Barbara Ehrenreich's On (Not) Getting By In America

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Lindsey Scaparo Nickel and Dimed Essay Surviving off of a minimum wage job in America is a very difficult task to accomplish. Barbara Ehrenreich, author of Nickel and Dimed, created an experiment in which she decided to leave her normal life to discover just how hard it is to live off of minimum wage. Ehrenreich made many discoveries during her experiment, most of which contributed to the assertion “On (Not) Getting By in America.” The experiment that Ehrenreich undertook involved her working different minimum wage jobs in three cities. In order to survive on the wages she was earning, Ehrenreich had to find cheap housing and cut back on her expenses, such as food and clothing. Because of this experiment, she made the assertion “On (Not) Getting By in…show more content…
Because housing is so expensive, Ehrenreich was often forced to live in dingy motels or the cheapest trailer she could find. Even when she was living in the cheapest housing, rent was often a struggle because prices were too high to pay off of minimum wage. Not only was housing a problem, but also food. In order to eat well, one needs a refrigerator to keep meats and other foods fresh, which one does not always come with lodging and is expensive to buy. Moreover, a family needs to have enough money to buy groceries each week, which can be difficult when paychecks are given every other week. The people Ehrenreich often worked with tended to live below the poverty line as well. Many of them lived in shared hotel rooms or out of their cars because it was cheaper than actually owning their own places. Even then it was hard to save money. Oftentimes, the people who lived in poverty worked two or more minimum wage jobs, but they still were not able to lift themselves above the poverty line. If people working multiple jobs are still in poverty, then the minimum wage is far below what it should

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