Bridget Fagan: Live the Wage

Bridget Fagan

I participated in the Live the Wage Challenge September 22 – September 28.

By participating I agreed to live on $77 for the week which included food, transportation and any recreational spending.

bridget To be honest, I wasn’t too excited to take the “challenge” because I knew it would  temporarily alter the life I’m custom to. I felt it was important though for me to grasp, even  in the smallest way, what other Iowans go through every single day.

As a single person (not married) I have to worry primarily about myself and making sure I  pay my bills. I pay cheap rent because I live at my parent’s apartment. I know my  “situation” is different than most people living on minimum wage because the average person is a 35 year old woman – many who have children.

With all this said, the “challenge” was tough. I spent $74 out of the $77 primarily on food and transportation. I wasn’t able to eat at restaurants or really see my friends. My boyfriend and I stayed home every single night, which if you know us well you know that’s normal for us. I filled up on gas $10 at a time which only lasted one to two days. No frills.

I was lucky to not have any unexpected expenses come up. I quickly realized you can be one unexpected expense away from losing your apartment, car and stability.

Even though this was only for a week, it’s going to stay in my mind for a long time. I think it’s important for all of us, our friends and neighbors and especially our elected officials to take the challenge. Maybe folks won’t be so quick to judge other Iowa workers. Maybe our legislators will be moved to action.