The Worth of a Galleon
29 knuts = 1 sickle
17 sickles = 1 galleon
493 knuts = 1 galleon
1 knut = £.01 or $.02
£.01 or $.02 in 1882 = £.28 or $.45 now
1 sickle = £.29 or $.59
£.29 or $.59 in 1882 = £8.25 or $13.16 now
1 galleon = £5 or $10.07
£5 or $10.07 in 1882 = £140.75 or $224.60 now
10 galleons = £50 or $100.70
£50 or $100.70 in 1882 = £1408.33 or $2246.01 now
The Value of Work
PAY LEVEL ONE: 17g weekly
High-level Ministry: Minister, Chief Warlock
PAY LEVEL TWO: 10g - 15g weekly
Mid-Level Ministry: Department Heads
PAY LEVEL THREE: 7g - 10g weekly
Lower-Mid-Level Ministry: Squad/Division Heads
Quite Successful Shop Owners
PAY LEVEL FOUR: 5g - 7g weekly
Ministry Professionals: Regular departmental workers; Aurors; upper-level assistants; token payment for Wizengamot members who wouldn't need a pay anyways
Quite Successful Shop Managers
Moderately Successful Shop Owners
Well Established Professors
PAY LEVEL FIVE: 3g8s - 5g weekly
Moderately Successful Shop Managers
Less Successful Shop Owners
First string quidditch players
PAY LEVEL SIX: 2g - 3g8s weekly
Second String quidditch player
Skilled Workers - including certain shop employees
Less Successful Shop Managers
PAY LEVEL SEVEN: 8s - 2g weekly
All Other Shop Employees
Unskilled Workers: Inlcuding welcome witches, maids, etc.
Pay Level Four is the lowest income an individual can have to maintain a middle-class status without other income and/or parental support, though pay level three is required to move someone from lower to middle class.
Money was a great deal of what made someone belong to a certain class, although it was not everything. Pay levels one and two were enough that they could launch one into the upper class; everything else did not, and some jobs (such as prostitute) automatically thrust someone into the lower class no matter how much or little they made.
It was very difficult to work ones way into the upper class, and when it was done it was usually done through owning a large business -- something much larger than a simple shop -- and the problem with entering the upper class through business was that a bad year could return you to the middle class or even destroy you completely and leave you in the lower class.
For the most part, it was birth or marriage that determined class, and class was quickest lost through reputation. Although a man would not remain long in the upper class if he were a common laborer, and even a middle class woman would fall to the lower class for prostitution, most work did not change ones class.
It was much easier to move down the social ladder than up (a baby out of wedlock, for example, could ruin a girl's reputation and thrust her into the lower class). The easiest way to move up in class was marriage, and even that option was usually only available to women because in most cases a woman took on her husband's social class.