A not quite living wage

I am not at the poverty line now, nor would making a living wage make me rich, but my life would be different if I was not consistently being short-changed as I have been for the past 6 to 8 years. It’s kind of embarrassing to write this, but I’m doing it because I’m sure there are others like me.

There are a number of things I would do if I made a living wage:

I would replace my clothes when they had holes that could no longer be mended. Perhaps I would occasionally treat myself to a piece of organic cotton clothing made in the U.S.

I would get my wobbly rear bike tire fixed.

I would still be buying groceries economically, but would be able to do it out of my checking account and not ever use my credit card.

I would have the two unusable light fixtures in my home fixed.

I would get my cats vaccinated on time.

I would take all the supplements that control my blood pressure regularly. Not being so worried about paying the bills might also help my blood pressure.

I might consider cable TV or a satellite dish again. I don’t miss it that much, but my sons do.

I would be able to get car repairs done in one trip, instead of having to pick the most urgent one and letting the rest wait.

I would replace the faucet that now needs a special technique to shut off all the way.

I would more easily be able to afford my mortgage, which is now about the same as one of my biweekly paychecks.

I would have four real chairs around the kitchen table again. Right now we have one intact chair, one that is broken but usable and an old Swedish kneeling chair.

I would pay more than the minimum on my credit cards, or even get back to not carrying a balance, the way things used to be before 2005.

I would get a haircut every six weeks or so instead of just twice a year.

Wouldn’t it be good for the economy if I could do these things? I’m not looking to get a brand new car or a bigger house or designer clothes or weekly manicures. I would simply like to not be in a constant state of worry over paying very modest expenses. I don’t think that’s too much to ask after 11 years in a paraprofessional position at the University of Minnesota. If you agree, support the University American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees in its negotiations.

Tell President Eric Kaler we need a bigger wage increase.