Finance Globe

U.S. financial and economic topics from several finance writers.
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McDonald's Sample Budget Reveals Low Wage Struggle

If you want a quick, cheap meal while you’re on the go, McDonald’s may be the first place that crosses your mind. But, it’s probably not a good idea to rely on the billion-dollar fast food chain for financial advice.

McDonald’s recently partnered with Visa to release personal finance advice via a website named Practical Money Skills for Life, found at On the site, you'll find basic financial advice like how to create a along with a sample budget.

The budget has been heavily criticized, not only because it’s missing some key expenses, but also because it’s presumptuous about the amount of money it takes to survive today. The sample budget assumes two incomes, either one person working two jobs or two people working one job each, would bring in a total monthly net income of just over $2,000. This person, or family, is then able to pay $600 toward rent, put $100 in savings, make a $150 car payment, and pay $100 for cable and a phone (among a few other expenses). Then, after everything is paid, this person (or family) has $750 or $25 a day left in spending money for child care, food, gas, household goods, personal care products, debt payments, etc.

Just going by McDonald’s sample budget, if you’re a single person with one job making $1,100 a month, you could not survive. Your rent or mortgage payment would take up the majority of your money, you’d spend the rest paying bills and have just a small amount left over to eat with and put gas in your car to get to work. If your income looks similar to the McDonald’s budget and you’re struggling, a lack of income may be the reason.

Unfortunately, there’s no quick and easy solution to this problem. While you may need more income to survive, getting a job that pays that income isn’t always easy, depending on your education and job experience. The low wages used in McDonald's sample budget may not be a problem in some parts of the country, where the cost of living is low. However, minimum wage still doesn't leave much room for accomplishing bigger financial goals like saving up a down payment for a house, contributing to a retirement plan, or paying off debt.

The budget at least gets the basics right. To make a good budget, you need to list and total all your sources of income, then do the same thing for each of your monthly expenses. Then, subtract monthly expenses from monthly income to find out how much money is left to spend. Getting in the habit of budgeting can help you better manage your money, no matter your income level, and can help you realize some areas where you can maximize your income.

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Sunday, 05 February 2023

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