30 Day Project

We know poverty is experienced by many in this country.  As of January 1, 2022, California’s minimum wage was increased to $15.00 per hour (for businesses with 26 or more employees; $14.00 an hour for businesses with 25 or fewer employees – for this assignment, we’ll go with the higher rate); however, the U.S. Federal minimum wage is $7.25 (if your state minimum wage is higher than the federal, you are entitled to the higher wage). Many of us take for granted the simple things in life such as food, housing, clothing, transportation, etc. and have a distorted view when it comes to poverty. 

For this assignment, I want to know, “What does 30 days at minimum wage (i.e., 40 hours a week) mean to you?” Here are the numbers you’ll be working with: $600 ($15.00 x 40 hours); $2,400 ($600 x 4 weeks in a month); $31,200 ($600 x 52 weeks). There are four parts to this assignment, so pay close attention to these instructions as it is expected that your paper will address each of the following:

Part 1

For Part 1 of this project, you will need to calculate ALL costs and projected costs of living for approximately 30 days.  If you are currently living at home, you will need to find yourself a place to live (i.e., a one bedroom apartment, NOT a studio, converted garage, house with roommates, college dorm or university apartments, etc.).  For your apartment, you cannot have roommates to share expenses – these are solely your financial responsibility.  Some of us may have friends or family who own property and could give us a discount; however, you may not use these for the assignment.  I want everyone to have the same standard of an apartment at full price and the deposit.  Your new home should reflect a standard of living of which you hope to achieve one day.  We will assume that you have a furnished apartment and will not need to purchase any furniture prior to your move. 

You will need to take into account ALL expenses including housing (keep in mind you will need to pay a security deposit and any other costs required prior to your move in), food (you cannot buy in bulk (Costco or Sams Club), use coupons, shop at the 99 cent store, etc. – go to an actual grocery store and price your food), utilities, transportation, car expenses, personal hygiene products, medications (if needed), insurance (you are required to purchase health, dental, and car insurance (if applicable), clothing expenses (including laundry costs), entertainment, credit card payments, pet expenses (if you have pets moving in with you and pet deposits if applicable), etc.  You will also need to take into account your school expenses (tuition, books, etc.).  If you are receiving financial assistance (i.e., state of California, parents, military, financial aid, scholarships, your current job, etc.), you are no longer eligible for assistance.  You are responsible for all your school related costs.  Use the cost sheet I have provided you and if you don’t have the cost listed, include an “n/a” for the amount.

Itemize these costs into a spreadsheet and total up your estimated monthly expenses.  Please note that these costs should reflect your current lifestyle.  Do not attempt to adjust any amounts to make ends meet.  You may be surprised at how much money you spend in one month on living expenses.

Project cost sheet 


– use this for the assignment

Part 2

For Part 2, you will need to do some research.  Are there any assistance programs available for you based on your income?  These programs can be locally based (i.e. California only) and/or government funded.  What is available and what are the qualifications?  Are there any limitations or restrictions on the amount of assistance you can receive?  If so, what are they? Do you qualify for this assistance?  You will need to include a minimum of three (3) programs in your paper (*please note that you are allowed to use only one assistance program relating to school assistance, food assistance, medical assistance, utilities, housing, etc.).  Please do not cut and paste information, charts, etc., without the proper reference as this constitutes plagiarism.  Summarize these programs in your own words.

Part 3

For Part 3, you will need to identify a minimum of three (3) sociological concepts and correctly incorporate them into your project and/or findings.  This is more than just referencing the concept/theory – I want you to critically analyze and apply the concept to the assignment, your experience, etc.  You can utilize concepts and/or theory for this section of your writing assignment.  Each concept (i.e., just the word, not your analysis) must be in bold type, underlined, and referenced.

Part 4

Part 4 will consist of your reaction to this experiment.  Were you able to make ends meet on your minimum wage salary?  If not, how much more money would you need each month in order to pay your monthly living expenses?  Any possible thoughts as to how you might be able to afford your monthly living expenses?  Spend some time reflecting on this assignment and what you learned about life, poverty, your future goals, assistance for the poor in this country, etc.   

Some of us may be currently employed and possibly making more than minimum wage.  If you are currently employed and making more than $15.00 an hour, calculate your monthly income (i.e., 40 hours a week) and subtract this amount from your total monthly expenses amount.  What is the difference between your minimum wage projected total and your current salary total?  Were you able to make ends meet?  If you are currently unemployed, be sure to include this information in Part 4 of your paper.


For this assignment, you will need to incorporate a minimum of six (6) outside references.  Note that all references must be cited on a reference page (i.e., this includes citations for your textbook, outside sources, websites, etc.).  Please reference your course outline regarding academic dishonesty and the consequences of plagiarism.  Taking information from a source and not citing the author, etc., is plagiarism and disciplinary actions will be enforced.

Your entire assignment should consist of at least six (6) pages not including your cost sheet and reference page (in other words, six pages of written work).

Your paper must be in APA format (only in-text citations, reference page, page setup and numbering), typed with a 12-point font, double-spaced, and one inch margins.  Staple the pages together in the upper left-hand corner and do not use a report cover.  Points will be subtracted for misspelled words, lack of page numbers, lack of complete sentences, and lack of subject-verb agreement and incorrect use of tenses as well as other errors, including style.  Papers submitted without a reference page will automatically receive a whole grade deduction and I will deduct one entire grade for any of the paper requirements you don’t fulfill.  Visit the writing center on campus or my office hours for assistance with writing, proofreading, editing, citations, paper format, etc.  Make sure you convert your assignment to a Word file or PDF – Pages won’t open in Canvas and do not send a Google Docs link, etc. 

Total Points:

It is possible to receive up to 120 points for this assignment.  I expect your work to reflect the extensive time and research you invested in this project. Start your research early because it can be very time consuming.

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