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Thursday, March 23, 2017
Living wage diary - week three
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¬†Former Universe columnist Paul Donovan, has become one of sixty people across the country to agree to take on the Church Action on Poverty challenge to live on the £4.10 an hour minimum wage for Lent. For Paul this will effectively mean that his disposable income to spend on food, clothes, leisure activities and travel amounts to some £66 a week. Here he describes how he's coped over the last week: Well the first full week of living on the minimum wage did not go brilliantly with my spending going over the £66 limit, forcing me to borrow £20 from my brother. The simple truth seems to be that living on the minimum wage amounts to social exclusion. It is possible to survive on the £4.10 an hour just so long as you don't go out too much. One dilemma that hit me this week concerned football. In December I went to a rare football match at West Ham United. A friend had a spare ticket and asked me go along. At the time I was about to pay but he said 'don't worry you can get the next one'. I have been waiting my moment to shell out the £68 required to return this favour and help ensure that the footballers can continue to live in the millionaire lifestyles to which they have become accustomed. Last week, I was again working with my friend who I could see was wondering had happened to the return ticket. I was forced into the embarrassing situation of pleading poverty and appealing for extra time to buy the ticket. Clearly the minimum wage and the peoples game are not immediate bedfellows. Had I bought the tickets then I would have been living on the bread and water diet mentioned last week for the next seven days. This incident also made me realise how the restrictions that the minimum wage bring to daily life cause you to plan ahead. The football match is going to have to wait until this Lenten action is over, as are a number of other expenses, because they simply cannot be catered for on the minimum wage budget. Obviously if you lived on the minimum wage or less all the time this would not be an option. Over the next couple of weeks I am going to have to tighten the belt further in order to stay inside my budget and also repay my brother his £20. I am thinking of going to visit my Mum and Dad in Eastbourne over the next week or so but already the calculations are coming into play. The rail fare down there costs around £19, but I won't be paying for food or board when I am there - I'll need to pick my time carefully. Of course were rail travel not so expensive the trip would not be causing such headaches.
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