My problem with the McDonald's article is that it's SO out of touch, it's worse than unhelpful. It perpetuates the myth that people CAN live on minimum wage but are too stupid to manage it.
Here's what their budget should look like, from my perspective in the midwest:
Monthly net income: 2060
Income Taxes 206
Rent (entirely feasible for a 1br apartment here) 600
Car Payment 200
Car Insurance 75
Renters Insurance 15
Health Ins & medical costs 200
Cell phone, basic plan 50
Car maintenance 25
Left over at the end of the month: $14
So this person working 60 hours a week, at minimum wage, assuming they have no debt and no dependents, would reasonably be able to save $100/month and have $14 for spending money. A pretty flippin' far cry from the $800 a month McDonalds thinks they will have to throw around.
ETA: I would also like to stress that McDonald's budget doesn't even attempt to account for income taxes.
And my issue with it, is where I live, you simply cannot find either your own apt or even one to share for $600 a month. I'ts just not at all possible. I live in NJ; where everything is pricy. my rent, for a 650 sq foot 1 br, with NO w/d, NO central a/c (i have wall units) and with heat/hot water included, just went up from 1170 to 1210.
here's my budget, minus any cc payments, of which I have a lot
Electric: 62 (I pay on teh budget plan)
Cable, phone internet 95 (2 year deal which will go up when thats done)
cell phone - 30 (prepaid, no contract)
car payment 240 (just bought a 3 year old car, and finananced 3/4 of it)
food, et.c - 100 a week
gas - 35-40 a week
car ins - 120 per month
rental ins - 200 a year, pd in full every year
just that, nothing else, no credit cards, or anything other than the basic, is over 2200. so no way anyone in my area working for that amount, could even survive