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How to live working part-time and earning low wage salary?


In college my wife was very satisfied about her on campus employment. Working 5 – 6 hours before or after lectures at minimum wage she was able to earn close to $600 a month. It was actually type of job we considered as a part of her study because no one drives there just to work a few hours per day.

After graduation she applied for over 200 positions related to the field of her study, but not a single potential employer even consider paying decent salary to fresh college graduate. In addition, many companies offer only part time employment and low wage jobs is normally what you can expect to get without professional experience no matter whether you have a high school diploma or master’s degree. In fact, it seems like uneducated workforce in higher demand than young people who spend four or more years in college.

I’m not going to analyze real situation on a job market or discuss prosperities of students who invest thousands in education but eventually earning pennies while working on positions which do not even required any degree at all. Instead, let’s see what you are getting and how to survive on low wage part-time job.

After a few month and dozens of interviews my wife got a job which pays $9 per hour and offer 30 hours work week. Her biweekly paycheck was less than $500 after all deductions. Let see how far you can go on such salary.

Getting to work

You are lucky to find the work across the street from your house, but in real life it is nearly impossible. High probability you won’t be even able to find any employment applying only for jobs within walking distance from your home address. In college my wife use public transportation what, by the way, not a free service as well, but to the new work place it was impossible go get by bus or train and she needed a car. Living in a big city we were perfectly fine with one vehicle, but now have to purchase another one. Excluding price of an auto every week she filled the tank extracting nearly $150 from the monthly salary. Adding insurance, license plate sticker and unavoidable periodical maintenance second car cost us over $200 per month. Not long after getting the job, we raise a question does it really make sense to work one week just to cover expenses of a vehicle?

Feature prosperity

Some employees worked there for over 10 years and their wages were in $12 – $14 per hour range. Chances for getting better position or higher salary in near future were close to zero. The only positive factor which kept my wife at such work place was getting at least some experience.

How people able to survive working part-time at low wage salary?

As I used past tense, such employment was in the past as well, but in real life many people have low wage part time jobs and somehow even able to manage existence. If you do not have any debts, it is still possible to rent cheap room and have at least something on food and personal needs. But what about those who spend a few years in college just accumulating debts, and diploma didn’t help much in getting a better job? There are definitely more questions than answers, but we still spending thousands on certain degree with big hope to work less and earn more…