$18 an Hour is How Much Per Year: Is It Actually a Livable Salary?

By Carrie Wilder | Last Updated: June 14, 2024 

“$18 an hour is how much a year?” Making a living wage is essential to having a comfortable life. For many people, earning $18 an hour is enough to cover their basic needs. However, there are some (or many) circumstances where this salary simply isn't enough.

In this article, we're going over:

  • How to determine whether $18 per hour is good for you.
  • Best jobs that earn around $18 per hour.
  • How much $18 per hour is per year, per month, per week, and bi-weekly.
  • Whether or not an $18 an hour salary is a living wage
  • How to make more money without being reliant on hourly pay.
  • And much more.

Let's dive in.

$18 Per Hour is How Much Per Year? Full-Time and Part-Time Annual Salary

If you work full time at 40 hours a week for the entire year (52 weeks), you'll work a total of 2,080 hours per year.

Full Time Yearly Earnings at $18 an Hour Salary

If you make $18 an hour and work full-time, your average yearly salary will be around $37,440 before taxes and deductions.

This assumes you work a 40 hour work week for every week of the year, which is 52 weeks.

Part Time Yearly Earnings at $18 / Hour Salary

If you make $18 an hour and work part-time, your average yearly salary will be around $18,720 before taxes and deductions.

This figure was calculated from a part-time job equalling 20 hours per week.

Full Time vs Part Time Job Hours

In the United States, a full-time job is any job where you work between 30-40 hours per week.

However, a part time job is any job where you work less than 30 hours per week. For the sake of the calculations in this article, we estimate a part-time job to be 20 hours a week.

If you want to do your own calculations, just multiply 18 by however many hours a week you work.

For example:

  • 10 hours a week: 18 x 10 = $180 weekly
  • 180 x 4 = $720 monthly (at 10 hours/wk)
  • 720 x 12 (months) = $8,640 per year (at 10 hours/wk)

How Much is $18 Per Hour a Week?

$18 an hour is how much per year? How much is it per week?

If you work full-time, $18 per hour works out to be around $720 per week before taxes and deductions.

Working full-time is often seen as the standard, but there are many jobs that pay $18 per hour for part-time work as well.

However, if you work part-time at 20 hours a week, your income before taxes works out to be $360 per week.

$18 Per Hour Bi-Weekly Pay Before Taxes

A full-time bi-weekly paycheck at $18 per hour works out to be $1,440 before taxes and deductions.

If you work part-time, your bi-weekly paycheck will be $720 or more, depending on how many hours you work. Again, this is before taxes and deductions.

How Much is $18 Per Hour a Month?

If you work a full-time job at $18 per hour, you can expect to earn around $2,880 per month before taxes and deductions come out of your paycheck.

Alternatively, if you work part time (20 hours or more), you can expect to earn around $1,440 per month or more. This is also before taxes and deductions come out of your check.

$18 Per Hour Salary Breakdown

$18 per HourFull-Time (40 hrs/wk)Part-Time (20 hrs/wk)
Per Year$37,440$18,720
Per Month$2,880$1,440
Per Week$720$360
Per Day$144$72

Can You Live Off of $18 Per Hour?

Making $18 per hour is a comfortable living in some parts of the United States, but in larger cities it will be hard to make ends meet.

In order to make the most of your income, you'll need to budget and save as much money as possible. Here are a few tips on how to do that.

  • Make a budget and stick to it.
  • Cut back on unnecessary expenses.
  • Live within your means.
  • Find creative ways to make more money to cushion your savings account.

Related: How Much is Six Figures?

Average Annual Wages for Employees in the United States

$18 an hour is how much per year? Annual average wages in the United States.

According to the United States Census, the median income among workers in the United States was around $56,000 (averaged between men's and women's earnings).

This average is almost $20,000 more per year than the salary of someone who makes $18 per hour.

So, while $18 is less than the average in the United States, it can be a decent wage in certain portions of the country with a lower cost of living. This includes rural areas and small towns where the cost of living hasn't risen astronomically (yet).

Is $18 Per Hour a Living Wage?

Considering the fact that many people in the United States are lobbying for a minimum pay rate of $15.00, $18.00 might not be as good as it sounds.

Sure, it sounds a lot better than the current minimum wage. But there are a lot of factors that play into whether or not it's actually a living wage for a specific individual.

If you live in a place with a low cost of living and don't have kids, $18 per hour can be a decent income right now.

What is a ‘Living Wage'?

A living wage is the minimum hourly wage necessary to provide a worker and their family with the basic necessities of life. A living wage should be high enough that it allows workers to pay for food, clothing, housing, transportation, healthcare, and other essentials without having to rely on government assistance.

There is no definitive answer as to what constitutes a living wage, as different areas of the country have different costs of living. However, most experts agree that a living wage should be at least $15 per hour.

However, GoBankingRates published a study that suggests that $18 per hour is not a livable wage no matter what state you live in.

Is $18 an Hour Over the Poverty Threshold?

A full-time yearly salary of $37,440 for a single person earning $18 per hour is over the federal poverty guideline.

According to the Department of Human Health and Services, the federal poverty line in 2021 for a single person in the United States is an income of $12,760 per year or less.

However, you may fall under the poverty threshold if you are a single earner trying to support a family of 7 or more. For a family of 7, the poverty threshold is $40,120.

Can You Afford an Apartment on $18 Per Hour?

Depending on the area you live in, it may be more or less difficult to afford an apartment on $18 per hour. Experts recommend spending no more than 30% of your income on rent.

Going by this metric, you can afford an apartment on $18 per hour (full-time) if the rent is $860 per month or less.

In general, you should aim to spend no more than 30% of your income on both rent and household bills. This will ensure that you have enough money left over for other necessities, like food, savings, and transportation.

However, this scenario isn't always realistic. Rent prices are sky-high in many parts of the country. In cities like New York, Dallas, or San Francisco, you might not even be able to find a studio apartment for less than $1,000 per month.

Can You Buy a House on $18 Per Hour?

Buying a house is one of the most expensive purchases you'll ever make. Making $18 per hour may not be enough to buy a house in some parts of the United States. However, if you have excellent credit, you may qualify to buy a house in areas of the country with a low cost of living.

If you're a first time homebuyer, you may qualify for a USDA first-time buyers home loan.

USDA loans are designed to help first-time homebuyers who might not qualify for a regular mortgage.

USDA loans can be used to buy, build, or repair a house in rural areas of the United States. Each state has different eligibility requirements. But, if you live in a rural area and make $18 an hour, a USDA loan might be perfect for you to buy a home.

Types of Jobs That Make Around $18 Per Hour

With state and local minimum wages quickly rising to meet the demand for $15 an hour minimum, more and more jobs are starting to pay between $15-$20 per hour.

This means that many entry-level jobs that don't require certifications or training are starting to pay at least $18 per hour. Here are some examples:

  • Amazon Warehouse Worker ($18/hr)
  • Walmart Call Center Specialist ($17/hr)
  • FedEx Warehouse Package Handler ($18/hr)
  • Amazon Delivery Driver ($18.50/hr)
  • Bank Teller (up to $20/hr)
  • Chewy Warehouse Associate ($17.50/hr)
  • Dicks Drive-In ($19/hr)
  • Hobby Lobby ($17/hr starting)

It's really exciting to see minimum wage increase and how many entry-level jobs and employers are setting the standards. However, with inflation, we should hope to see these wages also continuing to rise.

Determine if $18 is Good For You (AKA How to Create a Budget)

The best way to find out if $18 per hour is good for you is to create a budget.

Creating a budget involves writing down all of your monthly expenses and adding them up. Your monthly expenses should include:

  • Rent
  • Utilities (electric, water, gas, etc)
  • Phone bill
  • Car payment and insurance
  • Fuel expenses
  • Grocery expenses
  • Estimated “fun money” expenses. (dining out, new clothes, etc)
  • Other expenses like children, pets, etc

The total of all of these categories is the minimum amount of money you need to survive. According to Intuit, you should spend around 50% on living expenses. The rest should be used for savings, retirement, investing, etc.

So, if you work full-time at $18 per hour and have an income of $2,880 per month, your total monthly expenses should sit around $1,400 per month. If your expenses fall into this range, then $18 per hour might be great for you!

Ideas to Earn More Money That Aren't Dependent on an Hourly Wage

Back in 2016, I was working in the service industry and desperate to increase my income. At that time, I was earning $15 per hour, and I thought that was the best wage I'd ever been paid.

However, it wasn't enough. I wanted to travel and live a location-independent lifestyle and I couldn't do that with my job. So, I started researching.

By 2017 I was working as a part-time freelancer. By 2018, I had totally replaced my $15 per hour income and I set my own schedule and my own rates.

Today I earn more than double the salary from my last “job”, and I work for myself. I set my own hours, I choose who I work with, and I set my own pay rates.

I started this website to teach people how to do what I did and to share all the great info I have learned along the way. Here are some ideas for starting a side hustle that isn't dependent on hourly wages!

The list goes on and on. I wrote a post of 40+ ways to make money on the road, but these ideas can be done from anywhere… even your own couch, which is where I work from a lot of the time these days.

Related: 25 Fulfilling Jobs That Don't Suck Your Soul Out

Is $18 Per Hour a Good Salary?

The answer to this depends upon where you live and how many monthly bills you have.

If you have a low-cost apartment or house and minimal bills or debt, $18 per hour can be a very comfortable salary.

A good salary is one that allows a person to live comfortably and without having to worry about money. It should also allow a person to save for the future, too.

Finally, a good salary should be enough to cover your basic living expenses and needs. These include housing, food, and transportation.

The final decision is up to you. Although $18 per hour sounds incredible, keep in mind the rising cost of living in our country.

If $18 isn't enough for you to live on comfortably, don't be ashamed to make a counter offer or turn the job down entirely.

This website is full of tips for making extra income online without relying on being paid an hourly wage. If you want to learn more, head to this page that's all about different ways to make money.

Carrie Wilder

Carrie has a passion for location independence and nomadic lifestyles. After traveling full-time in an RV and living the van life, she created Making Money and Traveling to help others make the switch to a remote lifestyle. Learn more about Carrie on the About page or connect on social media below.