The living wage for a single adult is $14.51 per hour. This reflects what is needed to meet basic needs and maintain some ability to deal with emergencies and plan ahead. The living wage for a single adult with two children is $25.56 per hour.
Idaho’s minimum wage of $7.25 does not allow working families to make ends meet. The state’s minimum wage provides only half of a living wage for a single adult and only 28 percent of the living wage for a single adult with two children.
“We have nothing to put in savings, but we try to keep $5 in our savings account just to keep it open.”
My name is Isik Best and I have lived in Idaho all my life. I have a son who is 5 years old, and we live with my fiancé, who has two children ages 6 and 5. We are fortunate to live in subsidized housing as my two jobs combined only provide enough for a very basic lifestyle.
I work as a delivery driver for a local appliance business and I make $10 an hour working 40 hours a week. My fiancé and I also clean a daycare center in the evenings, which also pays $10 an hour, but it’s only for about 10 hours a week.
We struggle to get through each month – but it was even harder before my fiancé’s disability forced us to have her stay home with the kids and not work. With daycare costs, and time and money to transport everyone to and from work and school, it’s almost easier now, even though we have less money.
My employer pays a portion of my health insurance and they take $30 each paycheck for my share of the cost. The children all receive Medicaid. We also receive SNAP in the amount of $511 each month, but with our growing family we also have to rely on the food bank. We spend about $240 for transportation each month.
We have nothing to put in savings, but we try to keep $5 in our savings account just to keep it open. I don’t have a lot of debt, but my fiancé has medical debt totaling more than $20,000.
Ultimately, low wages and tight budgets create stress and limit everything we do. We feel disappointed that we can’t take our kids to do fun stuff in the summer like a trip to Silverwood amusement park, the zoo, or even a movie.
If I had a better paying job, we could buy a house, a decent running car, and save money. We could also think about the future, and begin to put away money for college for the kids. It’s tough, but we do what we have to, just to get by.