It wasn’t until I hit $15 dollars an hour that I was able to pay all my bills comfortably and have money left over for entertainment. Instead of guessing and slowly increasing my hourly wage through promotions and job changes, I could have calculated my livable wage long before I took my first out-of-college job for $8.10 an hour. In fact, I would have known right away that $8.10 an hour wouldn’t pay my bills.
Bills fall into three categories: Housing, Miscellaneous and Emergency.
Housing includes every bill related to living somewhere. For my housing bills I include my rent, cell phone, electricity and internet. The only bill in that list that isn’t a fixed amount is my electricity. I budget $100 for my electric bill or about $20 more than my average electric bill. That ensures that I have a buffer just in case I use more electricity than anticipated. I budget $750 for these expenses.
For my miscellaneous bills, I include food, gas, car insurance, medical insurance, my gym membership, and any other regular bill that isn’t directly associated with my housing. During times of low income, I know I can cut some of these expenses. I can buy less food, cancel the gym membership, and downgrade my car insurance. For me, these expenses are $400 to $600 a month.
These are bills that simply can’t be budgeted for easily. They include car repairs, taxes, unforeseen medical expenses, and anything else that comes up suddenly and without warning. I try to budget $200 a month for emergencies. If I don’t use that money, it stays in the savings account, if I do; it’s not a hard knock against my regular finances.
These three categories cost me an average of $1600 dollars a month or roughly $10 dollars an hour for a 40 hour work week, but that’s before taxes. When I figure out my lowest livable wage, I have to include 23% more than I need so that my net income is $1600 dollars a month. That means that I need a minimum of $12.30 an hour to pay all my bills or $15 dollars an hour to have money leftover for entertainment.
Stacey Carroll is the author of the thriller series - Avia. She also authors the paranormal erotica series - The Blooddoll Factory. Stacey grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana. she went to college at Indiana State University (ISU) and graduated with a Bachelor's degree in aerospace in the professional pilot program. She has flown Cessna 152s, Cessna 172s, the Pipe Seneca and the King Air. She also graduated with a minor in computer science that specialized in web design.
She has always been interested in reading and writing, and the first book she was ever read was the Grimms Brother's Fairy tales. From the ages of 6 to 11, she read the Nancy Drew series. By the age of 11, she had graduated to Stephen King novels. A few of her favorites include Carrie, Tommyknockers, The Dark Tower Series up to book 3 (That's where it stopped in the late 80s/ early 90s), Pet Semetary, The Shining, Night Shift, The Stand, It, Cujo, Christine, The Eyes of the Dragon and Thinner (Richard Bachman). In her teen years, she moved on to Anne Rice and got through about four of those books before they degraded. If you've ever read Anne Rice, you know book 5 isn't readable. Stacey has read a couple Harry Potter books as she was introduced to them in the early 2000s, and she's never read or watched anything Twilight or 50 Shades. Sorry. I'm a vampire purist, and nothing needs to be said about the latter. You already know.
She is currently an author and freelance writer. She received an honorable mention in Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine in 2008 for a short story entitled The Field. In 2014, she was published in 13 Stories by Us by MacKenzie Publishing.
Other books by Stacey