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Life on Minimum Wage

Updated on August 1, 2016

Feeding your family on a budget.

One of the most important things to account for when living on minimum wage is to ensure that you and your family are eating in a healthy and cost effective manner. There are several cardinal rules involved to accomplishing this.

1. Preplan your meals for the week.

By planning your meals, your able to get an idea of how much to expect to spend on food every week. You are also able to ensure that your family is maintaining a healthy and well rounded diet.

2. Purchase food that has a long shelf life.

It is critical to purchase food that has a sufficient shelf life. Doing so allows you flexibility, and ensures that you aren't constantly throwing away spoiled food. Canned food and frozen food have longer shelf lives than food that is refrigerated and can also help you preplan all of your meals. Only purchase refrigerated food if you are going to use it in the next few days.

3. Purchase snack foods (and other types when possible) at closeout stores or dollar stores.

I have found the food that Dollar Tree and Big Lots carries to be of high quality, and costing sometimes a quarter of the price that it would go for at a major discount department store. For example a box of cookies at Dollar Tree will go for only a dollar, whereas at a major discount department store a similar product can cost nearly $3! Remember name brands are not your friend, and don't pay the bills!

4. Avoid Name Brands!

Enough said, why pay 30% more for a similar product?

Great Meal Ideas for a family on minimum wage.

Frozen Lasagna- A great way to provide a balanced meal to your family. Often certain brands can sell as little as $5 and can feed a family of four.

Corned Beef Hash: With a store brand selling for less than $2 a can, and serving two people 18 grams of protein in a single serving its a great value. Two cans make a great meal for a family of four, throw on an egg for more nutritional value.

Pasta: Any type of pasta is great because it provides an easy and energizing meal for your family. One box costs less than $2, just add sauce and you got an easy meal under $5.

Eggs: Nutritious, filled with protein and a dozen costs less than $3. Easy way for multiple meals.

Instant Oatmeal: Complete meal in one pouch, and a box of 12 costs less than $2.

Mistakes I've made that you can avoid when buying a car on minimum wage.

Since my wife and I moved to Florida five years ago, we've owned a total of five cars. Most of the cars we have purchased have had some major problems. These mistakes have ended up costing us thousands of dollars. What seemed to be simple oversights ended up costing us big.

1. Not having the car looked over by a Mechanic.

The first car that we purchased out in Florida was a Twenty Year old Toyota with 117,000 miles on it. The first month we had it the car ran perfectly. By the second month we discovered that the car we had was a maintenance and environmental nightmare. It started when we were coming home late after celebrating the 4th of July at Daytona Beach. Just as I was turning in to our apartment complex the "Check Oil" light came on. Being a novice Car Owner, I thought to myself "No big deal" and planned on getting the oil changed the next morning. When I took the car in for the oil change I was informed that the car had both an oil leak and transmission leak. Again I brushed it off as no big deal until the oil light came on again. At this point my wife and I knew we had a significant problem on our hands. Gradually we were driving a car that was losing a quart of oil every 20 miles. The oil was leaking in several locations. I took it in and was given a repair quote of over $2,000! As much as I spent on the car. We tried different leak sealants none of which worked. Eventually we seized so much of the engine of the car that we could drive it no faster that 40 MPH. We decided to cut our losses and purchase a newer used vehicle, and were given a trade credit of only $500! By not having the car looked over and finding the oil leak we lost over $1500!

2. Purchasing an extended warranty.

Purchasing an extended warranty may give you temporary peace of mind,but do not be fooled! We purchased an extended warranty when we bought our 2005 Hyundai which had 43,000 miles. It really seemed like a great deal however, we never used it. Once we ran out of the extended warranty it seems that the problems really started to show. We ended up having to trade this car in, and the extended warranty we had purchased ended up putting us underwater on our old car. Whereas we would've only been $1,500 underwater, the warranty made it so we were nearly $4,000 underwater. Something we ended up gaining no benefit from cost us $2500!

3. Buying a car despite it's bad reputation because "It's a Great Deal."

Thinking of buying a car? Make sure that read the major consumer reviews before you do so. When the time came to replace our 2005 Hyundai we found a deal that we thought was incredible (Despite the model's less than stellar reputation.) You know the saying that "Anything that is too good to be true usually is?" Well, my wife and I found this out 18 months later when we again found ourselves back in a showroom trying to get the manufacture to help us rid ourselves of a car with an endless array of quality control problems. We really appreciated what the Dealer helped us with in trying to resolve the situation. We still however ended up thousands of dollars in the hole from this deal.

How often do you replace your car?

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