11 Tips to Survive on Missouri Minimum Wage!
In Missouri, the minimum wage is currently $11.15 per hour. For a full-time worker, this means a yearly salary of $23,040. The federal minimum wage is even lower than the Missouri state minimum, at only $7.25 an hour.
Luckily, the minimum wage law states whichever rate is higher - the state minimum wage rate or the federal, is the one that applies. However, even the higher Missouri minimum wage is barely enough to cover the cost of basic living expenses, let alone save for retirement or other financial goals.
It is no secret that living costs have been outpacing salary increases for many years. As a result, inflation has caused prices for basic needs such as food, clothing, and shelter to skyrocket, while wages have remained the same. For many families, this means they are struggling more than ever to make ends meet.
So how can you survive on minimum wage in Missouri? This article will not only cover Missouri minimum wage laws but also tips on how to save money and do more than just survive on minimum wage.
1. Get paid the correct Missouri minimum wage.
The first step is to ensure you are getting paid the minimum you are due. There are rules and exceptions to the Missouri minimum wage law. Make sure you understand these rules to get paid the correct Missouri minimum.
Tipped Employees in Missouri
If you are a tipped employee, your minimum wage is $5.57 an hour. However, many tipped employees don't realize that if their tips don't add up to at least $11.15 an hour, their employer needs to make up the difference. All businesses must follow the Missouri minimum wage laws and pay tipped employees correctly.
Exception for certain retail or service businesses
There is an exception to the Missouri minimum wage for those retail or service businesses with a gross annual income of less than 500,000 a year. These private businesses can pay less than minimum wage. Be aware that you can increase your Missouri minimum wage by getting a job at a bigger company.
Overtime minimum wage law
Make sure you get paid correctly for overtime. Overtime is considered hours worked over 40 in a working week. This rate is 1.5x your minimum wage. So, if you get the state minimum wage rate of $11.15 per hour, then you should make 16.72 for any overtime work. Missouri's minimum wage laws are there to protect you.
If you are not getting paid correctly or your employer fails to give you your last check, you can make a complaint for free.
2. Get free cell phone services in Missouri
The federal government has set aside billions of dollars through the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) to help low-income Americans access reduced cost or free internet. EASY Wireless has three physical stores and many tents and kiosks around the state, there to serve all of Missouri by providing free smartphones and free data for people who qualify for this assistance.
People in Missouri who work a 40-hour week or less on minimum wage can qualify for the Affordable Connectivity Program. You may still qualify if you work more than 40 hours and have more than one member in your household. Some people in Missouri with low wages can qualify for the Lifeline Program and the ACP. EASY Wireless offers a free smartphone and unlimited data for people who qualify for both programs.
3. Get a part-time job
If you are struggling to make ends meet on minimum wage, consider getting a part-time job in addition to your full-time job. This can be a great way to boost your income and give you some extra spending money.
However, this is not always possible if you are also taking care of a family. Still, you may be able to make money from home. You can do this in several ways, such as taking online surveys, selling products or services online, or even renting out a room in your house on Airbnb.
4. Save money on your car
Transportation is an unavoidable expense, and cars tend to be one of our biggest money drains. So saving money here can make or break you while making minimum wage.
When buying a car, get preapproved at a bank rather than relying on the car dealership, as car dealership loans cost more. Also, once you see the car you want, leave and negotiate by phone or email. This will give you the upper hand.
Before getting repair work done, get a free estimate from the AAA and then get a few estimates from local garages before making a decision.
5. Get help with your bills
If you are struggling to pay your bills on minimum wage, several assistance programs can help. For example, in Missouri, low-income families can receive assistance with their utility bills through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).
In addition, the Missouri Housing Development Commission offers a number of programs to help low-income families with their housing costs, such as rent subsidies and down payment assistance.
There are many forms of assistance available for those on Missouri minimum wage and don't think that just because you are working, you can't get help.
6. Apply for food assistance
If you struggle to afford food, you may be eligible for food assistance through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). This program provides benefits that can be used to purchase food at participating grocery stores.
To qualify for SNAP, you must meet specific income guidelines. In Missouri, a family of four can have a monthly income of up to $2871 to qualify.
7. Get help with child care costs
If you struggle to pay for child care, you may be eligible for assistance through the Missouri Child Care Subsidy Program. This program provides subsidies to low-income families to help with the cost of child care.
To qualify for the program, you must meet specific income guidelines. In Missouri, an annual income of up to $28,180 for a single mother with two children will allow you to qualify.
8. Shop at flea markets and second-hand shops
Missouri Flea markets often sell new items at extremely low prices because you are cutting out the middleman. In addition, vendors only have to pay a small fee for their booth instead of monthly rent, utilities, and insurance, which allows them to offer very low prices.
Second-hand goods are often high quality, and you are helping the environment by reusing items. Flea markets can often be a fun day for the family, and they often have free live music or even free activities for children. Not just people on minimum wage go to flea markets; even the wealthy and famous can be seen at these community events.
9. Make a budget
Sitting down and making a list of all your bills and expenses will help you identify where you are leaking money and then make changes. Then, look to see what you can cut out, reduce or find cheaper. The less money you make, the more critical it is to track how you spend it. For this reason, those on minimum wage should always make a budget.
You may think you can't save money on minimum wage, but there are many free budgeting apps that can help you start.
By following these eight strategies, you can survive on minimum wage in Missouri. While it may not be easy, it is possible to make ends meet and even save money.
10. Save on entertainment
There are many ways you can cut down on costs for entertainment and save many while on minimum wage.
One way is to stop paying monthly fees for movie streaming services. Instead, pay for them by watching ads on free movie sites like TubiTV and CrackleTV.Com. In addition, YouTube has tons of free music and entertainment if you are willing to watch a few ads.
There are also free alternatives to music streaming services, such as, Last.FM and even paid services such as Deezer and Spotify have free tiers.
Choose free activities like going to the beach or public parks and look for free music events online that cities put on for their residents.
11. Homeownership programs on Missouri's minimum wage
Owning your own home on minimum wage may seem out of reach if you are on minimum wage. However, taking advantage of some of the programs available for people with a low annual gross income could make it possible.
Missouri Affiliates of Habitat for Humanity and HUD are just two of the homeownership programs available. The HUD website has a page that mentions all the resources that can specifically help Missouri residents and those on minimum wage.
Here are some other links to services for the low-waged in Missouri that may help you do more than get by.
Living on the Missouri minimum wage is tough for a family and even for a single person. However, you can overcome the challenges by taking advantage of the help you are due as a taxpayer. Being aware of your state's minimum wage law will help protect you.
In addition, with the help of others in your community, you can do more than just survive on minimum wage, you can thrive.