18 Dollars An Hour Is How Much A Year? How Can You Live On It?

If you are making more than 18 dollars an hour as an hourly salary worker, it doesn’t necessarily mean you will live better off of those wages alone.

There are cases where people with higher salaries find themselves struggling, just like those who make less money because they have other financial obligations such as mortgages or car payments that eat up their monthly salary.

But how much do you need to live comfortably? And what does living comfortably really mean?

That’s something every person has to figure out for themselves based on their specific situation.

What is the national average hourly wage for a salary working in the United States?

The national average hourly wage for a salary working in the United States is around 18 dollars an hour which amounts to $36,000 annually. This can vary depending on your location and industry.

For example, if you work in a rural area like South Dakota, your income will be less than what it would be in an urban area like New York City.

The same applies to people who work in retail as opposed to those who work in education.

There are also other factors such as the cost of living, where these wages may not translate into a comfortable lifestyle because there are no opportunities to make extra money.

Is $18 an hour good money?

It depends on the perspective and whether or not someone can live off that money.

But the reality is that people who make $18-$24 an hour almost always have other financial obligations like car payments, mortgages, and credit card debt.

Many of them work paycheck to paycheck, just like someone who makes $9 or $10 a day.

If you have kids or other dependents and provide for them on your income, $18 an hour is not good money.

Even if you have a side job or other source of income outside your regular salary to supplement your living expenses, it’s still probably not enough to live off unless you are very careful with your spending habits and only buy the bare necessities.

How much a year can you live off of 18 dollars an hour?

Calculate your annual salary, monthly wages (before taxes and after) and determine if you’ll be able to work from pay of around 18 per hour and if not.

Find how much you’re expected to earn every year, month, and week (before taxes). Find the best jobs that only make 18 dollars an hour without completing any degree. 

Let us not spend a bunch of dollars on expensive cars or home insurance. Gabi compares insurance quotes and provides the quickest solution in minutes!

Example Budget For $18 Per Hour

A typical $18 an hour budget is based on an estimated take-back pay of $350 less taxes. Take a budget template below and fill out the numbers for your budget of 18 hours. 

The budget is relatively small, and for an individual would be ideal if they could rent an apartment with a roommate.

I suggest your company match your retirement account.

I wouldn’t suggest you bought a house at 18 dollars an hour, but you can still save about 500 in a month. The estimated gross home earner is $2,542 (variates depending on the amount of tax deducted).

How to Create a Budget When Your Income Fluctuates (Plus 5 Best Budget Apps)

How much do you need to live comfortably

Everyone’s idea of what exactly living comfortably is different.

For one person, it may mean that they’re not working more than 40 hours per week and have plenty of time each day for leisure activities. Another person might live comfortably on less depending on their lifestyle.

Income from any job, whether a salary or hourly wage, can be used to live a comfortable standard of living with expenses that are not extravagant or excessive.

The amount will vary depending on what the individual’s needs are and what their priorities are in life.

If your priority is to live as cheaply as possible, then you may need much less money than someone who has a higher cost of living and needs to spend more money on food or transportation.

Why does it vary depending on your location and industry

The reason it can vary by location and industry is because of different rates of pay.

For example, someone who works in a rural area like South Dakota will have a lower hourly rate than someone who works in an urban area like New York City.

Another factor is the cost of living which can be high in areas like New York City.

This means people need to spend more money on food or transportation.

Why is this important to know

It’s important to know this information because it helps you make informed decisions about your life.

If you’re a salaried worker, the best thing to research is the average hourly wages in your industry and location.

This will give you a better idea of how much you’re worth and what your living needs are.

What are some ways that people with higher salaries find themselves struggling, just like those who make less money

Many people are earning more money than the national average, but they are still struggling.

For example, a single person with a $1 million a year salary who lives in an expensive city will have a much lower quality of life than someone living in South Dakota on $18 an hour.

They might be working 60 hours a week and not have any time to enjoy their life because they’re always working.

Also, some people earn more money than the national average but spend it all on luxury items. They don’t take into account the cost of living and what that means for them.

How can you figure out what living comfortably means for yourself based on your specific situation

  1. The first thing you can do is ask yourself what living comfortably means to you.
  2. Next, look for averages of the hourly pay in your industry and location.
  3. Research what it takes for you to live comfortably as far as housing, paid vacation, health care, transportation, food, etc…
  4. Then take into account other sources of income or financial obligations and see if you can live comfortably with the combined total of your sources of income and/or financial commitments.


Living comfortably is different for everyone, but knowing the average pay rate in your industry and location can help you decide between what you should be spending based on what it takes to live comfortably for yourself.

How much you need to live comfortably depends on how much income your sources of income provide, combined with how many financial obligations you have.

Living comfortably also depends on the cost of living in your area and any luxury items you purchase.

It’s important to know what it means for you to live comfortably to understand how much money is enough money for you to have based on your wants and needs.

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Andia Riz
I'm an ex-banker, agency owner, and SEO & Content Expert for Financial Service Providers & Personal Finance Bloggers. I leverage my expertise in financial writing & SEO to drive more traffic to your blog. Whether you want more traffic to your website for new customers, Ad revenue, or affiliate sales, I can help.
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