15 Dollars an Hour Is How Much a Year – Can You Live on It?

It's not easy to live on $15 an hour. In the United States, the minimum wage for workers who work 40 hours a week is $7.25 per hour. But what if you only have one job? $15 an hour is how much a year? Can you really live on $15 an hour? What if your job is part-time? 

Here we'll explore these questions and provide some insight into how it's possible to make ends meet with so little money coming in each month.

We're going to detail what $15 an hour is, how much that will add up over a year, and whether or not it's enough for you to live on.

15 Dollars an Hour Is How Much a Year?

If you earn $15 an hour, you need to know what annual income that gives you. To calculate how much someone makes in a year, you must first determine the hourly rate of their salary. We will use $15/hour as an average wage for retail workers and managers. Take 40 hours times 52 weeks. This equals 2,080 working hours per year. Multiply that by your hourly pay ($15) to get $31,200 annually (or around 30K).

Here Is a Breakdown of 15 Dollars an Hour:

  • $15 x 8-hour workday: $120 per day
  • $15 x 40-hour week: $600 per week
  • Weekly x 2: $1,200 biweekly
  • Annual ÷ 12 months: $2,600 per month
  • $15 x 2,080 hours: $31,200 per year

How Much Is $15 an Hour After Taxes?

Taxes can take up a big part of your earnings. So always ensure you include taxes in all your calculation.

Let's assume a gross annual salary of $31,200. In this case, 18.4% of your salary is taxed (federal, state, social security, and medicare).

This means that the total yearly income will be: $25,450 (about $2,120 per month).

How Much Is 15 Dollars an Hour per Month?

On average, the monthly amount would be $2,400. However, some months have more days and fewer days (like February), so you can expect months with more days to have a bigger paycheck.

This is heavily influenced by how often you are paid and what day of the week your payday falls on.

$15 An Hour

How Much Is $15 an Hour Biweekly?

This results in a total biweekly income of 1,200 bucks! The other way of looking at it is 40 hours per week x 2 weeks = 80 hours at $15/hour, which equals $1,200 in earnings.

How Much Is 15 Dollars an Hour for 40 Hours a Week?

Do the math, and it's easy to figure out how much money you make each week. $15 x 40 hours = $600!

How Much Is 15 Dollars an Hour per Day?

How much you make per day depends on how many hours you work. For example, let's say that you are working an eight-hour workday. In one day alone, the total would be $120 (8 x 15).

Can You Live Off of 15 Dollars an Hour?

Now that you know what your annual income is at $15 an hour and what your take-home pay will be, the next step is determining if this wage can sustain you. You'll also need to consider if you can support one dependent (or more).

The more dependents you have, the greater portion of your budget will go to supporting them. Your chosen lifestyle and the degree to which you spend your earnings is obviously also a major factor.


Those who have no dependents and live a modest lifestyle might still have some excess income at the end of each month, while those who spend more may find themselves barely scraping by after taxes.

Is It Possible To Buy a House Making $15 an Hour?

It's not easy to buy a house when you earn $15 an hour. This is because most lenders prefer your debt-to-income ratio (monthly debt payments divided by gross monthly income) to be less than 43%.

With no debts, you'd probably struggle to afford the mortgage payment and upkeep of a home at that rate of pay.

Furthermore, you may be able to afford a mobile or tiny home, or even a duplex condo townhouse, as long as you are debt-free and have good credit and savings.

However, your down payment may be large enough for a decent place if money comes in via settlement or inheritance.

Tips To Living Comfortably on $15 an Hour

Follow these tips if you make $15 an hour wage and want your income (and lifestyle) to last.

If paying off debt is not feasible at the moment, start small by putting aside a little bit of money every week until you're ready for one big payment.

Live below your means. Avoiding unnecessary expenses (dining out constantly, or buying the latest trendy new clothes) minimizes the risk of debt accumulation.

Furthermore, save any unexpected windfalls as soon as possible. Set some aside with each paycheck for an emergency.

To be financially secure, follow these four steps: 

  1. Create a simple budget.
  2. Prioritize saving over spending.
  3. Lower your expenses by following these 55 frugal living tips

Find more tips in my guide: How To Live On A Budget.

How To Increase Your Income if $15 an Hour Is Not Enough

Making money is not always easy, but you can increase your income without a job. Here are some tips if you find that $15 an hour isn't enough for you.

  1. Ask for a raise – the worse they can say is no! Try and negotiate it up by showing your value or bringing attention to something important in their company (e.g., business trip expenses)
  2. Sell crafts – if you have any hobbies, especially those related to sewing skills, ask around friends & family first.
  3. Start a blog – I started my own blogging part-time last year! There are many platforms online where anyone can start one, including WordPress, Tumblr, Blogger, etc.

Click Here to Start a Blog

Jobs That Earn $15 an Hour

Out of all the jobs available, these are some that you can start at $15 per hour. Some examples include a cashier or waiter job in restaurants, where the minimum wage is typically between $7 and $9 an hour, depending on location. There may be other opportunities, so it benefits to check around with local businesses about possible entry-level positions within their organizations to see what they offer.

If there aren't many employers offering starting wages above $15 for low-skilled work in your geographic area, consider looking into further education like trade schools, vocational programs, or community college courses to increase your earning potential over time. Even if initially offered less than more experienced workers would make it later down the road without such training.

You should be paid at least $15 per hour for these 12 jobs

The highest salaries from Indeed Salaries will provide you with the most up-to-date salary information.

Below are twelve of those job titles and their respective average annual wages:

Job Average pay (per hour) What They Do
Mail Handler $15.30 Postal Service Clerk
Medical Transcriber $15.54 Take dictation from Doctors
Medical Assistant $15.59 Works in Health Care
Administrative Assistant $15.69 Handle admin tasks
Laboratory Assistant $15.72 Work with Scientists
Veterinary Technician $16.09 Work in Animal Clinics
Construction Worker $16.19 Manual Labor, Remodelling, Building
Delivery Driver $16.27 Transportation
Bus Driver $16.46 Transportation
Medical Billing $16.50 Work in medical practices
Painter $16.99 Painting various surfaces in buildings
Nanny $17.86 Child care professional

$15 an Hour Budget Example

Let's take a look at someone's budget if they make $2,120 a month.

Using the 70/20/10 (necessities, savings, debt repayment) budget allocation method, this is an example of their monthly expenses.

Expenses Amount
Rent/Mortgage $800
Utilities $100
Transportation $200
Groceries $200
Charitable Contributions $85
Entertainment $100
Long/Short-Term Savings $424
Debt Repayment $212

Conclusion – $15 an Hour Is How Much a Year

Researchers at MIT analyzed data to calculate the cost of living and found that a family of four could not afford necessities in any U.S. state without spending more than $15 an hour on average — over twice what most workers earn nationally today.

$15 an hour definitely won't make you rich, but it'll at least get your foot in the door. Now that you know $15 an hour is how much a year, you need to learn to budget.

With housing prices soaring and long-term financial security challenging to achieve with such a low wage, these are just some obstacles that could prevent people from reaching their full potential as workers.

Although $15 an hour is not quite down at poverty-level earnings, it might still be challenging to make ends meet. You'd likely struggle with finding affordable (safe) housing, and your income won't support retirement and vacations in the long term.

Related Posts


Michael launched Wealth of Geeks to make personal finance fun. He has worked in personal finance for over 20 years, helping families reduce taxes, increase their income, and save for retirement. Michael is passionate about personal finance, side hustles, and all things geeky.