The aspect of the website that is getting a tremendous amount of national attention is the “McDonald’s Budget” which is a sample monthly budget which is designed to help workers plan their spending.  You can see a copy of it for yourself right here.  This budget is laughably unrealistic, but it is also deeply tragic, because there are tens of millions of American workers that are actually trying to raise families on this kind of an income.

The first thing that you will notice about the McDonald’s Budget is that it expects workers to have two jobs.  It is an open admission that working at McDonald’s is not enough to survive.  So this budget assumes that the worker will take on a second job which will pay nearly as much as the first one does.  Assuming that both jobs pay about the minimum wage, the budget will require about 70 to 80 hours of work every week.

People can put in those kind of hours for a time, but after a while your body starts to break down.  I have been there, and I have known many others that have been there.

But let’s assume that the hypothetical worker that this budget is for can work that many hours indefinitely.  The budget assumes a yearly income of about $24,000 after taxes, and that would make it a fairly typical budget for a typical working class American.

In the United States today, 47 percent of all U.S. workers make less than $25,000 a year before taxes.  So millions upon millions of U.S. workers are trying to make ends meet each month on very limited incomes.

Does the “McDonald’s Budget” provide any solutions for those workers?

Well, this budget allocates $0 for food, so if you plan on following this budget you might want to anticipate fasting a lot each month.

This budget also allocates $0 for gasoline.  So either you will have to ride a bicycle or walk everywhere you go.

This budget does not allocate any money for clothing either.  If you really need something to wear, perhaps you can take some cash from the “monthly spending money” category and go down to the local thrift store and get something.

In addition, this budget has no money for water, no money for child care and you might as well forget about saving for retirement.  But if you work yourself 70 to 80 hours a week, you probably won’t even make it to retirement age anyway.

So what are some of the things that actually are in the budget?

Well, it allocates $20 a month for health insurance.

Wow – where can I sign up for that health insurance plan?

As the Washington Post noted, nobody is going to be able to get health insurance that cheaply…

Low-income individuals receive assistance from Medicaid, but an after-tax income of $24,720 would put Medicaid out of reach in most states. The same point will likely apply to the subsidies offered by Obamacare: An individual with an income of $17,000 in California will be able to get a basic health insurance plan at no cost, but an individual making $28,000 will have to pay at least $137 per month.

So even a young, healthy person will have to pay $100 or more for an individual health insurance policy in most circumstances. Perhaps McDonalds is tacitly admitting that many low-income workers, including McDonalds employees, can’t afford health insurance and simply make do without it.

The original version of the budget also assumed that the worker would spend zero dollars a month on “heating”.

Perhaps McDonald’s just expects their workers to freeze all winter.

The new version of the budget now allocates $50 a month for heating.  Perhaps that may work for the state of Florida, but anyone that lives in a northern state knows that it takes a whole lot more than that just to heat up your home to a level that is barely livable during the winter.

This budget is absolutely crazy.  But perhaps even more patronizing then the budget itself is the following statement that is made on the website: “You can have almost anything you want as long as you plan ahead and save for it.”

Oh really?

Do they expect anyone to actually fall for that line?

Don’t get me wrong.  Working at McDonald’s is great for some people.  I worked there myself when I was in high school.  But the vast majority of adult Americans need jobs that will enable them to take care of their families.  And those kinds of jobs are rapidly disappearing.

Last month, the U.S. economy lost 240,000 full-time jobs.  We are about 6 million full-time jobs below the all-time record that was set back in 2007.  For much more on this, please see my previous article entitled: “The Decline Of Breadwinner Jobs Has Resulted In The Longest Bread Lines In American History“.

Today, one out of every four American workers has a job that pays $10 an hour or less.  A lot of very talented people are cutting hair, flipping burgers or working for temp agencies.  Those people should be doing something that takes advantage of their skills and abilities, but the U.S. economy is not producing enough of those kinds of jobs anymore.

Unfortunately, this is only just the beginning.  The next major wave of the economic collapse is rapidly approaching, and when it strikes unemployment in this country is going to get much worse.

So don’t put all of your faith in the system, because the system is failing.  Even if you do have a good job right now, you could lose it at any moment.

Whatever you can do to become more independent of the system is a good thing.  For example, starting up a side business is a wonderful thing.  It takes a tremendous amount of effort, but nobody can fire you if you are the boss.

So what do you think of the “McDonald’s Budget”?  Please feel free to share your opinion by posting a comment below…


  • MichaelfromTheEconomicCollapse

    One of the readers alerted me to this “McDonald’s Budget” earlier today, and I just had to write about it.

    Inflation is rising but our incomes are not keeping pace, and families that try to survive on just a couple thousand dollars a month are really struggling these days.

    Do any of you have a story to share?


    • leonard

      Why are most people so happy and overjoyed as if they were all rich?

      • Syrin

        Normalcy bias

  • Bruce

    Work four jobs for six months, get fired from all of them and draw unemployment (7$/hr) for two years. Not sure if it could be done, but I’d try it if I was struggling.

  • K

    Just another example of how big corporations view their employees. Only a mindless idiot, would think that budget bears any resemblance to reality. So they must think their employees are mindless idiots. As I said in an earlier post it is all part of the plan. Work the remain workers to death. Make them hold 2 or 3 jobs just to make ends meet. An exhausted citizen, is a compliant citizen.

    • Syrin

      Think like a business owner. What skill does your average McD’s employee have that is unique and not easily replaced?How much education is required? How much additional profit does that employee bring in? McDonald’s is NOT supposed to be a career job. You do understand that almost ANY of those MILLIONS of undocumented democrats they want to give amnesty to would do the job for less if laws weren’t in place, right? It’s called competition. What do you think the price of a Happy Meal would be if labor costs all of a sudden doubled, but brought in no additional profit? They could automate half the jobs they do right now if they really wanted to. McD’s is NOT the problem.

      • Rodster

        Unfortunately a job at McDonald’s is now considered a career job, the same goes with bagging groceries or stocking shelves or working as a cashier.

        Unless you are self-employed there really aren’t any good jobs anymore. I remember back in the 80’s and I was working as a computer tech and I was making around $28K.

        If I wasn’t self employed it would be pretty hard for me to find a good job at 54.

        • Mondobeyondo

          That is sad.
          Being a career “fry guy” works when you’re 16 years old, but not so much when you’re 46.

      • K

        Sorry, if the only way I could run a business, was to give up any shred of moral decency. I would just not do it. Just because you can find a group that will work for even less, that does not make exploiting the current group right. Have you ever seen the shanties some people call home in the third world. Scrap wood and plastic, held together by a nail or two. Elementary age children, picking through garbage dumps. Do you want that here? Well with this race to the bottom, when it comes to wages, and work hours, it could happen one day. We were not put on this earth, just to chase profits.

        • Syrin

          It’s called reality. The sad thing about this thread is it doesn’t seem to dawn on anyone that they can work part time at McD’s while going to skill, developing a skill trade or even opening their own business. It is NOT the job of McD’s to be a charity to unskilled labor.

          • 2Gary2

            tax the greedy to help the needy. I am sick of my tax dollars subsidizing the low wage mcdonalds business model.

          • Syrin

            Your cut and paste powers are strong.

          • Tom_F

            @2Gary2, I’m sick of my tax dollars going to subsidize poor choices of the ignorant, the only segment of the population in the U.S. still breeding.

          • K

            It is reality, only until enough people refuse to accept it. Fascism and Communism were and are reality. Until the people no longer accept it. I choose to resist the evil.

          • cwaltz

            School costs money and time though. I would have respected the Mcdonalds team more if they had included education as a line item if they truly think their jobs should be filled by entry level workers- and if you are going to include it in there then the employee certainly isn’t going to be working 80 hour work weeks AND be able to go to school.

      • 2Gary2

        wrong–make the welfare queen mcdonalds pay their employees a living wage so tax payers do not have to subsidize their low wage business model. Mcdonalds is nothing without their employees.

        Tax the greedy to help the needy.

        • Syrin

          What would happen Gary? Can you think beyond your selfish desire to take from others? Can you follow a plan beyond one step to follow the logical conclusion? Rhetorical. All you know is how to cut and paste your elite overlord’s slogan ad nauseum without thought. Go read Mike Adams comments about you economic illiterates. McD’s job is not to give welfare to unskilled labor. Your beloved tyranny doesn’t even pay living wages to their unskilled labor. Care to try to understand why?

        • Tom_F

          Gary, McDonald’s is an international corporation, providing food people want at a good value. Taxing them to make you and other class-warriors will just make the food cost more.
          But that is probably what you class-warrior eco-greens want, to force people away from what they want so they might (MIGHT!) eat what you want.

          • 2Gary2

            No I am sick of my tax dollars subsidizing their low pay business model.

      • Akitawoman

        The discussion was whether McDonald’s and Visa offered a realistic budget for low-income workers. It is not a discussion about wages at McDonald’s.

  • Syrin

    McDonald’s isn’t the problem. At least they are trying to help. The problem is we have a gov’t that makes sitting at home collecting gov’t services in the form of welfare, food stamps and medicaid a more appealing career path than working. We have an education system that puts more value on teaching proper “fisting” technique rather than basic math and science. McDonald’s is not SUPPOSED to be a career job. it’s supposed to be an entry into the workforce. Labor gets paid what it’s worth, and unskilled labor isn’t worth much, especially when liberals want to bring in MILLIONS more from across the border. Want to fix this problem? Cut taxes in half, cut regulations in half, get the propaganda and politics out of education and give kids REAL skills, cut welfare and food stamp support by 66% and let people do their thing unhindered in the private sector. That’s the recipe for long term success, but the liberals need to have uneducated dependents for election after election so it will never happen. Seriously, if people all of a sudden became educated, didn’t need welfare, food stamps, and were hard working tax payers, what does the liberal agenda have to offer? Name a single successful liberal policy that didn’t make things worse?

    War on Poverty? Record poverty
    War on Drugs? Most addicted nation on planet
    War on Crime? Some of the worst crime on the planet

    So why are we spending TRILLIONS of dollars we don’t have on programs that DON’T FIX THE PROBLEM ?!?!? Simple. The liberals NEED dependents, they need to manufacture racial tensions, they need a broken education system so people will be long term brain dead dependents.

    • Gay Veteran

      “…We have an education system that puts more value on teaching proper “fisting” technique rather than basic math and science….”
      PROOF please
      “…unskilled labor isn’t worth much, especially when liberals want to bring in MILLIONS more from across the border….”
      who benefits? the big corporations
      The welfare state? It exists so the top 1% can control the country by buying off the bottom 50%. The middle class are nothing but tax donkeys.

      War on Drugs? that’s conservative, helps the prison-industrial compex

      • Shamus

        The S.T.E.M. grant system is operating to generate assistance in those fields BECAUSE USA is vastly behind in pre and post graduates vs the 3rd world countries. Our BA graduates average in the low 30% range vs India and Japan in the high 50%-mid 60% range. S(cience)T(echnological)E(ngineering)M(athematics)

        There is your proof. Look up STEM yourself for further data.

        • Syrin

          See, he’s too lazy to educate himself. In a thread about work, he demonstrates his utter laziness. It’s indicative of how pervasive the problem is.

          • Gay Veteran

            and you’re too lazy or ignorant to provide proof for YOUR comment:

            “…We have an education system that puts more value on teaching proper “fisting” technique rather than basic math and science….”

        • Gay Veteran

          what does that have to do with the first part of Syrin’s comment???

          “…We have an education system that puts more value on teaching proper “fisting” technique rather than basic math and science….”

      • Syrin

        You’re rambling incoherently. No one benefits. That should be patently obvious.

        • Gay Veteran

          in other words you’re all hat and no cattle, you can’t provide proof to back up YOUR comment:

          “…We have an education system that puts more value on teaching proper “fisting” technique rather than basic math and science….”

  • Day2Day

    Well, with Obamacare, you can cut those salaries in half, since all of those employees will be working under 30 hrs a week…

    And yea, i love how they expect you to work TWO full time jobs! LOL…

    What a joke…

    • Syrin

      You’re contradicting yourself. Two PART time jobs for a total of 58 hours a week which is roughly what I work already. Yeah imagine the horror. That’s 40 hours a week LESS than I worked during my fellowship year when I worked 80-100 hours a week easily. Works for me, and most people in my position. We would all love to work 35 hours a week with no skills, no education, and make $50,000 year. That’s the stoner dream, but not the work ethic that made this nation great.

      If you look at most successful people, you’ll find few if any working less than 50 hours a week.

      • Ralfine

        I wouldn’t want to be operated on by a doctor after he has been “awake” for 24 hours.

        • Guest

          Or a “doctor” with that kind of attitude. 🙂

          • Syrin

            What attitude? That people should be paid for what they do, not for existing? Any business that adopts your attitude is destined to fail. Get some skills, get educated and work, you anonymous bum.

          • Syrin

            Oh, my feelings are “hurt” your doubts and generalizations about my attitude. It must be sad to be able to contribute nothing beyond one sentence quips that do nothing other than attempt to demean others. If that’s the best you can do online, I’d hate to see your real life. Hey, give me a thumbs down and REALLY show me up. Please, show us all your depth. Look up kapsoi’s sarcoma. it will likely explain your rash.

        • Syrin

          Well, they changed the rule so that we can work a “mere” 80 hours a week in training. Yes, I literally fell asleep holding retractors during a 12 hour bilateral fem-pop operation after not sleeping for 36 hours, so trust me, I understand the danger. The trade off is that the new MDs coming out are far less skilled, ny their own admission. No good answer.

          • Ralfine

            I also worked 80 hours per week and 100 hours per week when I was younger.
            In the army I slept 4 hours a week during an exercise. I know how it feels to fall asleep without having any control about it.
            Fortunately I never had anything dangerous to operate. Actually, I made sure that my driver always has his 8 hours sleep.

            That aside, I do not see what you can learn in 20 hours half consciousness, that you couldn’t learn while being fully awake.

          • Syrin

            I agree, it becomes counter productive. Regardless, they are less skilled coming out of programs now than 10 years ago. The OB’s at my main hospital speak about it all the time.

          • Ralfine

            The probably have teachers that don’t sleep enough.

      • Day2Day

        So in your opinion, we are born to work our life away? No time for family, friends, recreational activities, or even sleep!

        Well, if you want to be a millionaire that bad, then have at it…

        But in my opinion, there is MUCH more to life than a job…

        I’m not advocating for people to be lazy, but come on… how can you rationalize an 80 hour work week as normal or anything close to ideal?

        Sounds like the good o’l massa, slave relationship to me…

        And I bet the successful Walton heirs are putting in overtime every week, with Bill Gates and Warren Buffet at the golf course…

        • Tom_F

          If you have the skills to work at McDonald’s, you are not entitled to a “family”. Or leisure. You need to get your life together, get some skills and get a good job to pay your own freight.

          • Syrin

            He will NEVER comprehend that as true as it is.

        • Syrin

          Hey, D bag. Stop putting words into my mouth. No, YOUR opinion is that people should not have to work but get paid lavish salaries for few hours, little skill, and no profitability. I suggest you open a business with that model and tell me how it goes. Yeah, your class jealousy jumps to the Walton heirs, and what percent of the welathy do you think they make up? 0.0000001% ?!?!? Care to focus on the exceedingly rare exception more? How about Sam himself? Think he got rich by recreating and moaning about it like you?

        • 2Gary2

          syrin is a retarded libertarian.

          • Syrin

            That’s the best you can do? You can’t even TRY to argue any more? Waving the intellectual white flag already?

            So what does that make you? Advanced cranio-rectal syndrome tyranny loving sycophant with cryptococcal meningitis? I’ll take retarded libertarian over that any day.

            Gary, you will not be alive in the next 5 years. You will not survive what is coming, and only you fleas will mourn your passing.

        • bob smith

          Agreed. At 80 hours a week you will not live to retirement. No time for your children or taking care of yourself. I have done it when I was young for several years and it was exhausting.

          • Tom_F

            @bobsmith, at 80 hours a week, why are you having children you cannot afford to raise, or will be around to parent? And, the 80 hour week” is a complete myth, unless you are misleadingly counting time from waking up, travel, lunch, breaks, etc.

          • geauxgeaux

            I’ve worked the mythical 80 hour week.

            Some employers push their people without regard to their well being or home life. My former employer called it “lean manufacturing”, which roughly translated meant getting each employee to do the work of 2 or 3.

            Perhaps you have been lucky enough not to have had to work such long hours, or for such a company, but I can tell you from experience that the jobs are out there, and it isn’t always the low skill positions that push people so hard.

          • Tom_F

            @gogo, maybe you did it once or twice, big woop. To meet a deadline or something. 12 hours a day at 7 days a week is 84 hours. Really? You did this for any extended period? What was the name of the company? What was your job? What was the task you were working on? Did you get paid for each hour you worked?
            Firemen work 3/24s, 72 hours/week. I have worked several jobs at the same time, the most I worked for any extended period (less than 2 years) was 55-60 hours/week.
            Mostly, though, I hear people attempt to aggrandize themselves by humble-bragging about the number of hours they work, and the math doesn’t work. Nobody around them works those hours, and nobody around them sees them work those hours. Yet somehow they claim the “80 hours a week!” Gotta say, I’m really doubtful this happens on any regular basis whatsoever. Prove me wrong.

      • ian

        Actually, working like a dog is not what made this country great. And it will also be your biggest regret on your deathbed. Nobody says they are glad they worked like a slave their entire life when faced with the end of life itself.

        • Syrin

          Yeah, nice try. I have an amazing family and spend all my free time with my family. Do you always make bad assumptions about things you know nothing about? Hard work and family life are not mutually exclusive. My lifestyle is very regular because I had a long term plan and vision, something clearly lacking around here.

        • Syrin

          So you think unskilled labor working part time living off of food stamps and welfare will make this nation great huh? You must be on Obama’s Cabinet.

        • Tom_F

          @ian, if these people are so motivated, they should be getting skills and degrees and planning to make themselves employable at a better-paying job. Not happening, though, do you wonder why?

  • Sackman

    Could it be 2 incomes and that includes the spouse. Many 2 person working families one can likely expect health insurance. One spouse can get another part time job. Sorry live within your means. You will be fine here. Many can move in with older parents. Double up. I see the positives. And it works. I am living proof of that. And happy.

  • Robert

    As a pastor in a rural area I know many families that would love to make that much.

    • Tom_F

      What are people doing having children when they cannot afford to raise them? God will provide?

      • Gay Veteran

        because the religious crazies oppose not only abortion but birth control

      • Richard T.

        Yes, He will. And He has. If you put your trust completely in Him He will not let you down. God has taken care of my family when I was growing up. Now I have my own family, and for the past 9 years, He has provided us time after time, miracles after miracles. We don’t need to worry about our daily necessities, if we seek God and His righteousness first.

  • Ralfine

    Yes, totally unrealistic.

    With just 2000 income I wouldn’t rent a place for 600, or spend 250 each month for the car, or 90 for electricity.

    Which means, for the home you need 850 per month.

    Could you get a different home where you won’t need a car? I never owned a car in my life. Always moved to public transport- or walking- distance of the job.

    I don’t have home insurance. If you need them, they don’t pay, because of some micro small print. So better save the money and get a lock and a good door, and check gas and lights and windows double before leaving the house and going to bed.

    Health insurance for just 20 per month is far too little.

    Cable/Phone for 100 per month is far too much. That’s the first to go.

    With 10 per adult and day for groceries, there is some money left to save. For a bicycle, for my niece to study, for a good sleeping bag in case it gets really cold here.

  • Rufus T Firefly

    Where’s the Burger King budget?

  • Kim

    It’s insulting.

  • ian

    and yet the majority of those on this site are against abortion, planned parenthood, welfare and assistance for the poor. How do you spell ‘hypocrite.?’

    • Richard T.

      Have you heard of the something called contraceptives? How about abstinence? How about getting married to a real man that is responsible and can raise the children? How about being responsible by avoiding fornication? How about putting up the baby for adoption?

      Just because someone is irresponsible doesn’t mean he or she has the right to MURDER another life!

  • Sev

    I stopped eating fast food no matter who made it about 9 years ago. I never looked back. Back for the economy and terrible for your health. Just watch “Supersize Me”. This is just one more reason to h8 on these vermin.

  • tfb

    How does Syrin have so much time to type here if they work so much?

    The problem with deregulation and reduction of food benefits is simple. Pay someone a dollar a day to flip burgers and starve, and someone is going to start a riot. Quick.

    Quit living in your fantasy Libertarian land, and try to think rationally.

    • Gay Veteran

      maybe because Syrin is a troll?

      • Syrin

        No, thread after thread indicates that would be you and Gary. In fact, you may be one in the same..

        • Gay Veteran

          sorry if you’re simply incapable of providing proof to back up your ignorant comments

    • Syrin

      Half day of work today, and my first day of posting in a week. Nice try. So you think we really need 86,000 plus PAGES of regulation? We had less than half of that in the 50’s when we created a stable and wealthy middle class. You are economically and historically illiterate to the point of idiocy.

  • markthetruth

    The Budget is missing

    Student loans


    Cell Phone (separate from home phone)

    Diapers for at least 3 years

    Car Maintenance (tires, oil change and repairs)

    $600 rent in NJ ! Welcome to my Attic Apartment.

    the end…

    • Tom_F

      Someone working at McDonald’s cannot afford to have children. And cannot afford their own apartment. They need to get some skills so they can promote (Mickey D store managers can make six figures) or get another job.

      • markthetruth

        It’s more about the stock holders.

        There french fries are made to last 2 to 3 days , the food is also under the heating lamps , so the meal your getting could be old.

        the end…

        • Tom_F

          Silly reply, markthetruth. You are incorrect, all food is sold within 10 minutes of preparation. If you had evidence otherwise, you would be a kazillionaire by suing McDs for breaking every health law on the books. And if you really think it is “about the stockholders” then you should buy MCD stock and put your money where your mouth is.

          But it isn’t about stockholders, it is about dumb people who think they are entitled to a family and to have children when they cannot even provide for themselves.

          • markthetruth


            The secret to the immortality of McDonald’s food

            the end…

          • I’ve heard that too. Mark, but the truth about the food sold at MD’s–it’s always fresh, and they have to pitch it after a certain amount of time. I’ve heard that they can’t even donate it to homeless people!

          • markthetruth

            Most are open 24/7 now though.

            the end…

          • Tom_F

            @markthetruth, so what? People want to buy McD’s. Are you saying they should not be allowed, that their freedom to do so should be infringed?
            This conversation is about ‘The McDonald’s budget”, and here’s a flash: The problem ain’t McDonald’s!:-)

          • markthetruth

            The problem is McD because they tried to justify their paying of minimum wage as there is a Push to raise the minimum wage that their going to cry about.

            the end…

          • Tom_F

            @mark, Really? Because from your previous posts, in which you make false assertions (from ignorance or malice? doesn’t matter, you are wrong!) I would have thought the problem was the stockholders, or the food, or the hours of operation, and now it is minimum wage? You sure keep changing your mind a lot, for someone who ends every different argument with ‘the end.’

          • markthetruth

            I’m not sure why i have to buy stock, i just said corner’s are cut for profits. And if you

            think otherwise you live on a different planet.

            the end…

          • swampy

            To Tom_FAre those who had children when they had good paying jobs, but lost them, DUMB?

          • Tom_F

            @swampy, you know exactly the type of dummies, working at McDonald’s and making <$2K/month, who go ahead have 3 kids by 3 different guys (two of whom are in prison) and then expect the rest of the world to pay for it.

          • markthetruth

            For one who’s not a dummy gets his facts wrong . McD income is only $1105. You smart people can’t read.

            the end…

          • Tom_F

            @mark, re-read the post you wrongly misread. This is the budget under discussion, not the imaginary one in only your mind.

          • cracker

            Right On…

        • ArigatouGozaimas

          “Fast Food” Is a misnomer. What is sold by the corporations are chemicals designed to taste good, addict you to the food, and deplete your body so badly that you eventually become dependent on the pharmaceutical industry. “Big Food” and “Big Medicine” are like second cousins. It’s not cheap anymore either, so I try to avoid it as much as possible.

          Don’t get me wrong, I’m a capitalist. I just don’t believe the big corporations have much to do with real capitalism anymore. They are more a part of a quasi-socialist aristocracy then any capitalist system.

  • mark

    I make 60k/yr. I have 3 kids. After taxes etc I clear $3,500/month. Sounds good right?

    Here is a real-world budget.

    Mortgage: $1100 Decent house not caving in.
    Food: $600
    Gasoline: $400 I can’t afford the rent in town so I have to live 40 miles from office.
    Heating Gas: $100
    Electric: $100
    Cable/phone internet: $100
    Car payments: $200
    Other Loans/credit card payments: $400
    things break in a house furnaces, roofs leak
    bad luck.
    Medical Bills: $200/negotiated w/ hospital
    My wife had emergency surgery last year and we can only afford high-deductible insurance from my company. Medical bill was almost 10 grand.

    That leaves about $400, but I believe in tithing so that’s it. We normally have about 10 bucks left at the end of the month. I put my house up for sale and will end up moving into a fixer-upper. I am college educated and I work in IT. My job is getting outsourced in about 6-12 months. Anyone else have a similar story? I’ll bet there are a million in the same boat.

    • Nick-Dog

      Wow. Thanks for sharing your story. At 60k its a still a squeeze. Best of luck to you and yours!

    • “V”

      Great post Mark, but what about
      Water/Sewer $70.00
      Property taxes $1200.00
      I live in Florida, electric $200-300 in Summer
      Avg – $100 during winter. Lets not forget when dear Mr. Murphy comes to visit and practice’s his special brand of law.

    • abby725

      what Jane responded I am surprised that a student can make $7950 in a few weeks on the internet. did you read this site link w­w­w.K­E­P­2.c­o­m

    • Pauly

      Was making $1000+/week with full benefits, now I’m making $500/week with Zero benefits. It’s doable but very humbling.

    • Jason McAllister

      you must be one of those entitled white folk. No but seriously, thanks for the post. The cost of living is always going up and the wages and jobs are frozen or losing ground.

    • Corey Michael Naughton

      I spend more on gas to get to work than I spend on all my other annual expenses combined. Choosing debt (repeatedly from the looks of your list) is your problem and the problem of so many like you. Remove the optional debt from this equation and you save $1,700 per month and >$20k per year. Also, learn to cook. I spend $100 per month on food with a minimal garden and orchard to offset costs.

  • Jagrick

    What i don’t understand is the placement of a family or children anywhere in that budget. I see it as a single person..even though it is somewhat unrealistic.

  • JailBanksters

    When will the Fun ever stop..

    The solution is to do what the Government does.

    If you can’t make your $25 daily, just slap it on Visa, what possible harm could it do. Works for the GovMent.

    • “V”

      In line at the grocery store I see this all the time, how long will it last?

      • JailBanksters

        I feel like taking it off them and setting fire to it. But it wouldn’t work they’d just reach in the wallet and grab another one. They don’t have any money because they are always paying interest, and are always using credit cards because they don’t have any money.

        How long will it last?, when they realize they will be better off to go cold turkey. Butt, there’s always a Butt, everybody does it, so it’s the new Norm, so it must be right, right.

  • Aremo

    Why is there a car payment but no money for gasoline? Maybe you could combine car payments and rent/mortgage i.e…. LIVE IN THE CAR. Also no line items for student loans and GOD help you if you have a divorce or children or medical bills as NONE of those go away in bankruptcy and jail is an immediate consequence of child support (which my NEVER be reduced for ANY reason)

    • HerrinSchadenfreude

      Look on the bright side. Everyone in jail is broke. Everyone eats, everyone’s got a bed and a roof.

      You can get child support lowered btw. There just has to be a demonstrably damned good reason and usually no objections from the custodial parent, unless the amount is a true hardship, in which case the court can in fact reduce it until it’s livable. They cannot destroy one’s ability to access the necessities of life. Sunday Ticket is pretty much out though and so is the Porsche and the coke habit.

  • PW

    Michael, good post. K, I think you are seeing the point in an important way that
    some may be missing. There is an underlying agenda (not McDonalds) of
    Big Brother government to keep folks discouraged and dependent on
    government. (see 40M Americans on food stamps). For good laugh, see the government CPI figures. Folks who are very tired and weary, out of resources (time and money) can’t fight the battle well. It’s always all about power and control – keep the citizenry compliant and dependent. In my view, it is evil…in the truest sense, evil. No food? No gasoline? Healthcare at
    $20?! No heat? This sort of ignorance and lying to ‘encourage’ folks is classless and mean. There are still far too many people in the dark about what is REALLY going on.

  • x

    My health insurance is a thousand dollars a month. I guess I wont be eating much.

  • Pencrna

    I have a friend who was tired of working for someone else. She started cleaning some houses on her day off, started cleaning the occasional house before closing. Saved her dough for a few months then cut her work hours. She went to FREE SCORE business lectures, got one on one help at score, bought a laptop with quick books, filed a dba, and tax license. Ordered business cards and quit her part time job in 3 months. She cleans like the freaking energizer bunny. Now realtors refer all their closing cleanings to her. She now has 1 part time employee. Makes more money than she dreamed. It just takes drive and ambition. And a good idea mixed with some guts to take a chance.

  • bobcat

    The kind of money McDonalds is illustrating here has choo choo trains on it.

  • Mondobeyondo

    And you thought Ronald McDonald was a clown..

  • Syrin

    Your first two sentences show us the CRUX of the problem. Finally, someone who actually understands how an economy and business works.

  • Mondobeyondo

    Are you SURE you don’t want fries with that?!?

  • Wally

    Let me give you this example. I live in San Diego, CA. 17 years ago my wife was very sick and couldn’t work. I had recently gotten out of the Navy and there aren’t a lot of Boiler Tech jobs in San Diego. To make ends meet I had a 40 hour a week job and a 24 an hour a week job plus I gave plasma 2 days a week. I did this for two years and Michael is a 100% correct, it will kill you. I used to wake up from a nap when I could worried that I was late for work, not knowing what time it is, etc. Very scary life to live. I switched jobs and hours and went to school with the GI bill but ended up working at least 3 part time jobs at any point of the next 3 years. Sometimes just two jobs for a couple of months. The numbers in this budget are completely unrealistic. Rent for $600, a car payment for $150? $20 for health? What about food, gas, incidentals? c’mon a $100 for other?

    • “V”

      I feel for you Wally and you have my admiration. $600 for rent / mortgage???? Must live in an abandon section fo Detroit.

      • Stephanie S

        Move to the Midwest. You can get a 2-bedroom apt. for $600 or even a whole house in some places. California is ridiculous.

  • 2Gary2

    Tax the greedy mcdonalds corp and force them to pay living wages.

    • Syrin

      How does taxing them make them pay living wages? Are you going to make the DC gov’t pay their unskilled workers living wages too, because right now they don’t? When McD’s automates all their positions and triples the prices of everything, will you be “happy”? No one will have a job, and things will be more expensive. Yeah ?!?!? The liberal dream. Shared misery. Uneducated unskilled masses with no hopes of a better future. Don’t try to better yourself, forcibly take from others. Worked well for all those other failed empires throughout history, didn’t it?

    • Robert (qslv)

      Gary,please, For once in your lifetime would you take your head out of your @$$ and think before you write? Thank you.

  • GSOB

    They did not place monthly food expenses because they feed you.

  • hero

    I read some of the comments & it brings tears to my eyes……but I want to work hard to the very end.


  • Colin

    I hear the common refrain, start a business. Okay, I get that. However, here is the problem for me. This isn’t a third world country where you can go out and start a business on the street. In this country, and many other first world countries, to start a business, a person needs references, good credit, a ready supply of free money, and an idea. The last part is no trouble in either a developed or developing country. Now, the first three are difficult to come by when you are a person who has social anxiety issues and need to be medicated, when you are a person who is recovering from the recent crash and have poor to medicare credit and/or haven’t been working for a while, and when you a person who has no income and/or belongs to the class known as the working poor (the “wage slaves”). And, I am sure that some will mention regulations, which can be burdensome, especially when a government employee makes a “human error” and you are expected to burden that “error”. So, can we be realistic, and say that for a majority of people that creating a business is not a feasible option, and that there are actually only two options: work at a crappy job earning crappy pay with crappy hours and relying on government assistance or not working – because you are unemployed – at a crappy job earning crappy pay with crappy hours and relying on government assistance.

    • michelle

      don’t forget permits, licenses and inspections to strting a business…over regulations to make states and feds richer.

  • rich

    silly, mythical, and unrealistic.

  • normanramsey

    Let’s hope everyone on the McDonald’s budget gets free food for working there and can walk to work even though they have a used car payment. It’s the only budget I have ever seen without fuel and food. But the good news is it includes cable.

    I had my M. Div. degree when I worked at McDonald’s years ago (1988), It helped us have some income when we first moved to a new place and I still had revivals and places to preach. It offered a flexible schedule until I found something better. It was and is meant to be a way station for most who work there.

    • “V”

      Or for the High School – College kids, retirees and such. But to raise a family, save for retirement, I just can’t see it.

    • cracker

      Times have changed my friend.

  • Sihaya

    I wouldn’t put “cutting hair” in the same category as flipping burgers. Stylists have certification and training, and unlike many small businesses, beauty salons are still going strong in this country. My daughter is a stylist and although her income is modest now, she has real earning potential once she develops a clientele. A burger flipper only has his/her next anonymous customer. True, stylists don’t create a product, but they create, and often sell products that people want.

  • “V”

    The spending plan example was most amusing, how can a family of 3 or 4 feed themselves for $20.00 a day? It takes more thasn that just to fill one paper bag with items – meat, bread, milk, vegtable, fruit, you are at or beyond $20.00 rather quickly. The gas was even more laughable. The people in charge of this program / brochure (just like the ones in DC) think if they just tell us something – enough times or repeated daily, we will accept what they say as fact and truth. Hopefully more people are waking up to this reality.

    • cracker

      Lots of ramen.

  • sth_txs

    $2k was some starting professionals take home over a decade ago making a low $40k’s salary; nothing much as has changed except the inflation. And if you live in a state with income tax and others, you are not that much better off than the minimum wage employee.

  • bob smith


    Shouldn’t we rename this the FOXCONN budget instead? It is certainly more applicable since this is where we are headed.

  • Jersey

    Who’s health insurance is $20? That won’t even cover the copay if you do actually go see a doctor. Most programs are 80/20 so where is that number coming from? If it is medicaid the who is raising the children when you have two jobs to qualify for medicaid?

    • cracker

      I guess one can go to the local vet?

  • swampy

    Only in their dreams!!!

  • Stephen

    My wife and I have 2 young kids and are a single income family that makes similar to some of the comments below, it is tough. That being said my parents and grandparents did it when they decided to start a family, its not supposed to be easy. That is part of the problem with welfare, the government is making it to easy for people to spit out kids they cant afford and get a free check every month with no consequences or penalties to them for not trying to plan their life. I grew up on a farm and my 3 brothers and sisters and I worked every day on that farm just to maintain, not to make money. We learned that if we didn’t do it it wouldn’t get done, so suck it up and do whatever it takes to get it done. The fact of the matter is society has taught the up and coming generation that they are entitled to things just for existing, sorry but that is not the case in the real world.
    Back to the working two jobs part, if more people would take initiative to have two or more jobs while they were young and their bodies could handle it, not only would the country not be so obese but they would learn that they need to plan and do something with their life. Whether it be work hard at your job and excel, learn a trade, or start a business. My point is that the new generation has become lazy and has not been taught how to work, survive, or budget. Everyone thinks they work a full time job all week so I should have a new car, new iPhone, nice clothes, etc… when in reality those things come in time with hard work. I’m Done….

  • cracker

    Complete JOKE …I’m sorry can’t stop laughing.

  • TooLittleTooLate

    Reading the above reminds me of how absolutely lucky I am. Yes, I bring job skills, for now, but, that can change.

    I, for one, am not taking this time for granted. I’ve taken the time to squirrel away what I can and move to the country.

  • Tom_F

    The turnover rate for McDonald’s store employees is 300%. That’s right, average length of tenure is 4 months. They mostly are retirees, teenagers, and illegals that barely speak English. These are not people that should be bringing children into the world without the skills and means to provide for those children.

  • frank1569

    The Wall Street Journal reports that it costs an average of $20,000/year to raise one child from birth to age 18. So there’s that.

    Meanwhile, the McD’s budget also excludes credit card debt – min average monthly payment $210. And it presumes the 1st job is 37.5 hours/week, (40 minus lunches,) when the average ‘full time’ work week at McD’s is 32-35 hours.

    No reason to worry about this situation, though – in just a few years, most fast-food workers will be replaced by robots anyway.

    • Jeffrey Missal

      the solution is simple: if you’re making minimum wage, you shouldn’t be having kids.

  • Sandbagger

    Visa teamed up with McDonald’s and presents this?

    Where’s the budgeted amount for your monthly Visa payment? Surely that’s how one is expected to make ends meet.

    Visa’s and McDonald’s execs are like Congress. They are so far removed from reality.

    I say to them: Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.

    Go on your budget.

    • HerrinSchadenfreude

      It goes without saying that Visa’s preselected application comes to such families with “DENIED” permanently pre-scrawled across the paper.

      More efficient that way. And the guy who used to stamp the paper “DENIED”? His own preselected app is enroute.

  • Mike Sharkey

    What planet are these people living on? 600//mo rent? You may be able to rent some storage space for 600/mo where I live, try $1200/mo for starters. Try $200-300/mo heating+electric, $400-500/mo gasoline + car maintenance. Food $600…..oh wait, I’m already over budget….okay, better add in the credit card debt payments….

    • Sandbagger

      Amen, brother.

      You may want to try cutting your living expense by moving back in with mom/dad. You can help them wipe in your spare time.

      Bonus: You can have them raise your children while you work an 80 hour day.


      If McD’s expects people to actually live this budget they’re smoking crack.

  • seth datta

    Younger generation is stuffed. By the banking/corporate/MIC cartel.

  • Lazarus

    Grandma’s been on a worse budget for years and no one seemed to concerned. hmmmmmmm Oh yea,,, She’s a useless eater leaching off society.

    And McDonalds is loved so much many are pulling it from their site… even InfoWars,,, get error 404.

    • Sandbagger

      I noticed that, too.

      What’s up, InfoWars? Can we really trust you?

  • Mondobeyondo

    You work at McDonald’s. You’re broke, You can’t afford clothing other than the uniform you’re given.
    Rent, gas, water, electricity? Umm, you’re broke, remember? Oh, you don’t forget. Hey, by the way, you have no money.

    You don’t need to be reminded of that, if you know where I’m coming from, You.. yes, you, the dude who pays the pool guy twice a week to make sure your swimming hole is cleaned – you don’t get it. I understand. It’s okay.

    You see, I was once one of you, in the highly exalted priviledged class or whatever. Not anymore.

  • Pauly

    Lottery tickets, beer(and illegal stuff ) and cigs?

  • ArigatouGozaimas

    From a utilitarian perspective, that budget is the worst propaganda ever written, They should stick to falsifying and parsing information that most people only have indirect knowledge of. Silence and mindless entertainment are the best placebos for the dependent class concerning the facts of our daily lives. Our lack of knowledge, or of useful skills, and our ambivalence in acquiring them, will be our undoing.

  • MeMadMax

    “Income from food stamps”
    There fixed it.
    And savings?
    HA! Hahahahahaha!

  • Katherine Hales-Atkinson

    The thing you didn’t mention was this, very few people who work there are on a full time schedule. I have friends who have worked for McDonalds, the hire almost everyone on a part time basis. So maybe the 1st job income should be split in half.
    Maybe that is why they include the fact you have to buy your own insurance because without full time workers they will not be required to have any for their workers.

  • R

    I hear ya. When my parents left school and started work in 1967, they had employers go round the neighbourhood actively throwing themselves at potential new young employees.
    Recruiters came from the factories (tobacco, pharmaceuticals to name but two), the civil service, and there were at least four different career routes that you could take with no shortage of jobs. If you didn’t like the job, you left on the Friday and got another one on Monday morning.
    Nowadays, even as a graduate, I cannot find full-time work because I’m ‘not trying hard enough’, ‘not willing to accept anything’, ‘have a poor CV’ or maybe it’s because employers don’t want to take on entry level staff and the fact that the economies of the world are about to tumble over the cliff.
    But still, despite the warning signs everywhere, hyperinflation kicking in, shanty towns, high rents, housing bubble, price of groceries, long unemployment queues and whole towns relying on state welfare, ‘I’m still not trying hard enough’ is the most viable explanation apparently. They don’t understand it’s not 1967 anymore and you can’t just walk into a shop, ask for a job and expect to be hired. If a 27 year old graduate with 6 years of work experience cannot get hired, what hope is there for a 50 year old who has just been laid off?
    And then there is 63% youth unemployment in Greece and 56% youth unemployment in Spain, 31% here in Ireland and around 23% in my home country of England.
    It is a scary and diabolical scenario.

  • Undecider

    You people are doing it all wrong. With the right amount of BS’ing, you can rake in around $100K per month on welfare. Just do the homework and maximize it. Work smart, not hard!

  • Barn Cat

    It’s socialist garbage to expect McDonalds to pay someone enough for them to support a family. McDonalds offers a job at rates competitive for their industry. They have nothing to apologize for. They admit people need a second job because you can’t get a full time job at McDonalds. They no longer offer full time jobs because they’d go bankrupt paying for Obamacare.

  • cherylmeril

    I think it’s very positive McDonald’s offering their employees a means to think about how to manage their money better, I wish an employer would have done that for me long ago I’d be much better off today. The fact is, anything that educates people on how to better manage their money shouldn’t be mocked with such cynicle viewpoints.

    Our culture has always had ups and downs in the economic spectrum. People generally have two choices, take the high or low road. In 1980 after high school I entered a real bad economy looking for a job. Ii was given many opportunities but blew them out of pride believing I deserved better. I eventually came to learn I wasn’t celebrity bound after all.

    Get a grip on reality, hard work and good ethics pays off. McDonalds did no harm offering their employees an education on budgeting their money, stop mocking these people. We’ve all had two jobs throughout our lives! We find ways of making extra money if we can. I used to clean houses as a side job. We do whatever we have to do to make it. Stop demeaning people this way, we all have to work to make a living.

  • Me

    I notice “food” and “gasoline” are sorely lacking in that budget. I guess that falls under “other”.
    I find those to be the two highest expenses in existence.
    The rest? Rent’s too low.
    I could support MYSELF on that. A FAMILY? Um no…

  • sdmule

    Hey Slick,

    Why are there very few decent paying jobs in America?? Look at all of the foreign made products in you and your parents house. Stop buying foreign made crap and the market for those crap products will dry up. Insist on products that are made in America. If they are more expensive, limit your desires or save up!! People have let their desires control their life instead of controlling their desires and enjoying their lives. Stop chasing the illusion that happiness lies in something you buy at a store!

  • Alex Denton

    I’m not even going to dissect this budget to show how flawed it is. It is painfully obvious to anyone with half a brain and many people have broken down parts of it. What this does illustrate is the underlying weakness of our current economy in regards to the gap in the inequality of wealth distribution growing even larger.

    The lower 99% are being squeezed so much that corporations can actually try to pass off a minimum wage job at McDonald’s as a typical “career” job with a straight face. Now I’m a staunch believer of the fact that financial problems the typical American faces has a lot to do with their own personal irresponsibly when it comes to money management.

    However, it is an undeniable fact that opportunities to get ahead in life have declined severely in America compared to 2 decades ago. Anyone who argues otherwise is a fool. And this is coming from someone who HAS gotten ahead exponentially over the last few years. But I’m not blind to the fact that I’m not the norm but an exception to the rule.

    Let me give a personal example. A friend of mine finished his studies just before the financial crisis of 2008. He finished with a master’s degree and no he didn’t get it in a useless field like liberal arts. He was stuck working a job for $11/hr for the next 1 ½ years because he couldn’t find a better job. Finally he found a “good” job that paid him a starting salary of $16.50/hour with a master’s degree……But hey at least he gets benefits.

    By the way this kid is hardworking, smart, has common sense and is practical when it comes to life. And he comes from a family that has an income in the top 3% of Americans. So he had the luxury of being able to live at home while he completed his studies. Yet, has parents taught him the value of a dollar by making him work part-time and pay all his bills from when he was 18 just to teach him responsibility. And a kid like him with proper education and life skills had to struggle to find a job in this economy. This is the sad state of the USA these days.

  • michelle

    We are living on 33,000 a year after having 50,000 a year plus side work before the recession. I only WISH I’d live to see 60k! The ONLY way we are making it is from letting our home go back to the bank and buying a dozer-bait foreclosure for cash that we work on ourselves. Our mortgage was sinking us.

  • michelle

    because they have DEBT they work that much.

Finca Bayano

Panama Relocation Tours



Facebook Twitter More...