McDonald’s is offering employee budget tips for its minimum wage workers. The fast food giant claims with its help low-wage employees can live off the company’s low pay. Unfortunately, the company’s budget workbook really stretches an employees earnings.
The handbooks website reads:
“Helping you succeed financially is one of the many ways McDonald’s is creating a satisfying and rewarding work environment.”
The page is sponsored by Visa and McDonald’s and involves such gems as turning off your heat, not buying groceries, not having children, never getting sick, and perhaps even securing a second job.
In the handbook, McDonald’s focuses on employees in two groups. The employees lucky enough to earn $1,105 per month and employees who earn $955 per month. The higher paid group earns their cash by working 60 hours per week at $8.50 per hour.
So what does the McDonald’s employe budget include? The handbook suggests not spending more than $600 per month on a mortgage or rent. In many parts of the country, that is a reasonable number, but city workers will be hard pressed to find acceptable living in most areas at that suggested rental or mortgage level.
For McDonald’s employees luckily enough to have a car the company suggests spending no more than $150 per month in car payments.
Home and Car insurance is also added into the McDonald’s budget mix with a total cost of $100 per month.
Astout readers of the full budget handbook which can be found here will quickly notice that McDonald’s advice doesn’t even budget for car repairs and other expenses. Basically a living wage at McDonald’s does nothing to cover life’s unexpected circumstances in any way, shape, or form.
In what might be the most laughable budget suggestion, McDonald’s and Visa recommend spending a whopping $20 per month on health insurance. I’m pretty sure for $20 your insurance will cover one dose of Tylenol or a trip to some backwoods doctor who subscribes moonshine. Throw in co-pays, deductibles and other expenses and you are probably better off spending that $20 on a few bottles of Nyquil, ibuprofen, and bandaids.
In what might be the most ignorant suggestion the company tells employees to turn off their heat for as long as possible. After all, nothing is as annoying as staying warm when it costs you money. The company’s handbook budgets $0 for heating.
While McDonald’s wants employees to spend $0 on heating, they say $100 is acceptable for cable and phone services. After all, you can’t miss Duck Dynasty, well unless you freeze to death from the tip listed above.
The McDonald’s employee budget manual doesn’t want customers to fully live in the stone age, it does suggest $90 per month for electric bills. We’re pretty sure if it’s really hot out the company would suggest just dealing with it and leaving the air conditioner off until you stroke out and need to use your $20 medical insurance.
The company budgets $100 for “other” expenses which we assume is an imaginary number that most McDonald’s workers don’t have. At first we thought the “Other” might include food expenses but a recent study in Seattle has found that a one parent, one child household eats through $369 per food each month.
McDonald’s Employee Budget: What’s Missing
So employees are supposed to do without clothes, groceries, furniture needs, personal hygiene products, charitable giving (although, given wages, we’ll let this slide), cleaning supplies, and food. Yeah, I know I mentioned food twice, but that one seems kinda important. The budget also leaves out water/sewer expenses, trash pickup, school supplies, etc.
The Payroll Debit Card From McDonald’s
In what is definitely the most ignorant aspect of the McDonald’s employee budget page, the company says employees should use a Visa prepaid debit card. The company say a PaychekPLUS! Elite® Visa® Payroll Card allows employees to pay for items with no additional expenses. There’s just one problem, almost any responsible budget expert will tell you that using cash is a better way to track your expenses without over spending. Also, try using a debit card at a gas pump (gas isn’t included in the customers budget) and you are likely to have a 24 hold put on a pending transaction. If you live paycheck to paycheck, the last of your money put on hold can be devastating.
While it’s true that some McDonald’s employees don’t have bank accounts, those who do will have an easier time really budgeting with direct deposit and cash on hand spending.
So what says you readers? Is McDonald’s allowing high paying HR and finance offers to write employee budget suggestions for circumstances they can’t possibly understand?