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10 Things Only Minimum Wage Workers Understand

10 Things Only Minimum Wage Workers Understand

From the waitress always putting on a smile when you walk through the diner door, to the convenience store clerk whose occupation is fraught with low pay and dangerous work conditions, there are some things in life only minimum wage workers can understand.

If you work for minimum wage then I can imagine you will identify and understand these ten feelings. As a once minimum wage employee myself I wrote these from experience. For those of you who never have worked for minimum wage, may this give you some insight into the world of the worker.

You feel a sense of injustice among your peers

Low entry requirements usually mean trouble when it comes to the societal parts of minimum wage work. Based on seniority, you can feel as though your peers are always trying to put you in a box. From pushing your shifts around to taking your days off, it’s easy to feel left out.

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You can never get ahead financially

Since you don’t make enough money to ever really save, the slightest problem will set you back. Often the pay is so low you are barely able to provide food on the table. When something circumstantial happens, like a flat tire or a visit to the doctor, your whole finances are ruined for months.

You budget life around work

Instead of living life, you live the company’s schedule. The desperation really sets in when you work swing shifts and miss out on important family or friend meet-ups. This leads to you feeling left out of forward progress, and can make you pull away from social events altogether.

You experience the true difficulty of mobility

When you work a minimum wage job you can barely afford true transportation, like a car. This culture is created via government regulation, like property taxes on cars and high gas prices. It takes work just to get to the low paying job. A lot of mass transit systems in the United States just aren’t adequate.

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You are crushed by corporate pencil-pushing delays

When you work for a low wage, a two-week pay schedule can be devastating. Employers need to understand that the people they are hiring are relying on that paycheck week to week. It’s unfair to pay so little and still expect workers to wait out a one week hold, plus a two week pay schedule.

You feel stuck in one location

Want to smell the ocean air or climb the tops of the Blue Ridge Mountains? Not a chance for many who work low paying jobs. You can’t afford to take a vacation, nor whimsically move into a new location where the same minimum wage jobs are your future.

You can work hard and still go unnoticed

Ever feel like you go the extra mile, but management never notices? You aren’t alone! A lot of people that work a minimum wage job feel like no matter what they do they will never see an advancement within the company they work for thanks to pedigree.

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You rarely feel any benefit for working as much as you do

We can all feel like we are going nowhere at times, but it’s especially true for those who are working minimum wage jobs. Day after day you go into work, and by the end of the week you aren’t any better off than you were the month before. It’s a sinking feeling.

You make less money, even when you make more

The tax code is set against those rising up from the bottom. You pay an employment tax, not an investment tax. So when you finally do get a leg up and make some decent money, you lose it to Uncle Sam. Working more for less breaks the spirits of those who want to achieve.

You feel pressure from your dependents

They love you and you surely love them. One reason you work long hours, swing shifts, and put up with low wages is due to people counting on what little money you do make. It feels impossible to make a transition towards a better career when you constantly have to produce bread for the family.

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It’s important to remember that even though it feels like the wind of life is against you, you can still improve your skill set and gain better positions of employment. Often we have to take five steps forward and two steps back to go forward at all.

At the end of the day we have to persevere, gain power through knowledge, and apply ourselves. Once you decide to be something in life, you can truly be it!

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Joseph Mongan

Journalist

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Published on November 20, 2018

The Best Ways to Save Money Even Impulsive Spenders Can Get Behind

The Best Ways to Save Money Even Impulsive Spenders Can Get Behind

The truth is, there are many “money saving guides” online, but most don’t cover the root issue for not saving.

Once I’d discovered a few key factors that allowed me to save 10k in one year, I realized why most articles couldn’t help me. The problem is that even with the right strategies you can still fail to save money. You need to have the right systems in place and the right mindset.

In this guide, I’ll cover the best ways to save money — practical yet powerful steps you can take to start saving more. It won’t be easy but with hard work, I’m confident you’ll be able to save more money–even if you’re an impulsive spender.

Why Your Past Prevents You from Saving Money

Are you constantly thinking about your financial mistakes?

If so, these thoughts are holding you back from saving.

I get it, you wish you could go back in time to avoid your financial downfalls. But dwelling over your past will only rob you from your future. Instead, reflect on your mistakes and ask yourself what lessons you can learn from them.

It wasn’t easy for me to accept that I had accumulated thousands of dollars in credit card debt. Once I did, I started heading in the right direction. Embrace your past failures and use them as an opportunity to set new financial goals.

For example, after accepting that you’re thousands of dollars in debt create a plan to be debt free in a year or two. This way when you’ll be at peace even when you get negative thoughts about your finances. Now you can focus more time on saving and less on your past financial mistakes.

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How to Effortlessly Track Your Spending

Stop manually tracking your spending.

Leverage powerful analytic tools such as Personal Capital and these money management apps to do the work for you. This tool has worked for me and has kept me motivated to why I’m saving in the first place. Once you login to your Personal Capital dashboard, you’re able to view your net worth.

When I’d first signed up with Personal Capital, I had a negative net worth, but this motivated me to save more. With this tool, you can also view your spending patterns, expenses, and how much money you’re saving.

Use your net worth as your north star to saving more. Whenever you experience financial setbacks, view how far you’ve come along. Saving money is only half the battle, being consistent is the other half.

The Truth on Why You Keep Failing

Saving money isn’t sexy. If it was, wouldn’t everyone be doing it?

Some people are natural savers, but most are impulsive spenders. Instead of denying that you’re an impulsive spender, embrace it.

Don’t try to save 60 to 70% of your income if this means you’ll live a miserable life. Saving money isn’t a race but a marathon. You’re saving for retirement and for large purchases.

If you’re currently having a hard time saving, start spending more money on nice things. This may sound counterintuitive but hear me out. Wouldn’t it be better to save $200 each month for 12 months instead of $500 for 3 months?

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Most people run into trouble because they create budgets that set them up for failure. This system won’t work for those who are frugal, but chances are they don’t need help saving. This system is for those who can’t save money and need to be rewarded for their hard work.

Only because you’re buying nice things doesn’t mean that you’ll save less. Here are some rules you should have in place:

  1. Save more than 50% of your available money (after expenses)
  2. Only buy nice things after saving
  3. Automate your savings with automatic bank transfers

These are the same rules that helped me save thousands each year while buying the latest iPhone. Focus only on items that are important to you. Remember, you can afford anything but not everything.

How to Foolproof Yourself out of Debt

Personal finance is a game. On one end, you’re earning money; and on the to other, you’re saving. But what ends up counting in the end isn’t how much you earn but how much you save. Research shows that about 60% of Americans spend more than they save.[1]

So how can you separate yourself from the 60%?

By not accumulating more debt. This way you’ll have more money to save and avoid having more financial obligations. A great way to stop accumulating debt is using cash to pay for all your transactions.

This will be challenging, depending on how reliant you are with your credit card, but it’s worth the effort. Not only will you stop accruing debt, but you’ll also be more conscious with what you buy.

For example, you’ll think twice about purchasing a new $200 headphone despite having the cash to buy them. According to a poll conducted by The CreditCards.com, 5 out of 6 Americans are impulsive spenders.[2]

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Telling yourself that you’ll have the discipline to not buy things won’t cut it. This is equal to having junk food in your fridge while trying to eat healthy–it’s only a matter of time before you slip. By using cash to make your purchases, you’ll spend less and save more.

A Proven Formula to Skyrocket Your Savings

Having proven systems in place to help you save more is important, but they’re not the best way to save money.

You can search for dozens of ways to save money, but there’ll always be a limit. Instead of spending the majority of your effort saving, look for ways to increase your income. The truth is that once you have the right systems in place, saving is easy.

What’s challenging is earning more money. There are many routes you can take to achieve this. For example, you can work long and hard at your current job to earn a raise. But there’s one problem–you’re depending on someone else to give you a raise.

Your company will have to have the budget, and you’ll have to know how to toot your own horn to get this raise. This isn’t to say that earning a raise is impossible, but things are better when you’re in control right? That’s why building a side-hustle is the best way to increase your income.

Think of your side-hustle as a part-time job doing something you enjoy. You can sell items on eBay for a profit, or design websites for small businesses. Building a side-hustle will be on the hardest things you’ll do, be too stubborn to quit.

During the early stages, you won’t be making money and that’s okay. Since you already have a source of income, you won’t be dependent on your side-hustle to pay for your expenses. Depending on how much time you invest in your side-hustle, it can one day replace your current income.

Whatever route you take, focus more on earning and save as much as possible. You have more control than you give yourself credit for.

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Transform Yourself into a Saving Money Machine

Saving money isn’t complicated but it’s one of the hardest things you’ll do.

By learning from your mistakes and rewarding yourself after saving you’ll save more. What would you do with an extra $200 or $500 each month? To some, this is life-changing money that can improve the quality of their lives.

The truth is saving money is an art. Save too much and you’ll quit, but save too little and you’ll pay for the consequences in the future. Saving money takes effort and having the right systems in place.

Imagine if you’d started saving an extra $100 this next month? Or, saved $20K in one year? Although it’s hard to imagine, this can be your reality if you follow the principles covered in this guide.

Take a moment to brainstorm which goals you’d be able to reach if you had extra money each month. Use these goals as motivation to help you stay on track on your journey to saving more. If I was able to save thousands of dollars with little guidance, imagine what you’ll be able to do.

What are you waiting for? Go and start saving money, the sky is your limit.

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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