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Inside the life and struggle of people living on minimum wage

8:47 PM, Feb 21, 2013   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Florida's minimum wage is $7.79. That includes an increase of 12 cents, enacted on the first of this year. It's a wage many Floridians earn, but is it a livable wage? Could you live on $7.79 an hour, let alone support your family?

On Your Side Consumer Reporter David Williams will spend an entire week living on minimum wage. He will be making drastic changes to his daily life to feel the true essence of the struggle, the hardship and the frustration of earning the state minimum wage.


Williams will have to survive with just $256 to his name for the week. That will have to provide food, clothing, transportation, entertainment and emergency expenses. He will introduce you to one Jacksonville family who makes sacrifices every day to make ends meet.

"It's very hard, It's very very hard," said Caridad Gato-Klar. She is the head of one Jacksonville family who is struggling to stay afloat in this economy.

First Coast News will take you inside her home where she will describe in intimate detail what it is truly like to be living in a less than comfortable financial situation. We will explain why and how Klar's family and yours can rise above the wage.

Williams will delve deeply into topics, including transportation in Duval County, eating a nutritious meal on a budget and the psychological effects of life on minimum wage.

In a city the size of Jacksonville, having a car almost seems like a necessity. But what is it like for people who don't have a vehicle?

Williams experiences this first hand. He will take you with him one morning from start to finish on his journey by bus and monorail across the River City to try to make it to work. We will introduce you to someone who regularly relies on public transportation to get to school and home. Hear their struggles and solutions to a transportation dilemma.

Can you really eat healthy on a limited budget? Williams, with the help of a registered dietitian, shows you how you can make a healthy meal, using what you have in the pantry or refrigerator. Williams also introduces you to someone who is living so carefully, how much an ounce of meat costs determines what food makes it on the plate at night.

Living on minimum wage can have a psychological effect on a person. How could this happen? What can I do? How can I get out of this? All are valid questions. Williams shares the story of someone who said they have gone from the lowest point in their lives to becoming a happier, more resilient person. Hear their keys to success.

Finally, how do you budget money if you're in a financial hardship? How much should you save? How can you save? How much should be in your bank account? We sit down with a financial planner who will tell you how you can save right now to ensure your financial fitness.

All this week, we want you to be an integral part of this series. Send us your stories on how you survive. Provide us with recipes you use on a budget. Tell us where your favorite places are where there are cheap eats. Share with us what you like to do in the city that is free.

Join the discussion on Facebook. On Twitter, use hashtag #livingonminimumwage. On the homepage of, you will find a whole section devoted to living on minimum wage. We want you to be part of the fabric as we help each other rise above the wage.

First Coast News

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