How Much Does $18 An Hour Earn You In A Year? And, Is It Enough To Live On?

Most of us would like to get paid more in our jobs. Even if the pay we receive is enough to pay bills and buy food each week, many of us are left with little disposable income afterward. With the federal minimum wage in the United States currently at $7.25, you wonder if that is enough to live on.

However, many states now employ a minimum wage of $15 which is certainly going in the right direction according to most. But, is it still enough? 

What if you get paid $18 an hour? While this is considerably higher than the federal minimum wage in place, you may be wondering how much you would truly make a year on this hourly pay. And, is it a living wage? Read on to find out more.

In today’s blog, we will be detailing how much $18 an hour actually earns you over the course of a year. We will be breaking down how much this equates to per day, per week, and per month. In the end, we should be able to discover if $18 an hour is enough to live on or if you should find other ways to increase your hourly wage.

Knowing how much you get paid in detail will help you understand your savings. By understanding how much you earn a week or a month, you should be able to spend that money more wisely going forward. This could be good news or bad news, depending on how many outgoings you have.

Whatever the result, it is important that you have a plan for your money put in place. If you put money goals first, you may not have to live paycheck to paycheck every month just to survive.  

So, let’s get down to business and find out everything there is to know about earning $18 an hour in the United States.  

How Much Does $18 An Hour Earn You In A Year And, Is It Enough To Live On

How Much A Year Do You Make If You Earn $18 An Hour? 

There are a range of factors that determine how much you may earn over the course of a year when getting paid $18. For instance, if you work full time, the final total will be considerably more than someone who works part-time but also earns $18.

Full-Time Work

To find out the true yearly wage of $18, we took these factors and more into consideration. Firstly, we used the average working day which added up to 40 hours a week of work. This is the average working week for most people who work full time and this can be worked across 52 weeks of the year.

So, if you take 40 and times this by 52, this equals 2,080 hours of work (try not to cry just yet!). Next, we multiplied the hourly salary of $18 by those 2,080 working hours. The result equates to $37,440.

This is the gross annual salary of someone with a full-time $18 per hour wage. Of course, this is gross income and before any taxes, insurance, and more are applied to the salary. Once you have taken these into account, you will be left with your net income which is deposited into your bank.

If you work a 30 hour week and earn $18 an hour, you would make $28,080 a year. (30 hours per week x 52 weeks of the year = 1,560 hours. 1,560 hours x $18 = $28,080.)

As we stated, this is merely an estimation of the yearly salary but sickness days and other factors can obviously affect this. 

Part-Time Work 

To figure out how much $18 per hour earns a part-time employee, we based it on someone who works 20 hours a week instead of 40. We took those 20 hours and timed them by 52 weeks in the year.

This equates to 1,050 working hours over the span of a year. Next, we multiplied the hourly salary of $18 and timed this by those 1,040 working hours. The result is $18,720 a year. 

If you work 25 hours a week instead of 20 and are on $18 an hour, you would earn $23,400 a year before taxes. 

Unsurprisingly, if you work half the time of a full-time job, you will be paid half as much. We understand that part-time jobs have varying hours, as do full-time roles, but these are based on average hours worked. 

How Much Do You Earn A Year After Taxes?

So, now we know the estimated total that $18 earns you a year, let’s examine how much you actually earn a year after taxes are applied to the wage.

If you work 40 hours a week and earn $37,440 a year, you will, on average, pay 15.1% of your income in taxes, Medicare, and social security. If your state collects income tax, you would pay even more than this.

If you pay an average of 15.1% of federal tax, the approximate annual income that you take home becomes $31,769. If you work 25 hours a week in a part-time job, your final take-home pay would be around $20,473.

So, for full-time workers, you would be paying about $5,671 a year in taxes, Medicare, and social security whereas a part-time worker would pay approximately $2,927 a year. (Okay, now you can cry!)

Assuming you work for 2,080 hours throughout the year, your hourly wage after taxes would be approximately $15.27. So, you would be earning $3.73 less than first expected.

Of course, these sums can vary greatly depending on each personal situation. But, these calculations are a great basis to estimate your income after federal taxes, state taxes, Social Security, and Medicare.

How Much A Day Do You Make If You Earn $18 An Hour? 


This all comes down to the number of hours worked throughout a given day. For the best and closest estimation for average earnings, we will base this calculation on a standard 8-hour working day. 

So, 8 hours of work a day x $18 per hour = $144 per day.

If you were to work 10 hour days over the space of four days, then you would make $180 a day (10 hours of work a day x $18 an hour).


If you work a part-time job that also includes cut hours, such as 4 hours a day, then the daily income from $18 an hour would be $72.

How Much A Month Do You Make If You Earn $18 An Hour? 


For full-time workers with 40 hours a week jobs, the average monthly income would be around $3,120. This is found by dividing the annual amount of $37,440 by 12 months of work. 

However, some months are shorter or longer than others. Therefore, if a month is shorter, such as February, you can expect a larger paycheck. But, this can be determined by how often you get paid and the days on which your employer pays you. 

For those who work 30 hours a week, the total monthly income would be approximately $2,340.


If you work 20 hours a week, the average monthly income would work out as $1,560 (Annual salary of $18,720 divided by 12 months of work).

If you work 25 hours a week, the average monthly paycheck would equate to about $1,950.

How Much A Week Do You Make If You Earn $18 An Hour? 


Knowing how much you make a week is very important as it’s something you can plan ahead for at the end of the 5 working days. 

Assuming you work 40 hours a week, the weekly income would be, on average, $720 (40 hours of work x $18 = $720).

If you work 30 hours a week, the income at the end of the 5 working days would be $540.


If you work 20 hours a week, the amount you get paid would be $360 (20 x $18).

If you work 5 hours more at 25 hours per week, you would earn $460. 

How Much Would $18 An Hour Earn You Bi-Weekly?


You may also be wondering what $18 an hour equates to on a bi-weekly basis. Well, for this, we would need to take the average weekly pay of 40 hours a week, full-time worker and double it. Therefore, $720 x 2 = $1,440.

You could also calculate it in the following manner:

40 hours of work x 2 weeks x $18 salary an hour = $1,440.

For someone who works 30 hours a week, their bi-weekly income would be $1,080.


For a part-time worker who works 20 hours a week, their bi-weekly pay would add up to $720 ($360 x 2 weeks).

For someone who works 25 hours a week, their bi-weekly income would equate to $920.

Summary Of Full-Time Earning On $18 An Hour 

Remember, these are estimations and are based on average hours worked.

  • Total income over 52 weeks – $37,440
  • Total income over 50 weeks – $36,000
  • Total income per month (173 hours) – $3,120
  • Total income per week (40 hours) – $720
  • Tta income bi-weekly (80 hours) – $1,440
  • Daily Income (8 hours) – $144
  • Estimated net monthly income – $2,382 

Is $18 An Hour Enough To Live On?

Full-Time Earning

In 2020, the median personal annual income was $35,805. This is a decrease when compared to 2019’s median personal income which was, according to the US Census Bureau, $35,977. 

Therefore, if you are making an average income of $37,440 a year with an $18 an hour wage, you are actually making more than the average U.S. citizen. 

When it comes to finding out how much is enough to survive on, we need to take various factors into account. These include how high or low the amount is, where you live, and all of your personal expenses. 

Living costs are the main determining factor on whether $18 an hour is enough to live on. To figure out if this is enough, you should make a list of what your living costs may be. Think about your priorities and then make a list of certain items you pay for that you could give up.

Also, make a list of what you are not willing to give up. Just make sure that you can afford everything you want or need with your annual pay and your hourly wage. 

When you consider that many citizens are being paid as little as $7.25 an hour for their salary, you can’t help but think that it must be very hard to survive on such low pay. But, it is doable. 

You just have to be savvy and wise about what you spend your money on. Some would even say you need to be ‘frugal’ with your money. Yes, you have earned every cent but you should seriously consider what you should and should not be spending it on.

If someone is making under or close to minimum wage, or even slightly above, they often feel like they are living paycheck to paycheck and it’s a cycle that is neverending.

Unfortunately, many of these individuals do not feel like they can earn more than they do so continue to struggle to pay for bills and expenses. Therefore, the pressure of money keeps on building. This is when the money mindset needs to change. 

If you find that $18 an hour is not enough to pay for everything you want, you need to change your goals. Yes, you may have to miss out on a few luxuries but you will soon find other cheaper luxuries. It is possible to live a comfortable life on $18 without going into debt if you handle your money carefully. 

Of course, where you live can affect how much you spend a month or every year. If you live in an area with a higher cost of living, you may have to think outside the box. For example, you could get a roommate to share expenses with or, if it is too expensive, move to a lower cost of living area. 

Yes, we all love to spend money on “fun” things. But, step back and think if those items are really necessary. Maybe these are what break the bank every month.

Examples include a few coffees out every week, subscriptions to services you rarely use, alcohol, and much more. There are many fun things to do that are free. You just need to break the chain of spending money on unnecessary items and this could free up some spare change for other exciting activities in the future. 

Although $18 an hour equates to a higher yearly salary than the average American citizen, Go Banking Rates suggest that this is not enough to financially support yourself over the course of a year. 

A recent survey completed by Go Banking Rates found that you would need a minimum annual income of $58,000. This is taking the rising cost of house prices and basic living costs into consideration. Of course, this depends on the region where you live. Some areas of the U.S will be a lot more.

For instance, it is calculated that you would need at least $136,000 a year to live in Hawaii when you take all costs into consideration. That’s over $100,000 more than the average annual salary in the U.S.

That being said, whether or not $18 an hour is enough to live on depends on personal circumstances. Where you live, bills and living costs all determine whether $7 or $50 an hour is enough for you to survive. Based on average calculations, $18 should be enough to live on but not in all states of the U.S.

Is It Possible To Purchase A House If You Earn $18 An Hour? 

There’s no hiding that house prices have risen steeply in recent years. Although housing costs are considerably more than they were a few years ago, there is no simple yes or no answer on whether $18 is enough to buy a home.

Again, this depends on various factors such as where you live, the type of home you intend to purchase, how much savings you have for a down payment, your credit score, and many more elements. 

If you have little savings, earning $18 an hour before taxes will make it very difficult to save up enough to purchase a house in the foreseeable future. But, it is not impossible!

With careful planning and a great deal of patience, you could slowly save up enough to buy your first home. However, it is highly likely that you would need other forms of financial help to build up enough for a down-payment on a home.

The same applies if you want to rent as you will need to show you can make a payment on time every month. 

For the majority of us, saving is the number one priority when buying a home. This applies whether you’re earning $18 or even $50. 

Here are some helpful steps to make saving for your home that little bit easier: 

  • Save save save! We recommend getting a side job on weekends or nights to build up some extra income. This doesn’t have to be for long. Just long enough to build up your savings for a down payment. Another job that earns you tips such as wait staff can help a lot. Workers who earn tips tend to make an average of around $300 a week in extra income. Do this for a few months and you are well on your way to your first home!
  • You could invest in basic assets such as bonds or stocks. We suggest you ask your brokerage for help in this field.
  • Spend less on outgoing costs and unnecessary items. Instead, save this extra money or use it for investment opportunities.
  • Try to grow a savings account as fast as possible.
  • Keep your cost of living to a minimum.
  • Try to have a strict budget in place to manage your finances to the best of your ability.
  • Keep a close eye on any debt you may have accumulated and monitor it carefully. It’s best to aim for a debt-to-income ratio of less than 45%.

We understand that most of these tips are easier said than done. But that’s the point! They can be achieved. And, if you follow stricter cash flow rules, you should be able to buy a home when earning $18 an hour with an annual income of $37,400. 

If you reside in an area where the cost of living is too high, you will find it very hard to save up any money. This will also be more difficult to keep your debt-to-income ratio at less than 45%. With little to no savings, buying a home in any part of the United States becomes very challenging. 

How To Increase Your Wage 

Most people who earn a certain amount tend to stay safe with that hourly pay. Even if they are struggling, they feel it is too risky to try new things to achieve more pay. But, there are ways to increase your hourly income. And, you know you deserve it!

If you do a good job and you value yourself and work more than your employer pays you, then it is time to make a stand and try different ways of earning more money. 

Every little counts. Even if you get 50 cents more an hour, this will add up over a year. Instead of earning $37,440 in a full-time job, that extra 50 cents an hour raises your pay to $38,480. A full thousand dollars more a year!

Below are some proven methods of increasing your wage.

Ask Your Employer For A Raise 

If you have been working in your job for a while and work hard, you should firstly ask for a raise. Even if the answer is no, at least you tried! And, you never know, the answer could be yes.

Research your occupation’s average salary online. If you are being paid less than you think, you should bring this up with your employer. But, do not be demanding. Remember, you don’t ask, you don’t get.

Start Looking For Another Job 

If your raise was rejected or you feel it’s time to move on from your job, you can look for another role with higher pay. And, this doesn’t have to be in the same industry you currently work in. Maybe it’s time for a new, exciting challenge! 

For most people, if they want to change their financial situation, they will need a career change. Money is the root cause of stress in so many people. If you’re finding $18 is not enough to enjoy your life on, maybe changing your career will allow you to find a job that pays enough for your lifestyle.

Not only can a new career path increase your wage packet but it can increase your quality of life. 

Earn A Passive Income 

Earning a passive income is a great way to increase your hourly and annual wages. Best of all, this can be achieved in a variety of different ways from investing in the stock market, shares, and real estate.

You can also start to teach online courses and sell items you no longer need. Even if you have a small amount of money, this can build up every month. Therefore, you can move on from financial struggles and take the reins of a financially stable life. 

If you earn passive income, it opens up more possibilities for you to do the things that you enjoy most in life instead of being stressed and unhappy.

An example of passive income is trading in stocks. We recommend taking a few investing classes beforehand to understand how the system works. But, you should make back the money you spend on classes with trading.

Just make sure you understand how the market works at first. Watch videos online (there are a lot), and practice with a simulator before you start investing real money. 

If you are consistent and practice this enough, you could earn a substantial passive income and live the life you have always wanted!

Look At Other Ways To Make An Income 

In modern times, it’s far more common for people to work more than one job. While there are still occupations that pay enough on their own, many individuals need to find ways to make more money on top of their basic income.

Even if you work a maximum of 40 hours a week, you may reach a point when you can not make any more money in your role. If $18 is the max your position pays you but you enjoy the job, you could look at other ways to make more money. This is when a side-hustle steps in.

Side-hustles are a great way to make extra income. Try to find something that you enjoy doing. Think of a hobby you have and try to make some money off this.

For instance, if you’re a good guitarist and singer, try to play some shows on the weekend. This will give you an extra income every week and it will be fun. 

The sky’s the limit for freelancing income so don’t be shy! Aim for the sky and who knows what amazing possibilities are out there.

States That Do Not Have State Taxes 

tax free

If you’re earning $18 an hour but live in a high-cost living area, you may be struggling to pay for everything. Money becomes even more of an issue if you live in a state that has state taxes. This will significantly decrease your net income so that $18 an hour becomes more like $15.

One way to combat this is to move to a state that doesn’t pay state income taxes on wages. These states are:

  • Alaska
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • Florida
  • South Dakota
  • Texas
  • Tennessee 
  • Washington
  • Wyoming

If you live in one of the higher-taxed states, you may want to consider moving to a lower-cost living region. 

The highest cost living areas include:

  • California
  • District of Columbia
  • Hawaii
  • Iowa
  • Minnesota
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Oregon
  • Vermont
  • Wisconsin 

The state income taxes in these regions fall between 7.65% and 13.3%.

How To Make An $18 An Hour Budget 

If you are wondering if you can live on $18 an hour, you need to create a budget plan. Planning your budget every month is the best and easiest way to keep a check on your salary and spendings. 

When you use the percentages in your budget, we recommend using your net income because taxes have to be paid and you will not have the exact sum of $18 an hour to play with.

Below is an example of a budget with $18 becoming $13.74 after taxes. This averages to around $2,382 a month. 

Here’s an estimation of a budget plan we worked out:

  • Your basic expenses of 50% – $1,191.06
  • The money you save of 20% – $476.42
  • The money you give of 10% – $238.21
  • Money spent on fun and luxuries of 20% – $476.42 
  • Debt of 0% – $0

As we stated, this is just an example and not possible for everyone. This is why you have to consider your responsibilities and spending habits.

You must strategize carefully when trying to decrease your basic expenses and overall debt. The more you do this, the more money you will have to spend on the fun aspects of life you enjoy. 

Here is a more detailed breakdown of a budget of $18 an hour with the percentage of household expenses included:

  • Savings: Percentages to aim for – 15-20%, Monthly budget $468
  • Housing costs: Percentages to aim for – 20-30%, Monthly budget $842
  • Utilities: Percentages to aim for – 4-7%, Monthly budget $146
  • Groceries: Percentages to aim for – 5-12%, Monthly budget $250
  • Transportation: Percentages to aim for – 4-10%, Monthly budget $125
  • Clothing: Percentages to aim for – 1-4%, Monthly budget $31
  • Medical expenses: Percentages to aim for – 5-12%, Monthly budget $156
  • Life insurance: Percentages to aim for – 1%, Monthly budget $16
  • Education: Percentages to aim for – 1-4%, Monthly budget $31
  • Personal: Percentages to aim for – 2-7%, Monthly budget $58 
  • Recreational costs: Percentages to aim for – 3-8%, Monthly budget $94
  • Tax (Income Tax, Medicare, and Social Security: Percentages to aim for – 15-25%, Monthly budget $738
  • Debts: Goal – $0
  • Total gross income: $3,120

By having a budget in place every month, you can carefully plan how much you can and can not spend. Of course, this could change from month to month and depends on where you live and your lifestyle. But, when you have a budget set out, you will understand your priorities better than ever before.

Examples Of Jobs That Pay $18 An Hour 

If you’re currently on less than $18 and dreaming of earning that much, then you should consider some of the following occupations that often pay at least $18 per hour.

All you need to do is spruce up your resume, write an intriguing cover letter that highlights your skills, and polish up on your interview technique to land yourself a dream job!

We suggest that you begin by looking at cities that require minimum wage. These tend to be the best places to find jobs that generally pay higher salaries than the rate of federal minimum wage.

Thankfully, a lot more cities are moving in this direction so you will have more choice of where to land a decently paid job.

Some jobs that often pay $18 an hour or more include:

  • Customer service representatives
  • Administrative assistants
  • Delivery drivers
  • House Cleaning specialists
  • Warehouse workers
  • Security officers
  • Laborers
  • Receptionists
  • Fast food shift managers

These are just a few examples. Some of these roles may come with a lower or higher salary depending on the company and region where the job is. Search online and take a look around your local area and you may find a job that pays $18 either full-time or part-time.

In Summary 

As you can see from our article, $18 an hour equates to a higher than average yearly income in the United States. Of course, there are many variables that affect the net income but $18 an hour is certainly enough for most people to live on.

If you work a full-time job for $18 an hour and 40 hours a week, your income will be approximately $37,440 a year before taxes. If this is not enough, we have detailed possible ways to increase your income above as well as some helpful tips to live comfortably on this salary. 

Be savvy with your hard-earned money and have a budget in place. With a proper plan, you should be able to enjoy a life you love with an $18 an hour job.

Deborah White