Are you wondering what 15 dollars an hour equals out to per year? Maybe you are looking for a new job that pays at least that much or you are trying to figure out what a budget would look like for 15 dollars an hour.
Perhaps you are wondering if you could actually live on 15 dollars an hour.
Whatever your reason for researching how much $15 an hour is per year, I have some answers for you!
Questions that you may be thinking are:
- How much is $15 an hour every month? A week?
- How much is $15 dollars an hour when working part-time?
- What are some jobs that currently pay $15 an hour?
- What would a budget look like if I made $15 an hour?
- What are some tips and tricks to live more comfortably off of $15 an hour?
Plus, the current federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour, however, the Biden administration has been pushing to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025. This will make it much easier to find a job to make at least that much.
I am going to help you with answers to these questions as well as some others you may have!
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15 Dollars an Hour is How Much a Year?
How much would your gross pay (before taxes) be per year if you made $15 an hour?
I am going to break this down for you based on working the standard 40-hour workweek. To figure this out we have to multiply 40 hours a week by 52 weeks by $15 per hour to get the yearly amount.
40 hours x 52 weeks = 2,080 hours per year
2,080 hours per year x $15 = $31,200 per year
You might think to break this down monthly, you could just divide $31,200 by 12. However, I would caution you not to figure out your monthly income this way because it will vary depending on how many paydays fall within the month (usually 4, sometimes 5 when paid weekly, and usually 2, sometimes 3 when paid biweekly).
Let me show you what I mean.
$31,200 divided by 12 = $2600 per month
However, when you figure out how much your paycheck would be per week, you would multiple 40 hours by $15 an hour.
So 40 hours x $15 = $600 per week
So if there were 4 weeks in the month and you got paid weekly, you would make $2400 that month ($600 x 4). See how that is less than what you got when you divided the total by 12?
If it happens to be one of those months that have an extra week, and therefore you will be getting 5 paychecks for the month, your gross pay for the month would be $3000 ($600 x 5).
See what I mean? So you will need to look ahead at the month to see how many paydays you will have when planning your budget.
This is so important!
How much will my after tax pay (net pay) be if I make 15 dollars an hour?
This is much harder to answer because it is not as straightforward as just crunching some numbers!
The best thing for you to do to get an estimate of how much you will be bringing home is to use an online income tax estimator calculator.
For this example I used married filing status, no allowances, or extra withholding. Here is the calculator I used if you would like to check it out for your state and filing situation.
You have to figure in your filing status (if you are filing as single, married filing jointly, etc), the number of dependents you will be claiming, and any other amount you usually have withheld from your paychecks for tax purposes.
Your income taxes also depend on the state you live in. There are actually some states that don’t have income tax!
There are 7 states that do not have a state income tax:
- South Dakota
2 others, New Hampshire and Tennessee, don’t tax earned wages (source).
Plus don’t forget to consider all of your other deductions from your paycheck, such as medical insurance, dental insurance, 401K/403b contributions, and disability insurance when figuring your take-home pay.
How much is 15 dollars an hour part-time?
Part-time status varies from employer to employer, but generally, you are considered part-time when you work less than 30-32 hours a week.
Some examples of how much part-time income you would make for 15 dollars an hour are as follows:
20 hours per week
25 hours per week
30 hours per week
Keep in mind these totals are before taxes and other deductions are taken from your paycheck!
How does it compare to the federal minimum wage?
The federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. Someone making $7.25 an hour working 40 hours a week would make a total of $15,080 in a year, which is $16,120 less than making $15 an hour.
Can you survive on 15 dollars an hour?
Being able to live off of $15 an hour depends on many things. There is definitely not a straightforward answer to that question either. Some things it will depend on are:
- The cost of living for where you live
- The amount of debt you have
- If you are a one-income or two-income household
- The number of children/dependents you have
- The type of lifestyle you have or want to have
- If you are living with roomates or renting a room to someone
Comparison to Federal Poverty Level for Family of four
The federal poverty level for a household of four people in 2021 is $26,500. So if you are making $15 dollars an hour, you are above the poverty level.
And $26,500 equals out to $12.74 an hour when working 40 hours a week.
How does 15 dollars an hour compare to the median household income?
The median household income for the United States was $68,700 in 2019. For a 40 hour work week, this comes out to $33.03 an hour.
Keep in mind this is household income. If two people living together both made $15 an hour, their household income would be $62,400 bringing it very close to the national median income.
Example Budget for $15 an hour
Here is a sample monthly budget for someone making $15 dollars an hour based on a 4 week month. Check out this source to help you determine your budget percentages.
Jobs that pay 15 dollars an hour
Here are some jobs that pay $15 dollars an hour [source]:
Tips to live on 15 dollars an hour
If you will be or currently are living on $15 an hour, you may need to figure out how to find more money in your budget to spend on the necessities. As you can see by the sample budget 15 dollars an hour can be quite tight to live on.
However, there is hope!
There are things you can do to help stretch your budget and help your money go further. Here are some tips that could help you.
Live in a less expensive area
Where you live will play a big part in being able to survive on 15 dollars an hour. The largest part of a budget is usually your housing costs.
So if you are looking for a place to call home, do some research to find the most affordable housing that meets your needs.
This brings me to my next tip…
Determine your housing needs vs. wants
Not only will living in an affordable area help stretch your dollars, deciding what you truly need in a home will also help your money go further.
Do you definitely need a three-bedroom apartment or could you get away with a two-bedroom with a loft?
Do you absolutely need one and a half bathrooms or would one bathroom suffice?
Do you need a garage or carport or would off-street parking be okay too?
You get the idea. Keeping your housing budget in check is key to living comfortably no matter how much money you make.
Create a budget and stick to it
Once you have the housing portion of your budget figured out, you will need to figure out a reasonable, workable monthly household budget.
Sticking to a budget is much easier said than done so you want to set yourself up for success by being realistic with all of your expense categories.
You will want to continuously monitor your budget and make changes as needed to help you stick to it.
Live Below your means
Living below your means is key to financial wellness. Living below your means helps you pay off debt, save for large purchases, grow an emergency fund, and save for your future.
Being mindful of the more expensive areas of your budget, like your housing costs, car payments, insurance costs, and your food budget can help you live within your means.
Besides the housing tips above, consider buying a cheaper used car instead of a brand new car that you would have to finance for 5 years, shop around for the best deals on your insurances, and cut back on eating out.
Oh and start meal planning, which is my favorite way to save money!
Live more frugally
Many people confuse frugal living with being cheap. Frugal living is about making intentional decisions when spending your money to benefit you in the future. Being cheap is just well, being cheap!
Everyone’s frugal lifestyle will look different. Why?
Because everyone has different priorities. Frugal living is about spending less on things that don’t matter to you so you can spend money on the things that do.
Just to give you a personal example, we do not eat out but maybe a handful of times a year, including fast food and takeout.
We just don’t see the value in spending money on already prepared food when we can make delicious, healthy meals at home.
But we do spend money on going to the beach every year because that is something we value as a family. We want to give our kids memories from family vacations at the beach because my partner and I never had that growing up.
Establishing your priorities and limiting spending on things that are not important to you will help you stretch your money when living on 15 dollars an hour.
Pay off Debt
Paying off your debt will free up money in your budget. You can then put this extra money to work for you in ways that will benefit your future and your family’s future.
You could use your extra money to:
- Save for a down payment on a home
- Save for a family vacation
- Save for a much-needed home remodel
- Increase your emergency fund savings
- Increase your contribution to a retirement savings account
- Start investing in index funds
Set up an Emergency Fund
Having a stockpile of cash in a savings account for “just in case” can help you to live on 15 dollars an hour. An emergency fund will help prevent you from going into debt if something crazy and expensive happens.
True story…when I was home on maternity leave with my first son, we had a water line leak in our front yard. The water company guy came out, stuck his ear to a pipe to listen, and confirmed it was indeed a leak.
I could have told him that! My yard was flooded!
He informed us that because it was on our property it was our responsibility to get the leak fixed and the water company was not responsible to pay to have it fixed.
Long story short, we called in a plumber, they dug up our front yard, fixed the leak, and left us with a $2,000 bill.
Our emergency fund saved us from putting that $2,000 on a credit card when I was not working and home with our newborn.
Emergency funds are essential when living on a single income or living on a small income.
Find cheap entertainment
Entertainment can definitely blow up your budget, making it difficult to live on 15 dollars an hour. Get creative to find inexpensive ways to have fun with your partner and family.
Revamp your date nights to do activities that are cheap but still fun and romantic. Look for ways to entertain your kids at night and on the weekends that don’t cost a lot of money.
Check out my post on inexpensive things to do at night for some frugal ideas.
What to do if 15 dollars an hour just isn’t enough
If you are finding that making 15 dollars an hour just isn’t cutting it, you could find a way to make more money. There are tons of ways to make extra money every month. You just have to take some time to figure out what will be best for you and figure out how to fit it into your schedule.
Here are some ways to increase your income.
Ask for a raise
If you know you have been doing an awesome job at work, why not ask for more money?
Volunteer for working overtime if your company allows it. Working overtime and getting a higher pay rate may work out better financially for you than starting a side hustle or looking for part-time work
Find part-time work
I know working a full day at your day job and then heading to a part-time job is no fun. I’ve been there and done that and totally get that it is exhausting.
However, if you aren’t into starting a side hustle and you aren’t able to get overtime hours at your day job, it is definitely an option that can help you survive.
But make sure that it is going to be worth your time. If possible, try to be selective when choosing your job to make sure you will reap the benefits of working all those hours.
Start a side hustle
There are tons of things you could do to start a side hustle that doesn’t require much or any extra training. Some ideas are:
- Clean houses
- Walk dogs
- Resell items online
- Flip furniture
- Drive for Lyft or Uber
- Deliver food for Door Dash or GrubHub
- Run errands for the elderly
- Mow yards and landscaping
- Give private lessons for your special talents (music, art, dance, sports)
Take online surveys
Online surveys will not make you rich, however, you can earn a few extra bucks from the comfort of your couch!
Use that extra money to fill your gas tank, put it into your emergency fund (every little bit helps!), or buy a small gift for someone.
My favorite survey site is Survey Junkie. You just complete the surveys to earn virtual points, then redeem those points for money in your Paypal account or e-Giftcards!
Plus, here are two of my more popular posts on making extra money you could check out for more ideas:
Living on 15 dollars an hour can be doable with the right budget and lifestyle. However, if that is not enough to support your family, there are plenty of ways to increase your income.
Striving to live within your means by creating a budget you are able to stick to, living more frugally, and finding ways to bring in more money can help you live more comfortably and reach your financial goals no matter how much money make.