Over the years I’ve worked a lot of crummy jobs. I’ve worked a lot of low-paying jobs and jobs that paid all right but worked me to the bone.
I’ve been under-compensated; I’ve done jobs that were above my pay grade because I would work for less than I was worth. And I wasn’t happy, but I can honestly say that I’m happy now. I only make $5.00 an hour, and I am happier with that than ever before.
Maybe this sounds a little crazy. As of today, minimum wage in Arizona is $7.90 per hour. So, I make roughly $2.90 less per hour than I could working a low-skill job like fast food. Over 40 hours, that comes to $116 less per week.
Why would someone say they are happy to make less than the law requires an employer to pay them? To get to that answer, you have to dig a little deeper into costs versus wages.
Say I take a job for minimum wage, $7.90 per hour. I work away from home, and I have to drive 30 miles each day to get there and back. I use one gallon of gas every day to commute, and gas is roughly $3.00 per gallon, so in a week I use 5 gallons of gas or $15.
I will probably also get a coffee every day, which is about $4.00. So, I spend $20 per week there.
I have to eat lunch every day, and I probably won’t bring my lunch because it’s too much work first thing in the morning (just being honest!) That’s at least $5.00 per day and $25 per week. From my $7.90 per hour, I will make $316 in a week.
My small expenses equal $60 per week, so I am actually making only $6.40 per hour.
Now, here comes the kicker. I’ve got two kids who would have to go to daycare. The average weekly childcare rate for two kids my kids’ age is $296 per week. Now I’m down to making $20 for my 40 hours worth of work.
And, I have to stop homeschooling and send my older kids to public school. For $20 every week.
Which is really why I stopped working to begin with. I didn’t want someone else to raise my kid so that I could make chump change and bring home next to nothing.
Not that I was making minimum wage at my last job, but I still couldn’t stomach leaving my child with someone I didn’t know and paying them most of my paycheck.
We started rethinking what we needed to make in order to live. We changed our spending and our way of thinking.
We went down to one income seven years ago, and it has been mostly great. I have worked from home on occasion, but I’ve never gone back to work away from home. It has never been worth it to me. The true cost is too high.
I’m reading the book Walden by Henry David Thoreau right now. He talks about making less money and needing less stuff so you can spend more time doing the things you are passionate about. When we work ourselves to death for stuff, we don’t get to enjoy it, really.
It was published in 1854, and I cannot believe how well it echoes things that we deal with in our society today.
If we could focus more on what we love and enjoy our lives now, wouldn’t we live better lives than if we just focused on acquiring objects we don’t need? Objects will never make us happy, anyway.
Back to making $5.00 an hour. I’m working from home. It’s not much money, but it does help out and I don’t have to leave the house to make it.
I don’t have to sacrifice my kids’ education or my time raising my babies. I get all the snuggles I want, and I still get to teach my kids to read, write, love others, be kind, trust God, make good choices, learn life skills, and anything else that they need.
I have no external added costs, like extra clothing so I can work in an office or a lunch budget so I can eat out every day. I’m also doing something I enjoy.
I’d love it if I was making crazy good money, but I will take less money and the right situation any day over loads of money and a bad situation.
What is the least amount of money you have ever made per hour? Waiting tables at a bar, I made $2.15 per hour. What other jobs pay crummy wages? Would you be happy making $5.00 per hour? I’d love to hear from you!
**This post was a Featured Member Post at BlogHer 10/29/2014.**