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Sunday, December 4, 2016
Living wage diary - week 1
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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 action 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. Paul's life on the minimum wage began on Ash Wednesday and the following account covers the first five days. He will be updating us each week on how life is going. He writes: "The most notable thing about trying to live on the minimum wage is how quickly you start calculating every little expense. Whereas usually I would not take a great deal of notice of what I was spending, just so long as there was more coming in through the door than going out, living on the minimum wage means watching and measuring everything. And it is amazing just where the money goes. "Simply to meet someone say in Central London for a couple of drinks is likely to see little change out of £10. So I can already see from the first few days of the Lent action that socialising is going to have to be strictly rationed over the next six weeks. "In the first couple of days I was doing some shift work in south London which meant paying out £4.40 in tube fares. By taking my own made up sandwiches, I managed to save on lunch and keep the costs down to £10 for each day. Though on the second day the budget took a bit of a bash when I bought a couple of drinks for people. "On Friday night I did go out for a pre-arranged frugal Indian meal with a friend. This event provided one of the early dilemmas of living on the minimum wage, namely tipping waiters. Trying to keep the cost down to the minimum could mean not leaving a tip but is that not somewhat uncharitable given that the person serving the tables is probably on the minimum wage themselves. I left a tip and cut out breakfast the next day. "I had been due to go out on Saturday night but my friend was ill so I ended up staying at home. In the event this was fortunate given that had I gone out the budget for the first week would no doubt have been completely blown with still three days to go. From the first few days of living on the minimum wage I can see how difficult it is going to be - I could be down to bread and water before it is over."
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