125 North Fulton St. Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: (607) 273-4611
Toll Free: (877) 273-AFCU      Contact

Living Wage Notes - 2002 Study

HUD's fair market rent is $527 for 2003 for Tompkins County and includes all utilities except telephone.

Source: Housing and Urban Development

According to Ithaca-Tompkins County Transportation Council, 81.4% of Tompkins County residents use private transportation, 1.2% use public, 8.1% walk, 2.3% bike, 7.0% other.

Public transportation costs $1.00 each way, or $10.00 per week, plus 3 other trips for shopping, totaling $16/week or $69.33/mo or $832/year.

Using a car, according to the Consumer Expenditure Survey for consumers in the second quintile (those whose incomes are between the 20th and 40th percentile) is $2442.

Claritas estimated $33 per year expenditure for bicyclists. We assume that walking incurs no extra costs.
A weighted average can be computed like this:

(.814)(2442) + (.012)(832) + (.081)(0) + (0.023)(33) to get an average of $1,998.53

Sources: US Department of Labor Consumer Expenditure Survey, WOW Self-Sufficiency Study, Ithaca-Tompkins County Transportation Council, Bureau of Transportation Statistics website - www.bts.gov, Claritas Consumer Spending Patterns

Low-cost plan from USDA Food Stamp Program for ages 20-50 is (monthly) for males $172.50 and for females $150.80 - the average is $161.65 (March 2003).
Source: USDA Food Stamps

$26.50 from Verizon for unlimited local service, Ithaca area
Source: Verizon

Health Care
Health Insurance Premiums at Alternatives for 2003:
Aetna Individual coverage costs $2034/year. Staff pays 25% =$508.56

Consumer Expenditures Survey average per capita for Medical services, drugs and medical supplies = $591

$591 + $508.56 = $1099.36/annual; $91.61/month

Source - Sharon Kinnan, Human Resource Manager, Claritas Spending Patterns Survey for Tompkins County

This category is more subjective than the others. We included expenses such as sports and recreation, reading materials, TV/radio/sound equipment, computer hardware/software. The final total came out to $114.75/mo. or $1,377.00/year.
Source: Claritas Spending Patterns Survey for Tompkins County

We kept the figure from previous studies of $50 per month.

Clothes (average of male and female apparel and footwear spending), personal care items, housekeeping, small appliances, and miscellaneous household equipment. This came out to $1,382.50.
Source: Claritas Spending Patterns Survey for Tompkins County (Note: WOW assumes miscellaneous expnditures will run at 10% of the costs of other basic needs, which would be a comparable $1365.67)

These were calculated by Gerry Ruggiero, CPA

Day Care
up to 2 = ~$628.30/mo
Aged 3,4 = ~$541.60/mo
Source: Estimated by Day care, Day Care Council

HUD = Housing and Urban Development, a government agency,

Ithaca-Tompkins County Transportation Council

Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Expenditure Survey

WOW = Wider Opportunites for Women, Self-Sufficiency Study for Tompkins County

Claritas, Consumer Spending Patterns

USDA= United States Department of Agriculture

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As Alternatives Credit Union has grown and changed, our use of the Credit Path model of financial empowerment has changed as well. Originally developed by Bill Myers as a way of understanding our members' financial situations and incorporating that into our business planning, the Credit Path describes where people are situated at various points along a continuum between poverty and self-sufficiency. Our job, as a community development financial institution, is to help our members move along that continuum by empowering them to make decisions, and offering opportunities, that will move them towards financial self-sufficiency. more»

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