Build Life Around Reality And Your Dreams Will Follow
It is possible to live the dream on a minimum wage salary but it will take hard work and financial commitment.
Every day there are people who work for a minimum wage salary and valued employees that keep Canada running.
In 2018, all provinces increased their minimum wage with Ontario going up by $2.40, Alberta $1.40 and B.C $1.30.
Quebec increased its minimum wage rate by 70 cents, and all other provinces hiked by between 10 cents and 30 cents.
Even then living on a minimum wage salary before the hike was a slippery slope of trying to make ends meet.
This is not the first time I’ve received an email from someone with grand visions of becoming rich while earning little money.
Living on a minimum wage salary means you don’t always get what you want but it doesn’t mean you can’t want what you can get.
Does that make sense?
By this I mean, increasing the chances of debt freedom and knowing that you owe nothing to anyone.
That type of get rich mission taps into a frugal living lifestyle and not for the short-term but the long-haul.
In some cases like the one below, you may even find that your pot of gold may grow in several directions.
Becoming Minimum Wage Salary Rich
About 10 years ago I almost had to file for bankruptcy because I was in debt which was embarrassing.
My parents at the time thought that I had a spending problem and I denied it over and over again.
Eventually, they bailed me out and I was able to pay off my debt and then my parents.
They were right and because I was too busy trying to look rich spending money I didn’t have, I lost myself.
Moving forward I’m married with one child and we’ve created more debt but not near as bad.
The amount we owe is $3339.88 on our Costco MasterCard and want to pay off as fast as possible.
Our 2020 mindset has changed and we want to learn how to get rich but there’s only one problem, we both earn minimum wage.
Here’s the catch though, our rich has nothing to do with zero’s and more to do with staying debt-free in a time when everyone seems to be struggling.
Both my husband and I have confessed that for us to be rich living on minimum wage we have to adjust reality vs. dream.
What we mean is that there will never be a mansion, chef, gardener, fancy cars or zero’s in our bank account.
Working in customer service we both earn minimum wage $14.25 and $14/hr full-time 37.5 hours a week or around $28,000/yr.
Healthwise we are both in great shape and have never been in the hospital for anything other than giving birth to our daughter.
Currently, our only debt is the credit card and we have 5 years left to pay off our small mortgage.
We live in a small town in Ontario and bought our 2 bedroom bungalow shortly after getting married.
It needs fixing up but we plan to do some updates as soon as we pay our mortgage off and save a bit.
The mortgage costs us $875.35 a month and our utilities come to around $840 including property taxes.
We have one child at home who will be off to University in less than two years to study physiotherapy.
She has been working evenings and on weekends to save money to lessen the costs of her education.
The way we budget is similar to using the envelope system where bills that aren’t auto-debited from our account we track.
Our savings account has 6 months of emergency money like you suggested that we do not touch unless needed.
Both of us still have 25 years until we retire so we have time to spare but want to stay as far away from debt as possible.
I suppose our questions to you are :
- What ways can you suggest for us to save more money to pay off our debt and mortgage faster?
- How do we sustain being debt-free minimum wage earners once we achieve it?
We’re looking more for tips based on your personal experience paying off your mortgage so early with Mrs. CBB.
Other than that we just want to live a quiet, comfortable life away from the noise of the city.
Finding a Minimum Wage Job
You may think that finding a job earning a minimum wage salary must be easy to get but there’s competition everywhere.
Even I struggled with a degree after moving to Canada to find ANY employer that would take me so I could start earning money.
Coincidentally, I spoke with a young man at a popular Canadian store while looking to purchase a new washer and dryer on the weekend.
He told me working in sales was one of the only jobs he could get that came with some commission so he could earn more than a minimum wage salary.
Even after he graduated from College he still struggled to get into his field of media journalism that he had to take any job he could find.
I have to eat and pay the bills and there aren’t many jobs in media looking for new graduates with little experience. Even so, I was competing against 5 other candidates for this sales position which is mind-blowing.
These days you have to be the best of the best to get hired because employers have more resumes than they know what to do with.
How are you standing out from the rest?
Living Frugal On A Minimum Wage Salary
Paying off our mortgage fast was important because I wasn’t sure if I was going to find anything more than a minimum wage job.
It’s hard not knowing what your life will be ahead so we needed to think frugal and long-term sustainability.
This is why when we purchased our first home together we bought it on one salary which was mine.
Although every situation is unique paying off your mortgage fast depends on how much you owe.
I’m not going to tell you that having a minimum wage job will allow you to crush your mortgage in 5 years because that would be a lie.
Now, if you told me how much money you still owed on your mortgage like Ontario Family has then perhaps things may differ.
With only 5 years left to pay for a mortgage payment that this family will only see it decrease quickly especially if they can add extra payments.
However, I’m not going to tell them it’s the right or wrong way because perhaps investing in retirement may be a better route for them.
My advice, talk to a financial advisor and mortgage broker to see the impact of any extra money you have to use.
Saving Money To Pay Off Mortgage Faster
Let’s have a look at their question:
What ways can you suggest for us to save more money to pay off our debt and mortgage faster?
Since I don’t know their entire budget breakdown I can only assume which isn’t the greatest but all I have to work with.
According to Neuvoo Canada: “The average Cashier salary in Canada is $27,300 per year or $14 per hour. Entry-level positions start at $21,938 per year while most experienced workers make up to $45,470 per year.”
Although cashier salaries and other minimum wage salary jobs vary per region some employees may earn more with years of service.
For example, Susie’s boss gave her an annual employee review and offered her a $0.50 raise.
Now Susie earns above a minimum wage salary each year.
Not all employers are like this so I won’t assume this for the reader question for any future salary increases.
We also don’t know if the minimum wage across the provinces will increase but likely so in the future.
If they both earn a minimum wage salary they each net approximately $23, 256 each or together $46,512 yearly.
From this figure, they have to pay their bills including their mortgage and property taxes.
- Mortgage : $875.35 x 12 months $10, 504.20
- Property taxes and utilities : $840.00 x 12 months $10,080
- Totals: $20, 584.20
I calculated 5 years of mortgage payments (even though I know the payments will decrease for the sake of keeping it simple without any other data) at $52,521 remaining.
After paying for utilities, mortgage and property taxes the Ontario Family has approximately $25, 927.80 left to spend for the year.
Since I don’t know the rest of their budget categories this number can get gobbled up quickly.
The first thing I would do is kill that credit card debt and pay all future bills in full.
Keeping a credit card is handy for travelling and other situations such as building your credit score.
Unfortunately, I don’t know if they have any vehicle payments which also means vehicle insurance, license renewal, and stickers may also apply.
I tried to contact them for more info but was unsuccessful but still wanted to talk about the importance of their message.
To save more money Mrs. CBB and I sold just about everything we bought second-hand;
- So we could earn a profit
- To Earn back what we paid
The money we earned from these sales went to fund our allowance or to put extra down on our weekly mortgage payments.
We also saved money in the bank until the end of the year to make a lump sum payment on our mortgage.
I drove a second-hand truck and took our second vehicle off the road since it wasn’t being used.
Everything we did had some form of frugality revolving around it including buying used furniture to going to garage sales.
You could always work over-time to earn extra money or work from home and make money with items you already have.
I know some parents who create a product from home or provide an online service so they can work from home.
I have no doubt that this Ontario Family can pay their mortgage off fast and become rich the way they dreamed of provided they live frugally.
Even though we’re debt-free and relatively young we still live a frugal lifestyle yet we don’t stress if we spend a bit more.
That’s the becoming rich part for us when we no longer have to stress about a few hundred dollars and if it will crumble our monthly budget.
You will always have to track your expenses but once you’re debt-free simply continue working hard at staying that way.
Living Debt-Free On A Minimum Wage Salary
How do we sustain being debt-free minimum wage earners once we achieve it?
Once the Ontario Family has their mortgage paid in full they can easily live comfortably with the income they earn.
However, anything could happen with health or employment status and we still don’t know if they have retirement savings.
If the Ontario family does not have retirement savings I’d suggest talking to their financial advisor before paying off their mortgage.
Living debt-free on a minimum wage salary once the mortgage is paid off should be easy enough.
In time you should have extra cash stashed away to start those renovations you’ve been dreaming of.
Finally, since I didn’t have all of your data I’d explore your finances from head to toe with all relevant information.
You’ll be able to offer yourselves a clearer picture once you can factor in the numbers yourself.
Moral of the story…
That is how you become rich on minimum wage, by accepting what your rich will be.
And they lived happily ever after.
Discussion: What other experience related advice can you offer to this couple? Leave your comments below.
If you do have a budget question and email me please send me all relevant data for me to answer your questions.