Minimum wage goes up 28 cents an hour: Our ideas about how to spend that windfall

Time to loosen your belt -- your wallet is about to get fatter.

Effective January 1, 2012, Colorado's minimum wage will go up by 28 cents per hour -- from $7.36 to $7.74 for salaried employees and from $4.34 to $4.62 for tipped ones.

The increase is planned because an amendment to the Colorado Constitution passed by voters in 2006 requires the minimum wage to increase as cost of living does.

While 28 cents might not sound like much, it adds up to an extra $582 a year if you work forty hours a week, 52 weeks that year. And here are just some of the things you can do with that extra cash by the day, the week and the year:

Day's end: $2.25

  • A load of laundry washed and dried at White Palace Laundrymat, 94 South Broadway ($2.25)
  • A gallon of milk at Safeway, on sale ($1.97)
  • One song by Colorado-born, MySpace-famous band OneRepublic on iTunes ($1.29)

Week's end -- $11.20

  • Two sessions of Saturday yoga from noon to 1 p.m. at Samadhi Yoga Center ($10)
  • A one-way Skyride ticket to DIA from Market Street Station ($11)
  • A ticket to a regular Starz Denver Film Festival screening, if you're a Denver Film Society member ($11). Keep pinching your pennies if you're not ($13).
  • CliffsNotes on Virgil's Aeneid from the Tattered Cover ($9.99) or a mass-market paperback version of the actual book for $5.95.

Year's end -- $582.40

More from our Lists & Weirdness archive: "A blow-up doll and a dildo: What Pick Up America found while cleaning Colorado's streets."

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