Anon, that's $3.63 an hour less than I make, doing basic-ass IT (and that's based on experience, it's typically less if I moved to another position)
I luck out on rent ($600 a month) and it only leaves me with roughly ~$600 of "free" money.
I budget so that money ends up not being saved or used to buy videogames. Realistically, if I was very much a miser, I would be able to save up around $6000 a year, probably. I might be able to buy a used car for about that much at the end of the year, but then I'd be back to square one.
If I actually paid market prices on rent, I'd be paying $800 to $900, and that amount drops to say $3600, which is enough for a "beater" car, which is almost not worth buying because it often has other problems, and again back to square one of no cash. Americans, especially working retail, unless you're a store manager, you live on razor thin margins.