On July 9, 1996 – Minimum Wage Earners Got a 90 Cent Raise
It was on this date July 9, 1996, the U.S. Senate approved a 90 cent raise in the minimum wage from $4.25 an hour through a two-step increase to $5.15 an hour. In 1995, $4.25 an hour is what I made as a cashier at the Big Apple store in Brewer and $5 an hour as a part time DJ at an adjacent radio station doing overnights. It wasn’t a glorious lifestyle back then, but I made it through. Gas was about a buck a gallon, cigarettes were about $2 a pack, a fast food combo was well under $5 and my rent on Center St. in Bangor was $240 a month. I lived close to trouble and danger but that always made for a good story. All that being said, I was 24 and I was within crawling distance from the bars downtown.
I made about $300 a week in total, $60 went to rent and that left me with $240 for food and good times. I had no responsibilities really except to show up for work on time. What it was to be young and foolish.
We made it work as “kids” at $4.25 an hour in 1995 and 1996 says the grumpy old man who doesn’t own a smartphone.