The lady on my side of the counter said "how much do you need to make?"
Not the point lady, and really not a question you should ask someone. The friendly cook muttered, I can't make ends meet with two jobs at minimum wage. I just hope Obamacare can help cut some of my expenses."
The lady on my side of the counter went on a tirade about Obamacare. I sincerely believe she has no idea how the people she interacts with live or what they have to do to survive. So, I am going to take a moment to break down a minimum wage worker finances.
Minimum wage in Illinois is $8.25 per hour. Let's assume she works 40 hours per week. Most do not so the companies can avoid paying for benefits, but let's move past that for now.
After everything is paid out, the net take home pay is $266.95 per week for a single person. Next, let's assume this person lives downstate in Bloomington, IL instead of the more costly Chicago metropolitan area.
Rent for a studio apartment (not even a 1 bedroom) is $575 per month.
Add in utilities, you can add about $100 more per month if you are extremely frugal.
Food, toilet paper, toothpaste, cleaning goods etc, would be around $80 per week.
Assuming the person inherited a car or managed to gather enough money, the car is extremely reliable, old, paid off, and they still need to pay liability insurance...$70 per month.
Fuel for the car... $75 per month. (2 fill ups)
Just this puts the monthly bill total at $1,140 per month.
Monthly income is $1067.80.
This is with no cell phone, no internet access, no nights out, no new car payments, no hobbies, no auto repairs, no clothing allowance, no birthday gift giving, no health insurance, no doctor visit, no physicals, no dental, no optical, no trips to visit relatives... just... living.
This brings me to my point (as I almost always have one)... Before you criticize people for looking for a leg up, you may want to live in their shoes.