Is $18 an Hour Good Pay? Can you Live with this?

Is $18 an Hour Good?

In today’s economy, it’s important to assess whether a particular salary is considered good pay or not.

One common wage that many people wonder about is $18 an hour. Is this rate enough to support a comfortable lifestyle, cover basic expenses, and save for the future?

In this blog, we will explore the ins and outs of earning $18 an hour, including how it translates to weekly, monthly, and yearly salaries, how taxes may affect take-home pay, how it compares to average wages, and whether it is considered a good wage overall.

So, let’s dive in and find out if $18 an hour is good pay or not.

Is $18 an Hour a Good Salary?

Is $18 an Hour a Good Salary?

$18 an hour is a decent hourly wage, but translates to a modest annual salary. Working full-time at $18 per hour equals about $37,000 per year, which is above the minimum wage in most areas. This salary provides a living wage for most Americans, but may be considered low pay in high cost of basic living expenses.

While $18 an hour is a good salary for entry-level jobs, but is relatively low for skilled positions requiring extensive formal education or training.

Earning $18 an hour can provide a single person with a decent standard of living. This wage is above the poverty threshold in the United States for a single person, ensuring financial stability. However, if supporting a family, especially with multiple children, this wage may not be sufficient or a livable wage to cover all expenses without relying on additional government assistance programs.

Convert $18 Per Hour to Weekly, Monthly, and Yearly Salary

Convert $18 Per Hour to Weekly, Monthly, and Yearly Salary

To get a better understanding of how $18 an hour translates to different time frames, let’s convert it into weekly, monthly, and yearly salaries.

By doing this, we can see the bigger picture of how much a person can expect to earn over a certain period of time.

$18 an Hour is How Much a Year?

If you earn $18 every hour, your yearly salary would be $37,440. We figure this out by imagining you work 8 hours each day, 5 days every week, and for 52 weeks in the year, making it a 40 hour work week. So, it’s like multiplying 40 (hours per week) by $18 (your wage) and then by 52 (weeks per year), and that gives you an annual income of $37,440.

$18 an Hour is How Much a Month?

If you earn $18 per hour, your monthly salary would be $3,120. We figured this out by dividing your yearly income by 12 months. It’s like taking the amount you make in a whole year and splitting it into 12 equal parts for each month. So, your monthly salary is $3,120.

$18 an Hour is How Much a Biweekly?

If you earn $18 every hour, your paycheck every two weeks would be $1,440. We calculated this by multiplying your hourly wage by the number of hours you work in two weeks (which is like doubling your weekly hours). So, you’d get $1,440 every two weeks.

$18 an Hour is How Much a Week?

If you earn $18 every hour, your weekly pay would be $720. We figured this out by multiplying your hourly wage by the number of hours you work in a week. So, if you work 40 hours a week, you’ll get $720 as your weekly salary.

$18 an Hour is How Much a Day?

If you earn $18 every hour, your daily pay would be $144. We figured this out by multiplying your hourly wage by the number of hours you work in a day. So, if you work for 8 hours a day, you’ll get $144 as your daily salary.

$18 An Hour Is How Much A Year After Taxes?

Considering taxes, if you earn $18 an hour, your yearly income after taxes, or net income, would be around $28,585. This accounts for federal taxes at 12%, state taxes at 4%, and Social Security/Medicare at 7.65%. After all these deductions, your hourly wage effectively becomes $13.74, which is $4.26 less than the initial amount you planned for. However, it’s essential to note that individual tax situations can differ, so using a tool to calculate your net paycheck accurately is recommended for a general idea of what to expect, also known as your take home pay.

What Is the Average Hourly Wage in the US?

The average hourly wage in the United States is around $28 per hour. This number varies greatly depending on factors like education, experience, industry, and location. Overall the typical American worker makes between $15 to $40 per hour on average.

What is the Average Salary in the U.S.?

The average salary in the U.S. stands at $59,384 as of Q4 2023. However, certain factors influence this figure, such as age, occupation, race, education, and gender, with variations observed across states and demographics. Overall, it reflects a steady growth compared to previous years, outpacing inflation.

Is $18 an Hour a Good Wage?

If you make $18 an hour, your yearly income is about $37,000, which is considered a good wage for a single individual. However, compared to the average household income of $74,580 in 2022 (which dropped from $79,900 in 2021), $37,000 falls below the national average for a single individual. But if two earners in a household each make $18 an hour, their combined income gets closer to the national median. For people living simply, especially without many expenses, $18 an hour might be enough.

Is $18 an Hour Enough To Live On?

Whether $18 an hour is enough to support you depends on various factors:

  1. Number of dependents: More dependents mean higher expenses.
  2. Cost of living in your state: Some states are more expensive to live in than others.
  3. Lifestyle choices: How you spend your money, like shopping habits and dining out frequency, affects your budget.
  4. Transportation costs: Commuting expenses can add up.
  5. Savings and loan repayments: Financial commitments impact your available funds.

For some, $18 an hour may cover expenses, but for others, especially those with loans or many dependents, it might not be enough. Your ability to manage on this wage also depends on whether you live alone and lead a modest lifestyle.

Jobs that pay $18 an hour

Jobs that pay $18 an hour

Earning $18 per hour can be a good income depending on your location and expenses. It may be enough to cover your basic needs in a more affordable area, but if you want to have some extra money for savings or leisure activities, considering a side hustle could be beneficial. A side hustle can provide additional income and financial security, allowing you to achieve your financial goals more effectively.

Here are some jobs where people usually earn about $18 an hour:

  1. Administrative assistants: They do office tasks like answering phones, data entry, and scheduling. Some college courses may be needed.
  2. Phlebotomists: They draw blood from patients. You usually need to finish a phlebotomy training program.
  3. Food service managers: They run restaurants. You might need 1-3 years of experience in the food industry.
  4. Sales representatives: They sell stuff to businesses or people. You might need a high school diploma or a bachelor’s degree.
  5. Bookkeepers: They keep track of money for companies. Some college courses in accounting might be needed.
  6. Preschool teachers: They teach little kids before kindergarten. Usually, you need an associate’s degree.
  7. Fitness trainers: They help people with exercise. You usually need a high school diploma or an associate’s degree.
  8. Paralegals: They help lawyers with legal work. Most jobs need an associate’s degree in paralegal studies.

These jobs pay between $15 and $20 an hour. The requirements for education and experience can vary.

The impact of inflation on the value of $18 an hour

With inflation at its highest in 40 years, the worth of $18 an hour has gone down a lot. Even though wages have gone up nominally over the past few years, after taking inflation into account, most workers actually earn less in real terms.

In 2023, $18 an hour meant about $37,440 yearly. But with inflation at about 4-5% each year, real wages have dropped by a few percent.

This means that even though workers get the same amount of money as before, they can buy less because prices are going up. Things like housing, food, transportation, and healthcare are all getting more expensive.

Unless wages rise faster than inflation (like getting a 10% raise when inflation is 8%), people’s buying power will keep going down. So, in reality, $18 today doesn’t buy as much as it did a few years ago.

This inflation squeeze makes it tough for people with lower and middle incomes to keep up their standard of living. Those earning around $18 an hour feel this the most.

Ways To Increase Your Hourly Wage

Ways To Increase Your Hourly Wage

If you’re making about $18 per hour and finding it hard to manage your expenses, here are some ways to increase your income:

  1. Ask for a raise: If you’ve been doing well at your job, talk to your boss about getting a higher salary. Show them data about how much others in your field earn.
  2. Look for a better-paying job: Check job listings and websites to find jobs that pay more. Make sure your resume and LinkedIn profile are up-to-date.
  3. Take on extra work: Consider doing part-time jobs like driving for rideshare services, tutoring, or freelance writing to earn more money alongside your main job.
  4. Learn new skills: Take online classes or courses to learn skills that could qualify you for higher-paying jobs.
  5. Start a small business: Think about starting your own business, like selling things online or offering consulting services, to bring in extra cash.
  6. Negotiate benefits: If your employer can’t give you a raise, see if they can offer better benefits, like more paid time off.
  7. Move to a cheaper area: If possible, consider moving to a place where the cost of living is lower, so your money goes further.

Using a combination of these strategies can help you increase your income and better manage your expenses on $18 an hour.

Buying a Car on $18 an Hour

Buying a car on $18 an hour

Having a car is important for many people, but it can be expensive. Can you afford one on $18 an hour?

Yes, but you need to be careful. The average monthly car payment in the U.S. is about $550. If you’re making $2,933 a month before taxes on $18 an hour, that’s almost 19% of your income, which is more than the recommended 15%.

Here are some tips for buying a car on an $18 per hour salary:

  1. Buy used: Used cars are much cheaper than new ones, so look for a well-maintained used car with fewer miles.
  2. Get pre-approved: Talk to your bank before shopping for a car to know how much you can spend.
  3. Choose reliability: Pick a car that’s known for being dependable and not needing lots of repairs.
  4. Consider a longer loan: A longer loan term can make your monthly payments lower, but don’t extend it too much.
  5. Stay below your budget: Don’t spend the maximum amount you’re approved for on a car. Leave room in your budget for insurance, gas, and repairs.
  6. Save for a down payment: Putting some money down upfront reduces how much you need to borrow.

As long as you’re careful and plan ahead, buying a car on $18 an hour is possible. Just make sure you budget for all the extra costs that come with owning a car.

Can You Buy a House on $18 Hourly Rate?

Can You Buy a House on $18 Hourly Rate?

Making $18 an hour can be a decent wage, but when considering housing costs, it may not provide a comfortable living situation.

Ideally, housing costs should not exceed 30% of your pre-tax income, which means someone earning $18 an hour should aim to keep housing expenses under $880 per month. Rising housing costs are a significant factor to consider when determining the adequacy of this hourly wage for a comfortable lifestyle.

For many people in the U.S., owning a home is a big goal for their finances and future wealth. But can you buy a house if you make around $18 per hour?

In most places, it’s really hard to buy a house with just this income. But there are some ways you might make it work:

  1. Save up a good down payment: Putting down 10-20% can help keep your monthly mortgage payments low. It takes time to save this much, but it’s possible.
  2. Look for help with the down payment: Some programs help first-time homebuyers by giving them money for the down payment.
  3. Check out special loans: Some loans, like USDA and VA loans, need little or no down payment. They also have easier credit rules and lower interest rates, but you need to qualify.
  4. Think about where you buy: In areas where homes are cheaper and taxes are lower, your money goes further. Avoid expensive cities.
  5. Start small: A smaller, simpler home costs less to buy and take care of.
  6. Get help from someone else: If someone with good credit helps you out, you might get a better loan.
  7. Get a part-time job: Extra money from a side job can help pay for your mortgage.

Buying a home on $18 an hour takes a lot of planning and hard work, but it’s possible if you’re smart about it. Just make sure you’re realistic about what you can afford.

Example Budget For $18 Per Hour

Example Budget For $18 Per Hour

To figure out if you can live on $18 an hour, it’s useful to make a sample monthly budget:


Your monthly take-home pay after taxes is $2,933. If you have side income of $500, your total monthly income is $3,433.


Here’s an example of monthly expenses:

  1. Rent: $800 (if you share with roommates or live in a cheaper area)
  2. Car Payment: $200 (for a used car)
  3. Car Insurance: $100
  4. Gas: $80
  5. Groceries: $250
  6. Eating Out: $200
  7. Fun Stuff: $100
  8. Utilities: $150
  9. Phone: $80
  10. Internet: $50
  11. Healthcare: $75 (if you have insurance through work)
  12. Other Stuff: $150

Total: $2,235


You have $1,198 left every month.

This means you can pay for your usual expenses, save some money, and still have extra cash left over each month. With careful planning, earning $18 an hour can support a good lifestyle in many places.

But how easy it is depends on:

  1. How much you pay for housing and if you can find a place to live.
  2. How big your family is and how much you spend on them.
  3. If you owe money and how much you pay each month.
  4. If you have health issues and how much they cost.

Living frugally and adopting a budget plan can significantly impact how far $18 an hour can go. By embracing a frugal lifestyle, you can stretch your earnings to cover everyday needs and even save for the future. Being mindful of expenses, making smart financial choices, and seeking opportunities for growth can make $18 an hour a viable wage for a comfortable living.

People who are single or have two incomes do best with this salary. But for single parents or families with many kids, it’s harder and they might need help.


In conclusion, whether $18 an hour is considered good pay depends on various factors such as your location, cost of living, and personal financial goals. It’s important to convert the hourly wage to weekly, monthly, and yearly salaries to get a better perspective.

At $18 per hour, the wage is considered decent for a first job, especially for a young individual starting their career journey. While it may be below the federal poverty line in some cities, it provides an opportunity to learn valuable skills, gain work experience, and lay the foundation for future career growth.

For those new to the workforce, this hourly rate can serve as a stepping stone towards higher pay and promotions down the line. It’s important to remember that first jobs are more about building experience rather than focusing solely on monetary compensation.

Additionally, considering taxes like social security tax, state income tax and deductions will give you a clearer picture of your take-home pay. It’s also crucial to compare your hourly wage to the average hourly wage in your country and the average salary.

Ultimately, what constitutes a good wage is subjective and depends on individual circumstances. If you’re looking to increase your hourly wage, consider acquiring new skills, seeking higher-paying job opportunities, or negotiating for a raise.

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