Is It Enough to Live on $18 an Hour?


If you’re making $18 an hour, it can be daunting to know exactly how this adds up each year. While this amount might suffice if you live alone without debts to worry about, it may not cover everything needed if you have children or reside in more costly states.

Cost of living

Cost of living calculations are an integral component of deciding where you can afford to live, as it demonstrates what goods and services people require on an average basis for survival, such as food, shelter, energy costs, transport services and healthcare needs. Once calculated they can then be compared against similar cities or countries: as living costs rise the lower your income must be to sustain your desired standard of living.

An average full-time worker earning $18 an hour would bring home approximately $37,440 annually before taxes and assumes they do not work overtime, use sick leave, vacation time or sick pay. You will need to account for other expenses like utilities and healthcare. Living on this salary would require careful planning and tight budget management – although it could be possible.

Maintaining an awareness of your income can help you set realistic financial goals, such as saving for emergencies or retiring early with enough savings for retirement. In addition, tracking income will show whether any lifestyle adjustments need to be made to reduce spending or save more.

Before accepting a job offer in another city, it is wise to understand the cost of living there. Online calculators and price comparison can help you assess if the new salary will cover your lifestyle needs adequately. Also be mindful of inflation impacts in various nations or regions which could alter costs as you compare living costs between locations.

Living on $18 an hour requires careful planning and a tight budget, with spending limited and high-interest debt avoided ideally. Roommates or finding additional income streams such as side gigs may help supplement income streams as you try to maintain lower housing expenses in cheaper areas if possible.


At $18 an hour, your annual salary before taxes is $37,440 before payroll deductions such as Federal, Medicare, and Social Security taxes; your net income after these taxes comes to $31,843. State taxes vary by state so if you’re considering moving states check their tax rates first to understand how this could impact your net income.

On $18 an hour, it is possible to make a comfortable living, depending on your lifestyle and savings. In an expensive city it may be hard to afford basic needs like food and housing; but with careful budgeting and living frugally enough you could save enough for retirement and other expenses.

No matter if you’re looking for extra hours or making some extra cash, there are ways to increase your income using online resources or local pawnshops. Phone apps allow users to scan discounted items and resell them on sites such as Amazon; but be careful as if caught, serious penalties could ensue.

When calculating annual earnings, make sure to account for overtime pay, which typically equals 1.5 of what your usual salary would be. Furthermore, keep in mind that other factors can have an effect on this figure such as state and local taxes based on how many days worked and your location.

There are various methods of calculating wages, including weekly, biweekly, and monthly calculations. To calculate a monthly wage, divide your annual salary by 52 and divide that figure by the hours worked per week; to figure out your biweekly earnings multiply your annual salary by two; finally multiply it again to get your bimonthly pay check.

Although surviving on an hourly wage of $18 is possible, in order to ensure financial security it’s essential to live frugally and save as much as possible. At least 36% of your annual earnings should be set aside as savings for debt payments and emergencies.

Living expenses

At $18 an hour, whether or not $18 is enough to live on depends on many factors – lifestyle and the value you place on your time being the primary considerations. But there are ways you can increase income while decreasing expenses to enjoy a better quality of life – budgeting can help determine how much can be spent on things such as housing and groceries while learning how to reduce debt and eliminate unnecessary costs; or you could move to an area with lower living costs altogether.

If you want to know how much money is necessary for living off $18 an hour annually, including taxes, it is crucial that you consider all aspects of your annual earnings including taxes. Depending on the tax rates and deductions of your state, an annual salary ranging from $18 an hour could range anywhere from $28,080 – $37,440 and represent full-time work week defined by IRS as 30-40 hours per week.

Add your annual earnings as well as the cost of living expenses in your area to provide an accurate picture of how far $18 an hour will stretch. To maximize its effectiveness, consider purchasing an inexpensive home and cutting expenses whenever possible.

Start looking into side hustles as an additional way of earning extra income while working your main job. Selling items on online marketplaces such as Amazon or eBay or using an app on your phone that calculates how much they’re worth is one option available to you.

Remember when purchasing a home that your lender will require you to meet a debt-to-income ratio of 36% of income in debt payments such as principal, interest, PMI premiums and property taxes in order for you to qualify for their mortgage loan.


Making $18 an hour may not seem like much, but it can be enough to support yourself if expenses remain reasonable and debt is kept under control. Utilizing a budget and tracking your spending can help identify ways you can save money; additional income sources include working extra hours or getting another job. You could even work with a credit counselor for advice on building savings while decreasing debt levels.

Are You Able to Afford an $18 an Hour Salary? Buying a house on an $18 an Hour Salary depends on your total monthly debt payments and housing expenses, and typically mortgage lenders require no more than 36% of gross monthly income in debt payments; to increase your chances of homeownership on this income level by saving more and reducing debt payments.

Calculating annual earnings is the first step to assessing whether an $18 an hour salary can support you financially, as this will determine your annual tax obligations. Your state determines this, so to find out exactly how much in taxes is owed you can use the 2021 income tax rates to your state and check 401K and health insurance benefits and deductions when making this calculation.

At $18 an hour, working full time for 52 weeks at $18 will net you about $37,440 annually in earnings before taxes and paycheck deductions are taken into account. Of course, this figure could vary depending on how many hours each week are worked in addition to total work weeks worked throughout the year; use this formula to see what would happen if working 40 hours every week for 52 weeks was part of your workload.

Consider other expenses, like child care and utilities costs when making this calculation. As these can eat away at your income significantly, it’s essential that you be aware of them prior to choosing to live off an $18 an hour salary. You can save money by limiting energy use or shopping discounted items; checking Amazon prices before buying items could help ensure you don’t pay more than necessary.