Recently, there’s been alot of talk about raising the federal minimum to $15 an hour. So, you’re probably asking yourself two questions: “15 dollars an hour is how much a year?” and “Can I live on $15 an hour?”
By the end of this post, you’ll be an expert on everything $15 an hour, including jobs that pay $15 an hour, a sample budget for 15 dollars an hour salary, and whether or not it’s enough to live off of, because, in the end, that’s the only thing that matters.
Related: How much is 6 figures?
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15 dollars an hour is how much a year?
A full-time job earning 15 dollars an hour is $31,200 a year.
Let’s break this down a bit further:
A full-time workweek consists of 40 hours of paid work hours (on average), multiple that by the average number of weeks in a year, (52).
40 times 52 equals 2,080 hours worked each year.
2,080 (hours worked) multiplied by $15 equals a yearly salary of $31,200.
If your job does not offer paid time off (usually up to 2 weeks), and you decide to take an unpaid 2-week vacation each year, your actual annual salary would be $30,000.
Here’s the math:
40 (hours worked per week) times 50 (weeks worked) equals 2,000 (total hours worked per year).
2,000 (total hours) multiplied by $15 equals $30,000.
But… “How much is $15 after taxes?” you ask
On average, if you make $31,200 a year, you’ll pay 18.4% of your annual salary in taxes (federal, state, social security, and medicare).
This brings your approximate annual take-home pay (if you earn $15 an hour) to $25,450.
TIP: The key to living on $31,200 a year is to become a master at budgeting.
How much is $15 an hour per month?
If you work 40 hours per week and make $15 an hour, you would earn $2,600 per month before taxes.
This averages out to about $2,121 a month after taxes.
Here’s the math on this one:
Simply take your annual salary ($31,200) and divide it by 12 (number of months in a year) and you’ll get your monthly pay of $2,600.
To calculate your monthly salary, you can also take your daily pay (see below) and multiply by 21.7(which is the average number of work days in a month).
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How much is $15 an hour biweekly?
If you work 40 hours a week (full-time) at $15 an hour, you’ll make $1,200 biweekly.
Your take-home pay would be about $1060 every other week.
How much is $15 an hour for 40 hours a week?
If you worked a 40-hour week and make $15 an hour, you would gross $600 per week.
Your take-home pay after taxes would be about $530 a week.
How much is $15 an hour per day?
$15 an hour will net you $120 for an 8-hour workday.
After taxes, you’d clear about $106 a day.
To calculate your daily pay:
Take your hourly salary ($15) and multiply by 8 (hours worked per day). This gives you $120 per day (before taxes).
Can you live off of 15 an hour?
Now that you know how much is 15 dollars an hour a year, as well as how much you’d net after taxes, it’s time to figure out whether you can actually live on $15 an hour.
The answer is…yes, you can live off $15 an hour…as long as you live in a city with a low cost of living index and do not have dependents.
However, depending on how frugal you are, you likely won’t have much money left over at the end of the month for many ‘extras’.
TIP: You’ll be able to stretch your pay much further if you live in a state that doesn’t charge an income tax such as:
- South Dakota
- New Hampshire
According to the US Census Bureau, the average personal income for 2019 was $35,977. Therefore, if you make $31,200 per year ($15 an hour), you fall just below average for wages in the US.
That said, a full-time job making $15 an hour would put you well above poverty guidelines ($12,750 a year) for a single individual.
Can you buy a house making $15 an hour?
Why? Because, most lenders prefer your debt-to-income ratio (monthly debt payments divided by gross monthly income) to be less than 43%, and at $15 an hour, even with no debt, you’d probably struggle to afford a mortgage payment, insurance, and upkeep on a home.
That said, I’m not one to say ‘never’. It’s possible you could afford a mobile/manufactured home, a tiny house, or even a duplex, condo, or townhouse, as long as you are debt-free, have a good credit rating, and have some savings built up.
Additionally, if you come into a large amount of money via a settlement or inheritance, and find yourself suddenly able to afford a decent down payment on a home, at that point, even making $15 dollars an hour, it would make financial sense to buy versus rent.
Related: Can you live off of $18 an hour?
Tips to live on $15 an hour
These tips will help you make the most of your income no matter how much you earn.
- Pay off debt-Even a little bit of debt can quickly eat away at $2121 a month.
- Live below your means-Whether you make $15 an hour or $50 an hour, you’ll avoid going into debt if you adopt frugal habits and avoid lifestyle creep.
- Make a (realistic) budget-Creating a budget is a super-easy way to keep track of your money.
- Save unexpected money-Set up a financial cushion for yourself by resisting the urge to splurge whenever you get a raise, income tax refund, or other unexpected windfalls.
Tips to increase your income if $15 an hour is not enough
If you find that $15 is not quite enough to live on, there are tons of relatively painless ways to increase your income.
- Ask for a raise- the worse your boss can do is say ‘no’
- Start a blog– last year I made over $30,000 blogging part-time!
- Sell crafts– if you have a hobby you love find a way to monetize it
- Sell your skills- on Upwork or Fiverr
- Get a side job- become an Uber driver, walk dogs, deliver pizza
- Take paid surveys–A great way to earn extra cash while you binge-watch Netflix
- Get cash back whenever you shop (Get $20 free when you spend $20)
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Jobs that earn 15 dollars an hour
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the majority of jobs that make $15 an hour do not require prior experience, however, you will need a high school diploma to be considered for employment at most places.
|Job||Average Pay |
|What they do|
|Butcher||$15.62||Cut, trim, and package meat for sale|
|Call Center Rep||$15.00||Provide customer service and troubleshooting|
|Mail Clerk||$15.68||Prepare incoming and outgoing mail for distribution|
|Grounds Maintenance Worker||$14.85||Maintain landscaping for houses, businesses, and parks|
|Psychiatric Tech||$15.40||Care for people with mental illness and/or developmental delays|
|Receptionists||$14.45||Answer phones, schedule appointments, file paperwork|
|Retail Workers||$15.30||Cashier, stock shelves, customer service|
|Switchboard Operator||$14.72||Operate telephone systems/switchboards to relay incoming, outgoing, and interoffice calls.|
|Tailor/Dressmaker||$15.15||Design, make, alter, repair, or fit garments.|
|Bank Teller||$15.02||Accurately process routine financial transactions|
Related: Which jobs earn $40,000 a year?
$15 an hour budget
Here’s a budget example for someone who earns $2,121 per month after taxes using a 70/20/10 budget (70% of income spent on monthly expenses including entertainment, 20% set aside for retirement & savings, and 10% allocated for debt repayment):
$15 an hour final thoughts
While $15 dollars an hour will boost you out of poverty-level earnings, you still may find yourself struggling to make ends meet.
With housing prices soaring, you’d also likely find it difficult to find affordable (safe) housing.
Longterm, $15 an hour won’t be enough to fund vacations and retirement, so you’ll want to look for ways to supplement your income as your expenses rise.
That said, if you’re single, live in an area with a low cost of living index, are debt-free, and watch your budget, you can absolutely live on $15 an hour.