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Are YOU Earning a Living Wage?

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[protected-iframe id=”37bbc8d2e83cea7da7f718b603ae51f5-29351879-13131339″ info=”http://www.accountingschoolguide.com/livingwage/_includes/livingWage.php” width=”600″ height=”420″ frameborder=”0″ scrolling=”no”]

Are YOU Earning a Living Wage? Use the interactive graphic above to find out!

First, adjust the slider at the bottom of the graphic above to match your wage. Then on the left, select how many adults and children are in your household. Finally, select a state to see where you fall between a poverty wage and a living wage. You can even zoom in on a particular state by selecting the state and then clicking on the plus sign that appears in the corner.

* States that are brighter mean that you would earn closer to a living wage in that state.
* States that are darker mean that you would earn closer to a poverty wage in that state.
* The light blue triangle above the wage slider shows the minimum wage for that state.
* The dark blue triangle below the wage slider shows the federal minimum wage.
* The box above your wage listing shows how many hours a week you would have to work just to earn a living wage.

[h2s_box]Interesting Facts

– Making minimum wage with one child is unlivable in all 50 states (assuming a 40 hour workweek)
– Of the states listed, HI and D.C. are the most expensive, requiring 56.2 hours of work per week just to get by.
– South Dakota, North Dakota, sections of Montana, and Eastern Washington are some of the most livable places in the United States if you are single and making minimum wage.
– For a married couple making $12 an hour, much of the Midwest and rural Pennsylvania are livable.[/h2s_box]

(Thanks, AccountingSchoolGuide.com!)


Bryn has 10 years' experience writing about coupons, freebies & deals. She is mortgage-free and has a Bachelors in Nursing & Education. Connect with Bryn on LinkedIn


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Comments 94

  1. Rae

    I would like to know how accountingschoolguide.com arrived at these figures. Do you have a link to their research methodology? P.S. Thanks for all the Easter deals!

    • southernrach

      I couldn’t find a link to their methods either and I am curious as well. Although, I have to say that these numbers are consistent with the U.S. Census data I use for my courses.

  2. sarah

    According to this NO…I’d have to be making $19.33/hr and work 65 hrs/wk to be earning a liveable wage for a family of 4 here in AZ. Funny stuff

  3. Rachel Barker

    How does it factor in your spouses income? Wouldn’t that make quite a difference?

    • FuzzyPeach73

      If there are 2 of you working, I would take what each makes per hour and add it together for the number you would use. For example, he makes $18 per hour, she makes $15 per hour, then together they make $33 per hour, and the $33 is the number that would be used with the chart.

  4. cheapcheap goes the mommy

    I love this chart..too funny. We are below the poverty level on most gov scales..but I coupon EVERYTHING! and our Acct tells me all time..just keep doing what your doing..she says she has couples who make triple what we earn have two less kids and Still CANNOT pay there bills. Makes me proud..I’m doing my part to help our Family..Couldn’t do it without you Collin! Thanks!

    • Heather

      My Aunt who is a CPA tells me the SAME thing! It is not necessarily how much money you make, but what you do with your money. She had clients with six figure incomes that were “in debt up to their eyeballs.” Yes, you need enough to cover living expenses, but I see a lot of people spend a lot of money on things that aren’t necessary.

      • cheapcheap goes the mommy

        Amen Heather! Couldn’t have said it better..its not the “things” you get..its how you make memories with your loved ones with those things…(at discounted prices) that matters πŸ™‚ I finally told my son he got the 17.49 sketchers..he was totally freaking out! at that price..so was Mommy! πŸ™‚

    • GFT

      Yes, agreed. We’re a one-income family (SAHM here) in much better financial shape than many of our 2-income friends. We’re homeowners that have eliminated our debt and don’t have any bills other than monthly maintenance stuff like groceries and electric. I’m most proud of the fact that we paid off my student loan 10 years early. Woo hoo!!

      We live below our means but we also try to make smart money choices. Just because a family has 2 incomes doesn’t mean they’re making wise financial decisions. 1 income families don’t always make smart decisions either but I get annoyed when people assume that 1 income families are always worse off than 2 income ones.

    • Lynne

      I agree it’s not always what you make but what you do with your money. We are a family of 4 living on my husbands income of $10.75/hr along with an extra $100 a week I make babysitting part time. We have a mortgage and all the usual household bills. I would love to go out shopping just because, but there isn’t room in the budget for that. We need a new car but can’t afford one right now so we save a little every month to put towards a new one. I was raised with the philosophy if you want something you save for it. We lived with my in laws for the first 3 years we were married because we wanted to save up for a good down payment on a house (at that time I was working full time -no kids yet) we saved up $60,000 in that time. Couponing and being frugal with what we have help us stay ahead every month….that and living by a very strict budget.

      • shawynabelle

        But most people don’t have the option to live at home with family. We are a family of four and have never had the luxury of someone letting us live with them. It has taken years of being frugal for us to pay most of our debt down and get in a situation that we can start saving for a home.

        • Lynne

          Agreed. We are very fortunate to have family close by. If we didn’t we would still be saving up for our house

  5. momtomyhandful

    Does this assume that both adults are working full time?

  6. Misty Nicole Overstreet-Roberts

    What this chart does not take into consideration is one key element, women. Women are the largest underpaid minority in this country, by one-third statistically, they also supply unpaid services for children, elderly care, and disabled care. According to the latest Senate findings committee, unpaid labor to women in 2010 was $409 Billion dollars, which is more than the yearly earnings for Walmart that year! Also, in Forbes recently they showed that the average male college grad will take 9 years to pay off student loan debt, whereas their female counterparts, tool 17 years! As a graduate student, that’s scary to me!

    • Carol_R

      A lot of that in my opinion is due to personal choice. It’s been a long time since I was in college but I was one of the few women who got a degree in a science field. That has changed a lot but women need to make smart choices and go into fields that pay well.

      • Misty Nicole Overstreet-Roberts

        Except making less per hour, based on gender. That’s not a choice.

        • Potato

          I’ll have paid off my student loans long before my husband is finished paying his, actually. I also made $10K more per year than he did for the same faculty job.

          • Faith

            I also had a graduate degree in a science field. I earned 20k more than my husband when I worked. Now I am a sahm and I love it. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

            If you compare single men’s earnings to single women’s earnings they are almost equal. Women earn 95 cents to every dollar, but women hold fewer science degrees so that makes sense. As a woman, I never felt I earned less because of my gender.

            • Anna

              Agreed 100%. I also have a science degree and make 20k more than hubby.

  7. jenny bosse

    this is weird it says 18.55/hr livable wage for ME with 56 hours a week? My husband makes less than that and I dont work, I stay home with my baby; all the great deals collin posts really helps. I honestly believe if I didnt coupon I would have to go to work

    • Chrystalyn

      The 18.55/hr is how much a much money you’d have to make to work a 40 hour week. What you put as how much you make is where the 56 hours a week comes from.

  8. cindy

    This article needs a follow up. The one factor that influences these figures….taxes…taxes…and more taxes. State Tax, Local Tax, Sales Tax, Consumption Tax, Gas Tax, Luxury Tax, Property Tax, Income Tax……do people not see that government is out of control. There is a new push for raising the minimum wage……There should be an outcry (it’s called VOTING) for reducing taxes……and I mean ALL of them.

    • Misty Nicole Overstreet-Roberts

      Sure, if you wish to live in a country without infrastructure, public education, disease research, care for the disabled, social security, student grants, environmental oversight, student lunches, and non-profits. We cannot afford to live in a country without taxes. In both the 1990’s and 1950’s, taxes were raised, and the country saw the only two periods of stable economic surpluses since the start of the 19th century! As a political scientist, I can tell you that that statement is incredible off-base!

      • gohogsgoinar

        What is your personal opinion about flat tax? I haven’t seen anything from anyone other than the politicians that are pushing for it. Thanks!

        • Misty Nicole Overstreet-Roberts

          I am not in favor of a flat tax. A flat nine percent tax would be ideal if all incomes were equalized on this country, but they aren’t. In order for a flat tax to work, low-income families must spend money on the same necessities required by higher-income people. The problem is that after necessities are purchased, poorer taxpayers will have less money left over to pay taxes, at the same rate as those earning higher income amounts. Also, this system would be implemented as an attempt to dismantle the IRS, which could send nearly 30,000 federal employees out of work. Also, by giving a flat tax to corporations, many programs directly involved with education, for example, would lose a great revenue source. The government relies heavily on revenue generated from income taxes, and without those income taxes this country could fall into pre-FDR reforms of the 1930’s. This all stems from a Reaganomics perspective, and it is safe to say that the economic structuring of the 1980’s directly led to the market bottoming out in the early 2000’s. I don’t think people realize how integral and integrated the tax-based safety net in this country is. As well, people keep quoting “politicians,” and should instead look at mismanagement from a state and local level, not just a federal level when seeking to lower taxes and tax initiatives together!

          • gohogsgoinar

            Thank you for a great explanation. That was what I thought but couldn’t gather in words to express.

            • Faith

              Read the book the fair tax. It is one of the best arguments I have seen for changing the tax system and it finds jobs for all those irs people we won’t need anymore. It basically says that we should tax everything we buy so everyone pays tax (tourists, drug dealers, and everyone else). We all use the roads so why not pay for them. It gives a payment back to you if you earn less than a certain amount, just like te health care system does. Anyhow. The book is awesome at explaining it in simple terms. I enjoyed it.

          • oliushka

            I cam from a country with a flat tax. I disagree with you completely, flat tax works! Government usually sets lower basi tax for main products ( milk bread 5%) and higher for non-basic products ( meats, furniture, etc 20%). You pay as you shop, if you have lower income – you don’t buy as much and you pay less taxes. If you making more money you spend more and thus pay more taxes. Argument about IRS and people losing jobs ? IRS for the most part exist with flat taxes too ( they check businesses that collect the tax and pay it to the government). And people dont have to deal with taxes at all. Just my 5 cents.

      • couponkay

        Misty Nicole….you are right on the money. Thirty years of Reagonomics has “trickled up” the wealth. Those at the top are doing better than ever. Whereas the middle and working class have seen their wages level off and go down. I have heard that if minimum wage had kept pace with productivity, those making minimum would be at $22/hr. What we’ve ended up with is the 99% paying all the taxes while the 1% parks their money off-shore and highly profitable corporations pay nothing in taxes or next to it. Those are the real welfare queens. Can you imagine the money we’d have if companies paid their fair share?
        Back to couponing…..I love the posts where people are having the life they want and couponing helps that happen. Life is all about priorities and I applaud families who use couponing to make their priorities a reality. You guys rock!!! At my house, couponing and living below our means has allowed us to save a ton for college for our kids, which starts this fall. We don’t qualify for any aid, but we are truly blessed to have the money saved and available for those tuition bills.
        Cheers to Collin and everything she does for us!

        • sashamanda

          Please do a little research…. the Federal Government has excellent data sites. The IRS claims that half of all Americans pay no net income taxes, and the top 25 percent of earners pay nearly 90 percent of income taxes collected. And 21 million jobs were added during the Reagan presidency — so much for “Reaganomics.” The current federal corporate tax rate is the highest in the developed world at 35 percent; but the biggest corporations, such as Apple and GE, don’t pay that because of a corrupt tax code.

        • JO

          We would be in great shape if 99% of Americans paid taxes. Actually about 49% pay no income taxes. Numbers change from yr. to yr. but go something like this – approx. 20% of Americans earn 53% of total US income and pay 67% of income tax collected. The bottom 50% of earners earn 12% of income and pay less than 2% of taxes. For years the top 50% of taxpayers have paid 94% of all income tax. What if earners decided to stop earning? What if they decided rather than move up to the next tax bracket they would just not? There is a point at which you earn nothing more than a higher tax. Of course, after so much you then earn above that break even pt. and get to keep some of your earnings. This sounds strange but if you think about it – hard workers are penalized for earning more. We better hope those hard workers never stop working hard.

    • FuzzyPeach73

      Amen Cindy! When over 1/4 of our wages go to taxes, and they still don’t have any money? I live in one of the higher taxing states, with politicians that could learn a thing or two about using something called a “budget,” and it’s ridiculous.

      • Angela

        I agree. Our family knows if we don’t have the money we don’t spend it. Period. The government needs to follow this, too. I love it when politicians “let” us keep some if our money. When I worked, we paid my entire yearly salary in taxes/FICA. That’s right, we got to keep only my husband’s salary mine all when to taxes. That is why I stopped working and stayed home with the kids, to pay less in taxes. Taxes are fine for schools, roads, police but too much government is also stifling.

  9. Dee

    This chart is ridiculous. It tells me I should be able to make a “living wage” by working about 20 hours where I live. Well, I’ll tell you what. If there’s a way to live on what I earn i 20 hours I’m doing something really wrong because I work 60 hours to be able to pay my bills. And, no, I don’t have all kinds of crazy bills on credit cards and such. I’m talking paying my mortgage, electric, heat, water, insurance, food, etc. I’d be in the street if I worked 20 hours a week.

    • Sarah

      Yep, same here.

    • pilotsandpugs

      I think by living they mean shacking up in a cardboard box and eating ramen noodles everyday. To be fair I guess that is a TYPE of living.

      • Chrystalyn

        That’s called existing, not living

    • Sheila

      Dee, I got the same results as you. And I’m from one of the lesser expensive areas of my state. And no, no extravagant living, just taking care of the basics, buying most of my clothes at thrift stores, and most of my every day needs with coupons, and still just squeaking by.

  10. rob

    This only factors in income ratios. It is not only what you make, but what you spend. Each person has a different idea of what needs and wants are in this society.

  11. Christina

    I live in Seattle and the tool says that with a spouse and a single child I only need to make $17.28 per hour for a living wadge. However, rent and electricity would consume more than 2/3 of that leaving me with about $1,000 per month for groceries, transportation, cable, internet, cellular, etc.

    Your transportation allowance would go toward riding the bus because a car would not be affordable. You would commute by bus up to 4 hours per day. Additionally, you’d need to transport your groceries on foot or by bus.

    • Christina

      I forgot about federal taxes. Guess you’d be eating cardboard.

      • Potato

        We spend far less than $1000/month on those last bills you listed. I think that is more than enough to pay them.

  12. Sarah

    What are they smoking? unless I did it wrong? It says $8.40 is a livable wage in my state. I’m single, $12 hourly, live VERY frugal. Small studio apt in a safe but modest neighborhood, 07 Honda, no cable, don’t go out to eat, don’t shop, don’t go to movies, straight talk phone service, and I can’t get ahead to save my life. I’m making min. payments on a small student loan but haven’t even been able to tackle my car loan yet (made through a relative so they’ve been lenient). Prices keep skyrocketing and I hate being in debt!

    • Sarah

      I’ve been thinking on this some more, and yes, I could be paying $100 less in rent a month… If I didn’t mind my car getting broken into on a regular basis and the occasional drive by shooting. I could have found a cheaper car, if I didn’t mind it breaking down in a year or two. I could probably trim my grocery budget, if I bought the cheapest, fatty meat, nutritionless white bread, and rarely shopped for produce. But is that “living”? Perhaps the researchers should have called this an “existing” income. Politicians and reporters alike are trying to lull us into thinking that these new low living standards are ok, but it’s NOT ok!

  13. Melissa

    This is all a push to increase the minimum wage. The problem is, when the minimum wage is increased, people lose jobs and businesses go under or have to increase their prices. There is no magic “fix”. It is just like the law in physics: for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. You change one thing in the economy and it impacts other things. Plus, minimum wage jobs are entry level jobs. If one plans to stay there all their lives and support a family by working at fast food, a minimum wage job is indeed insufficient. That person needs to do what it takes to increase their value as an employee.

    Yes, we have a crappy economy right now. There are thousands and thousands of businesses that have gone under in recent years. We are constantly being told that the recession is over. Yeah sure. Believe that and the rest of the fairy tales. But simply raising minimum wage is not a simple fix.

    The article talks about the single mother with one child and how she can not survive financially in any of the states. But does it take into consideration income and benefits that single mother may be receiving? How about child support from the child’s father? How about the Earned Income Tax Credit? What about food stamps? What about WIC? What about welfare payments? What about subsidized housing? As a former social worker I can attest to the fact that people on welfare can be receiving a benefits package that far surpass what hardworking families can provide for themselves without being on the government dole.

    What needs to be done is to improve our economy by making it easier for businesses to succeed rather than penalizing success with the government (both state and federal) stepping it to take a huge cut of the profits. When businesses succeed they can hire more people.Those people can provide for themselves and their families. When there is an environment that is conducive to business (and I am not talking the crony capitalism that is going on now where politicians in power promote the businesses that are providing paybacks to themselves) more entrepreneurs step forth to create new businesses, which in turn provides more opportunities for them to hire new employees.

    • Amy

      Very well said, thanks!

    • christina

      Very nicely worded!

    • Donna

      Good point.

    • Marie S.

      Well said! Most of the manufacturing employees at my job living “below poverty” have nicer phones, nicer cars, more big screen televisions and brand new gaming systems, etc than our family does. Sure, there are some driving older model cars, but there are many driving cars we can’t afford on our dual incomes after paying high taxes, healthcare, food, utilities, mortgage, and such.

    • Val

      There is absolutely NO proof that increasing minimum wage will lead to job loss. In fact, it is the opposite. Walmart makes BILLIoNS while its employees are on food stamps. It’s ridiculous. Companies like GE and Verizon pay NO taxes. Do the research.

      • Melissa

        Well Val, do a little research on your own. Here is one for starters. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, which is only discussing a minimum wage increase to $10.10 per hour (far less of the increase the original post is suggesting) projects a loss of 500,000 jobs: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/02/18/usa-wage-cbo-idUSL2N0LN14Q20140218

        In addition, I suggest you talk with some real live business owners and ask them how much an increase will impact their businesses. You may not know that most businesses in the country are small businesses. Even an employer with as few as one employee whose hourly rate is increased by $2 an hour, would have to drum up $4000 more business a year just to cover that increase. An employer with 10 employees would have to take in $40,000 more a year. That is a huge increase in sales that would be needed at a time when business costs are skyrocketing due to Obamacare and many businesses are just trying to survive.

        • ameri

          You are well informed, Melissa. I totally agree with you ( and this comes from a person with accounting knowledge). The US economy is driven by small and medium businesses, not big corporations. I cannot believe the lack of knowledge about this subject from the people of this country.

    • Angela

      Melissa, can I nominate you for smartest H2S post of the day? I teach my kids to rely on themselves and not government.

    • Becky S.

      Well said – I like the analogy about raising minimum wage to the law of physics. I worked in a restaurant and the minimum wage went up while I was working there and guess what happened? The menu prices went up to cover their costs. Of course the companies don’t want to eat the cost {no pun intended.. ha} so they pass it along to the consumer.

      I’m sorry, raising the minimum wage is not the right answer. The answer is to crack down on corruption on both ends of the spectrum; those abusing the welfare system and those at the top of the scale abusing “the system”.

      @Val – companies that “don’t pay taxes” are likely just spending what they are making which becomes a “wash”. Hundreds of thousands of companies do the same thing. You probably do it yourself – if your tax accountant came to you and said “if you do X, you will come out ahead this year” would you do it? Of course you would because everyone looks out for themselves in the end.

      • rob

        I love your answer! I agree with both side abusing power.

    • Audrie

      Very well said, Melissa!

    • rob

      If you raise wages resources prices will go up. Basically nothing will change. As for the single parent if they knew they could not afford a child why have one to start off with? A parent trying to adopt who cannot afford a child shouldn’t. My argument changes if a divorce happens unexpectedly then you are a single parent with a child. That is a different story. The individuals that get all the benefits(welfare) are the ones that do not really need it, only a percentage that really need it are getting the benefits. I do not feel bad for businesses they should know they are getting into. A lot of people hear that local and small businesses are ones that go out of business. It happens all the time. There are better ways to create new jobs not just trying to create company after company. Truthfully those small businesses are just trying to be like bigger businesses start at the bottom and go to the top. My advice keep working your hardest cut spending on useless things (cable, car payments, huge house..ect) who are you trying to impress anyways?Do you really need all this or just really want it? What happened to living simple not needing much?Sorry if the truth hurts. It is reality. If there is economic hardship it’s the self to blame not other people. I am a college student with a lot of school debt yet i survive and don’t blame the government or businesses. I decide not to be a capitalist. I do not have anyone helping me out financially i bust myself to where I am at now. If a college student can do it then you should be able to too:)

    • Lorene

      Small business will be the ones who will suffer the most. Most mom and pop shops don’t have a large profit margin to begin with. So they have to make a choice. Either pass the additional cost of labor on to the customer or lay off workers or close up all together. People need to realize that raising the minimum wage is not the perfect end. It will cost more……period.

    • Megan C

      Thank you Mellisa for your comment. Very well said. I wish more people understood these concepts like you do! I’ll back you if you ever run for office πŸ™‚

  14. Star Studded Apparel

    Chart is crazy. I live in California, make six figures, my husband stays home with the kids and we still struggle! The cost of living out here is ridiculous, but I coupon so that saves us!

  15. pilotsandpugs

    Yeah, this survey is whack (yeap, I just said whack). The slider doesn’t even go up to my wage, and I don’t make that much, seriously. If I use the highest salary it shows it says I only have to work less than 20 hours a week, hahaha. I work two jobs, about 50-65 hours a week, and still feel I cannot get ahead. My car is paid off, no debt, modest apartment, no kids, live frugally, and I still don’t know when I could afford a house on my own. The problem is taxes eat about 50% of people’s income, especially if your single with no deductions. Once you add in federal, state, and local sales tax you aren’t left with much (that’s triple taxation by the way, which is cray cray). Add in a little inflation, a dash of Obamacare, and stagnant wages and you have a recipe for funnnnn living. LOL, I’m honestly not pessimistic, just realistic. I am happy I can live comfortably, but this survey is still whacky dack.

  16. Charlotte

    We are now (and then some) but didn’t always. We’ve just paid off one car, got some CC debt to go, and then a few thousand $$ in student loans, 2nd car and mortgage. We paid off the car before the CC because the car had 10% APR and the credit card 0% APR for one year.

    Tip for anyone wanting to go back to college and have the discipline to do it online: wgu.edu

    It is a non profit college, which is diversifying into online classes. Hubby got his bachelor’s degree through them, and plan to get his master’s through them too. Because he was so disciplined and they allow you do to it in your own time, he got his degree in 1 1/2 years. Would have been 1, but he took a break when we had our 2nd child.

  17. Melsmayhem

    MIT published something similar that had similar results for us. It was completely bonkers; we can’t find an apartment in the SF Bay Area for $2100 a month even if I could get 3 teens to live that close together civilly. I think it is wildly optimistic but it does illustrate the disparity in cost of living across states very well.

    • Cassandra

      Wow, this discussion has been very interesting and enlightening.

  18. Amy

    I can’t access this site on my phone, and after reading all the comments I am interested in checking this out later.

  19. Dawn

    One thing I’ve always loved about Hip2Save is that it wasn’t political. Really hope that this post isn’t the beginning of the end of that. All of these types of things have an agenda, and so does posting a link to it πŸ™

    • Laura

      I completely agree!

    • meg

      Oh please! Collin isn’t making this political…some of the people commenting are! If u don’t like it then why are you reading the comments?

  20. L

    Wonder if they included the doubling of my health care costs now with Obama cancelling my formerly affordable health care policy? Now I pay twice as much with a $6000 deductible. No income in over 15 months so the $18,000 per year in premiums is hurting us badly. Hubs is a cancer survivor, though, so we cannot afford to go without.

    • Angela

      L, for us it is not so much the higher premiums with Obama care (or Obummer care, as I have seen I referred to) but the much, much higher deductible that means we never really get to use any with $7000 out of pocket first.

      • L

        Lucky us, we get both a higher premium and a higher deductible—yay ;). Agreed, it is a total bummer!

  21. Morganne

    According to the chart, my hubby…a firefighter, makes below the poverty line in our state and county. Thankfully, we live very very frugally (we have two children) and even though he only brought home about $17,000 last year we own our own home, have no debt, own two cars (outright) and save money at the end of the month. Yay, us! Lol. (Thanks, to Collin and Dave Ramsey for our success!)

    • Christi

      My husband is a firefighter as well. Thank you to you husband for all he does for others.

      • Maria

        My husband is not a firefighter, but I wanted to thank you both for what your families do. πŸ™‚

  22. Sarah

    I liked this chart. My husband and I are in the beginning stages of our lives and we recently became a one income family after my son was born. My husband works a lot of hours in construction ( he makes quite a bit less per hour than this chart suggests) and I do my best to make the dollars stretch. We don’t qualify for any government assistance, just barely, but we make it ok. At first it was hard and we struggled but I have learned a lot from this website and others on how to spend less. I have taken a step back and have realized what is really important in life. We do without A LOT and spend more time with each other and enjoying the little things. Couponing has been a God send for us, I can afford to feed my family well and stick to my very small budget. We were also able to purchase our first home recently, it is small and needs a lot of work but we are willing to do it and it keeps us busy. We have very little debt and maybe we don’t have a whole lot left over at the end of the day but we meet our obligations, we are satisfied and I get to stay at home full time with my son and to me that’s worth more than anything else in this world.

    • justme

      Well said Sarah! My kids don’t have all the material things that all the other kids have but they get a lot of love and attention from me. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. It’s not always easy but I’m trying to show them that you don’t have to have everything that everyone else has to be happy.

  23. Donna

    That’s weird – it only goes up to $65,000 a year??

  24. Penny

    This is depressing.

  25. Billy

    This doesn’t factor in the govt handouts?

    • P

      Yes it does

      • Melissa

        Where does it indicate that it is factoring government handouts? Not seeing it.

  26. lvillotta1laurie

    I make $33.00/hr as a nurse in the midwest. I only work 24hrs a week and my hospital gives FT benefits BCBS. According to the graph above I came in only having to work 20 hours a week. In the state of NE we have huge property taxes,car taxes. I own my home,car and have no debt. I am a single mom to 2 girls who are adopted from China and paid cash for both of their adoptions. I do not coupon,but shop mostly at Aldi’s and buy all other things on sale. We love to travel and take a big trip every other year. I have a nice Roth IRA and retirement through my job. I have some money put away for college accounts for both girls. We are doing amazing.

  27. Rae

    Im a SAHM & DH is military(almost 9yrs) and including ALL the allowances he gets per month we are just below living wage with two kids. There is no way we could afford to have our kids in day care so that I could work too, in our area we would end up paying more than I would make just for child care. I am super scared about what we will do when hubby gets out of the military this year. We also live frugally and are cutting back on expenses and things that are not needed. No more cable, no more overpriced cell phones, and we have drastically changed our diets recently too so we skip the “middle aisles” and bakery of the stores altogether which saves us A LOT.

  28. Rebecca S.

    I do find this interesting.
    Now considering i do the finances and not some algorithm made up by some person in a basement I can determined with certainty that my family makes a livable wage. We have 2 vehicles paid off, coupon, don’t go out and buy things on whim that just ends up in the closet, we just bought a house which gives us alot of debt, and we don’t take big vacations. We pay all bills on time, have plenty of food and clothing, toys for the little one, phones, internet, and plenty of love for each other. That is the criteria I use for determining a livable wage.

  29. Corina

    KS I would have to work 35.2 hrs a week to be livable.

  30. Linda

    This should not have been posted by a coupon site. It’s a political ploy. Sorry Colin, this post is a bad one and has nothing to do with being Hip2Save.

    • Renee

      wow, so a thought provoking post about the cost of living is now somehow political and -let me guess- you only feel the need to post something negative because you feel it is attacking your political agenda. Grow up.

    • meg

      Then don’t read the post. This is her site and she can post anything she wants. Not every post appeals to me…I just move on. Like an adult.

  31. melissa rhodes

    I have more than 3 kids! There is nowhere to input more data.

    • Paul Moore

      yes on the side

    • Paul Moore

      oh whoops! lol nvm thought you said 3

  32. Adrian

    Interesting. It says that our family could make a livable wage based on my salary alone. There.is.no.way. I have all of our insurances, our HSA, my 401K and Short Term/Long Term disability taken out, not to mention taxes. I am so thankful for my husband’s job and salary. We can live off of his (pay all of our bills) and we are able to use my salary for food, extras and savings. I can’t imagine trying to live off of just my salary and that the gov’t thinks it is doable!

  33. ashley

    how does it think the living wage in Michigan 8.73?

    • ashley

      i’d only have to work 55 hr/week to support the three of us, nbd lol

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