McDonald’s Offers Budgeting Tips for Hungry, Cold, Naked, Overworked Employees Who Walk Everywhere


On the McDonald’s “Practical Money Skills” website, which was surely created with the best of intentions, the fast-food company offers a sample budget to show its employees how to make ends meet on a McDonald’s paycheck — as long as they are also getting another paycheck. That’s not even a joke. According to Robyn Pennacchia at Death and Taxes, here’s how much you would have to work to fit into the budget:

Yeah– now, when I first saw that, I assumed that the top line was for a part-time McDonald’s employee. Then I got out my calculator– that is actually what you would make if you were working full-time at McDonald’s.

Now let’s say that the “second” job that they budget in here (feels like cheating, but OK) is also minimum wage. … That translates to 74 hours a week. That’s almost a whole other full time job.

And what do you get for two full-time jobs? Not food, heat, clothes, or gas for the car McDonald’s assumes you will be making payments on.

The American Dream: two jobs, an empty stomach, a car payment, and I guess you will be walking everywhere while wearing your McDonald’s uniform.

Don’t worry, though. Everything will be fine. McDonald’s partnered with Visa on this website, and I doubt the underlying message will go unnoticed: It’s hopeless; just get a credit card and buy whatever you need!

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Edit: I just noticed this LOL “Quick Poll” on the front page of the website:

Edit 2: As some have politely pointed out on Twitter, the budget does include $800 in “spending money.” Given that the budget excludes many essentials and makes ludicrous estimates for, say, health insurance ($20), that $800 will disappear fast. Let’s attempt to work it out.

  • Groceries: $400 (~$100/week is a commonly-recommended amount)
  • Gas: $110 (a gallon of gas is currently $3.666; I’m assuming about 30 miles a day for commuting to two jobs, and a reasonably-efficient, 30 mpg car)
  • Car maintenance: $100 (this is about what my reliable 2008 Yaris costs; a $100/month car payment suggests a much older car, which means maintenance will probably be much higher)
  • Heat: $65 (this is our average monthly heat bill, spread out over a year)
  • Clothing: $25 (a very modest budget)

Total: $700

That leaves $100 left over to pay a realistic healthcare bill, and that’s while holding down two nearly-full-time jobs.

  • SGAStyle

    Keep in mind this is a template. This could be for a two income family. Most if not all families/people need to have and stick with a budget. It is entirely unfair to ridicule this budget “template”. This could and will help people start a budget. It is really easy to ridicule someones effort when you yourself have done nothing to help. Good job.

    • Sam Glover

      What are you even talking about?