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In a very short time, Morgan and Alex came to realize that even on two salaries, there was little chance they could stay on budget. Morgan decided to work a second job, which meant he spent 18 hours a day away from home. During this period he made pizzas, washed dishes, worked as a landscaper, painted and made boxes.

The financial stress put a strain on his relationship with Alex. In fact, Morgan explains, "There are twice as many divorces in families that make less than $25,000 than families that make $50,000."

Meanwhile, many low-wage households have children. Morgan and Alex got a taste of what raising kids on a shoestring budget is like when Morgan's niece and nephew came to stay for the weekend.

Morgan decided to take the weekend off to spend time with them. On one outing, they went to a dollar movie theater...but then bought drinks and candy. Alex was more than a little upset at Morgan for this "spending spree." "We're going and spending 12 bucks at the movie just on drinks. That doesn't seem very smart."
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FROM: Inside the Lives of People Living on Minimum Wage
Published on April 14, 2006

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