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

Living Wage 2011 Notes

2011 Living Wage Study Notes

$811.00/month One-Bedroom = $9,732/year
6.29% increase in cost of housing from 2008
•    Efficiency: $789, 2BR: $950, 3BR: $1,150, 4BR: $1,192

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development: Final FY 2011 Fair Market Rent Documentation System

$203.60/month = $2,443.20
Low-cost Official USDA Food Plan: Average of male and female ages 19-50
Monthly cost of food on low-cost plan:
    Men 19-50 years: $217.90
Women 19-50 years: $189.30
    Average of men and women: $203.60

Source: Official USDA Food Plans: Cost of Food at Home at Four Levels, U.S. Average, December 2010

$179.03/month = $2,148.36/year
Population of Tompkins County: 100,583
56.9% Drive Alone, 11.9% Carpool, 5.9% Public Transportation, 16.4% Walk, 1.5 Bike, 1% Other, 6.3% work at home
Transportation cost according to BLS = $1,498 (gasoline/motor oil) + $1,872 (other, including insurance, maintenance and repairs, vehicle finance charges, licenses) = $3,370
Cost of annual bus pass on TCAT= $450

Drive alone: $3,370 x 0.569 = $1,917.53
Drive in car pool, divided by 2: $3,370/2 (0.119) =$200.52
Public transportation: $450 X 0.059 = $26.55
Bike: (250)(.015)= $3.75
No transportation cost for walk or work at home
Total $2,148.35/year


$44.99+$15 taxes and fees/month = $719.88/year
Verizon local calling and internet service Upstate New York

Verizon, www.verizon.com

$103.16 + $69.92 = $173.08/month = $2,076.96 year
Health Insurance: $103.16/month = $1,237.96 Annual average premium for Employee (while premiums have increased, some staff have HSAs at reduced premiums)
Out of pocket expenses:
Consumer Expenditure Survey 2009:
    Medical services:       $446   
    Drugs:       $326
    Medical supplies:         $67
    Total:       $839/12 = $69.92/month

Sources: Alternatives Federal Credit Union
Bureau of Labor Statistics 2007 Consumer Expenditure Survey: Table – Region of Residence:

$101.62/month = $1,219.44/year
Activities important to employee work-life balance
Based on previous studies, a minimum of $100/month is required. Increased by inflation 1.62%

$60.78/month = $729.36/year
Adjusted from 2008 by inflation rate over the last two years of 1.62%


$110.46/month = $1,325.50/ year
Housekeeping Supplies = $345
Average Apparel cost for men and women 16 and over = $290.50
Footwear = $177
Other apparel products and services $168
Personal care and services = $345

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

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My family's credit union has been Alternatives since '96; We liked the mission, and who could resist banking in a converted house? In 2005 I started thinking about a retail start-up called "Home Green Home" that would sell healthy and eco-conscious home furnishings and renovation supplies. The Business CENTS class helped me to understand and develop the elements of a business plan, and set me on the path to taking the big leap.

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