Real McDonald’s Workers Share Actual Budgets — And They’re Nothing Like That Corporate Sample

Real budgets as filled out by actual employees of McDonald's.

Real budgets as filled out by actual employees of McDonald’s.

We were a bit flabbergasted recently while looking at a budget planning guide from Visa for McDonald’s employees that conveniently added a second job (no easy feat for most) and also seemed to forget the fact that most people need staples like food and gasoline. Not to mention healthcare, which usually is a lot more than $20 a month. So what’s a real budget like for an honest to goodness, living, breathing, eating human being working at McDonald’s?

The reality is vastly different from the proffered budget planning guide, as seen in four real-life budgets employees worked out for CNN.

Budget #1
One of the workers is a 21-year-old man working to get an Associate’s Degree in criminal justice, who works around 25 hours a week at a McDonald’s in Milwaukee and nets $525 a month. He lives with his mom and little sister but still has a tough time paying his $180 tuition bill each month, and can only afford about half of it.

His school is fine with him not paying tuition in full for now — but he graduates soon and will have to pay it back. There’s no line for that on the sample budget. According to his budget, he needs to aim to spend -$14.50 per day. If you’ve ever tried spending negative money, you know it’s not easy.

Budget #2
Another employee finds it pretty darn difficult to raise two kids on a $7.40 hourly wage at McDonald’s, for a net monthly income of $1,000. His kids have to be driven to school in Detroit because there’s no school bus, so he pays for buses or cab fare every day.

His son is also “as big as Shaquille O’Neal” and outgrows his clothing as fast as his dad can buy it — again, there’s no line item for rapidly growing pre-teens on the sample budget. He should be spending -$25 per day.

Yet another worker appeared on the Today show this morning to debunk the sample budget as anything nearing reality, sharing her experience of making ends meet on ends meet with two kids on $11,400 a year — not the $25,000 McDonald’s has offered as an example annual income. Watch that clip below.

McDonald’s has said that the sample is just a generic one, and is meant to be a general outline of what someone’s budget could look like. Someone without a stomach, children to take care of, or a car that runs on dreams and wishes, perhaps.

The real budgets of McDonald’s workers [CNNMoney]