The following has been taken from the regular column on Yahoo Finance pages and can be found HERE. I have quoted it in it's entirety for clarity.
"Can you survive on the minimum wage?The minimum wage adults can earn in the UK rises to £6.08 an hour on Saturday. That's an increase of 15p. But has the government set a wage you can really live on?
Once the changes come in, if you're working a 35-hour week on the new minimum wage, you'll earn just over £11,000 a year — or £212 a week.
Choice versus necessity
I pinch pennies so that I can add to my savings, but obviously many people scrimp and save because they have no choice. I wanted to see what I could learn from these careful budgeters.
So for one week, my husband, my four-month-old baby and I lived on a budget of £212.
Working out our budget
I was a bit apprehensive about how much of our minimum wage income would need to be earmarked for bills, which include the cost of our home's gas and electricity, broadband, TV package, TV licence and council tax plus water rates.
Add to this our personal bills, including our mobiles, gym memberships and my car loan, and our bills come to an average of £609 a month.
That means our bills come to around £152.25 a week, leaving just under £60 for day-to-day spending. Add on our weekly child benefit of £20.30, and we had a total disposable income of around £80.
Frugal food and groceries - £50
I decided to avoid running low on food and other essentials by writing a meal planner and doing a big shop at the start of the week.
Our normal weekly shop comes to an average of about £80 a week, including items we buy in bulk once a month or so, like nappies.
It was fairly easy to cut our food spending by ditching the more expensive shortcuts like fresh pasta and ready-made sauces. I also bought supermarket-own products rather than big brands.
Although we didn't have to cut back on food, we didn't have the luxury of choosing more ethical products. Fair-trade fruit and tea was too expensive for us and we wouldn't have been able to afford high-welfare meat, so my husband agreed to go vegetarian like me for the week.
But I wasn't able to save as much as I wanted across my other shopping. Normally, I keep the cost of items down by buying in bulk but that simply wasn't an option on our minimum wage budget.
Take nappies, for example. I can buy 194 Pampers nappies for £20, which works out at about 10p each. I need around 42 nappies for one week and a pack of 46 costs a staggering £9.99 — or 22p each. That's more than double!
Ditto for washing tablets, kitchen roll, even boxes of cereal. By buying smaller amounts to fit our budget, I ended up paying far more per item or serving. So we were only able to cut our weekly shopping down to £50. That left £30.
Frugal fuel - £20
I tend to only drive around town, and spend about a tenner a week on fuel. Meanwhile my husband spends around £20 a week getting to and from work.
Clearly we couldn't afford to spend the £30 that remained of our budget just on petrol. My husband works in an out-of-town office with limited bus routes and his early morning starts make car-sharing difficult.
But he agreed to cycle into work and back for two of the days, when his morning schedule allowed, and so filled his car with £15 of fuel instead. I topped up my car with just £5, enough to get me to the supermarket and leave some fuel in the tank in case of emergencies.
The rest of the time, I left the car at home and walked. I was astonished at how much of my week was spent walking. Getting to places took up most of my spare time.
Frugal fun - £5
Books, renting films, going out for coffee and cake with some other mums, taking a bottle of wine to a friend's house, taking my baby swimming — all these little luxuries became suddenly impossible because we only had a tenner left.
We both had less time to relax or socialise because walking, cycling and cooking from scratch took a lot of extra time. But we did find several free ways to enjoy ourselves.
We went to the library, invited friends around for coffee at our house, and spent a Saturday looking at a couple of depressed donkeys at a free 'zoo' run by our council. Having less time to enjoy ourselves definitely made it easier to spend less.
I spent £2 on a bus ticket to visit a friend in a different town and my husband spent £3 having a burger with some colleagues.
The final fiver
We were a bit frightened to spend our final fiver. It didn't seem like much of an emergency fund but it was better than nothing.
In the end, we used it to buy some extra milk towards the end of the week, meaning we had £3.51 left at the end of the week.
What have I learned?
It's been a challenging week and I really admire everyone who manages on such a tough budget every single day, especially if they have more than one child.
What surprised me the most was not how hard it was to budget, but the amount of time the low-cost options took, especially the cooking and walking.
Also, we hadn't budgeted for clothes or baby equipment, and we hadn't saved any money for emergencies or annual expenses like insurance policies.
If we had to routinely manage on such a limited budget, we'd need to cut our bills quite dramatically, probably ditching our TV and mobile phone packages, and shop on an even tighter budget.
Thanks to his cycling and my walking, both of us had plenty of exercise, so we're now questioning whether we need gym membership.
We also discovered how much money we fritter away on entertainment when there's a lot of ways to have fun for free.
It's a relief to get back to our usual budget, but I know we'll manage to save even more thanks to the experience. One thing is clear — the rise in minimum wage might make life easier for workers but it still won't make it easy.
Felicity is Yahoo! Finance's new money-saving columnist. "
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Is that the MOST appalling, condescending, patronising drivel? Apart from the flawed 'budget' that doesn't even include the biggest expense, housing, the whole playing-poor experiment is an insult to the millions living in such degrading poverty.
And the lesson this financial 'expert' learned was whether they needed gym membership or not. Sheesh. Perhaps these 'experts' should try reality out for a while. Not for a week, forever. Then see if the mis-guided system that requires people to live in poverty, debt and hopelessness is one that can be cured with a bit of penny-pinching and frugality or not. Advice like this for most people is needed like a chocolate fire-guard. Perhaps the lesson she should have learned was that despite claims to the contrary capitalism is either incapable or unwilling to provide even decent basic living standards to the majority, while keeping a minority in luxury. Perhaps then the answer won't lie in being frugal but in being revolutionary.