$18 An Hour How Much A Year is It and Can You Live on It?

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Find out the truth about how much $18 an hour is. Sounds like a lot–but it is? 

You finally got that job offer. Congratulations! You’ve waited months for an 18-an-hour salary and now a blessing has shone upon you! You’re skipping through the streets with a smile wider than your head and calling every friend and family member to tell them the good news! But, how much is 18 dollars an hour annually

You should feel that way. You’re one of the lucky ones. We want you to be successful, so we’ve devised a guide based on an average hourly income of 18 dollars an hour. 

Let’s dig into the truth!

The Real Deal. How Much is 18 an Hour After Taxes?

The figure for 18 dollars an hour 40 hours a week is $2,880 a month before taxes. How much is 18 dollars an hour annually based on this calculation? It’s $34,560 a year.

Taxes are the bain of everyone’s life regardless of where we all live. But, they’re a factor that can’t be ignored. Since everyone has a different tax rate worldwide, we linked a website that you can use to find out what’s 18 an hour after taxes.

You may use the Worldwide Tax Summaries Online website to access corporate and individual taxes in over 150 territories worldwide, including income tax rates, tax deductions, and tax credits.

That was very simple and to the point regarding the figures. Well, we have news for you. That’s the easy part. Now, you’ve got to learn how to navigate living on an 18-dollar-an-hour salary. 

Did you know that there are proven ways to live and thrive on an 18/hr salary? With the tips we have next, you have the best chance if you follow closely. 

Determine the Industry Standards for a Salary of 18 Dollars an Hour

The first thing you need to do is determine if your pay matches your industry standard. Doing this gives you power in negotiations and growth opportunities. It’s a challenge to figure this out but below we’ve included the steps you can take to do it.

Conduct Research: 

Does the research use websites like salary.com, Payscale, and Glassdoor to take the temperature of what’s going on in the industry? Some of these websites can give you a look into the company culture and real employees give reviews. 

Talk to people in your town. We don’t suggest you ask strangers how much money they make while you’re getting your morning coffee. We do, however, want you to ask acquaintances what they think your profession should yield. You never know who they may know that can give you inside information.

Publications for your industry will have answers too. We would join a few and keep track of how the pay rates are fluctuating with the economy. Today, everything is in flux, and no one has a great amount of security. You must be proactive in order to get what you deserve. No employer is likely to hand it to you.

How Your Education and Experience Affects your Pay Rate

You may want to hire a professional to assess your portfolio of experience and education. Find out the education and experience of people who are paid your rate and compare it to those paid higher. Then, find out how you can meet up to their status. 

Sometimes the difference between an 18 dollars an hour salary and something higher is as simple as a certification. You can find that online on Skillshare, Udemhy, Thinkific, Khan Academy, or Google Certificates or something similar for little to no money. 

One trick you can do to see if your existing skills are up to par is signing up with an employment agency. It’s a free, no-risk way of finding out what you need to do. Simply let them know what your industry is and pretend you’re looking for a job. 

They’ll skill-test you. The results will tell you immediately if your skills are outdated. Maybe you’ve worked in an industry for so long that your skills are old. Employers want those who have kept up with the industry’s educational standards. 

Here’s the good news. Most employment agencies will train you for free! Because you may someday make money for them. You don’t have to work for them. That’s our little secret. 

Now, for your experience. If you’ve only had one position in your industry and you’re simply changing locations and not the position, that affects the pay rate in some instances. How long you’ve been in the industry will also have an effect. Was the last pay rate you made 18 dollars an hour? This may explain why you’re still being offered the same amount.

This can hurt you in two situations. 

One, you’ve always made the same money and your new employer sees you haven’t been promoted or raised much, if at all. So, they use this to keep you where you are. Good for them and not so good for you. 

For the second scenario, you’re breaking into a new industry. You simply have no experience so they’re going to keep you at just above the minimum wage which 18 dollars an hour is in the US.

Consider How Your Location in Your Calculations

The cost of living in your region may be a factor in the present and future of your pay rate. Some areas may never see a pay hike in your industry. Just make sure you aren’t being paid less than the average.

For example. The person in your industry in New York City is probably going to be paid higher than those in Iowa. One is a city where the cost of living is astronomical. Rent can be 80% or more of a person making an 18/hr yearly salary. 

In Iowa, you may live like a king on half your annual salary. If you’re relocating to a new industry or staying in your current one, you need to know if your wage is liveable wherever you settle down— before you move. 

In fact, all of this research must be done for your new area. If you’re staying in your hometown, research the current economical climate. Maybe you can bring the facts to your present boss, and ask for a raise if an 18-an-hour salary doesn’t work anymore. 

Speaking with Your Manager Can Help Give You Answers

 Be proactive. Now, we wouldn’t suggest you ask for a pay raise in your second week on the job. Once you’re in, it’s harder to change your pay rate. Do the research prior to the job offer. If you’re being offered less than the mean average for your industry, ask why in a polite manner. Make sure you have the facts with you to show. 

Find out from a website like Glassdoor if employees have gotten regular raises. If you are staying at your old job but want to know if anyone else is getting more than you for the same position, then this is a great website to use. 

People are scared to speak with management about fair pay. But today is a bit different. Generation X and Boomers were like this because they didn’t have the choices we do today. You have the ability to open a business, work from home, and have a plethora of other opportunities. 

Companies know this and if approached with confidence and a positive attitude, you should do alright. Even if you don’t get a raise you’ll know where you stand and can make educated choices on how to get more than an 18/hr yearly salary somewhere else. 

The power is in the knowing.

Here’s another trick you can use. Don’t just come out and say you want more money. Don’t even call a formal meeting with the manager. Catch them while they’re at the water cooler or in the elevator out of earshot of nosey coworkers. 

This is a little-known psychological trick that works in situations with people that have power over us. 

Casually, ask how you should upgrade your skills in order to get that pay grade you’d like. Smile and say nothing more. Look them dead in the eye and let them respond. Thank them for their advice. If they tell you that there is a ceiling on your position and no upward mobility,  then you know right there and then you need to look elsewhere. Don’t tell them that though. 

So, is 18 dollars an hour good? By now you should understand that good or bad depends on all the factors we covered so far. Regardless of whether it’s good or bad for you doesn’t really matter. If you’re reading this you’re either making this amount now or looking to make more, right? 

Then the next topic of discussion is how to live on an 18 dollars an hour salary. We would love to tell you that you could live well on any salary with some perseverance and discipline. But, we can’t. Those days, at least for now are gone. We have inflation and competition that is more fierce than most can keep up with. 

What we can do, is guide you on how to live on this exact salary for the average working person. If you have a family, you need to make much more in the West and especially in the United States. An 18 dollars an hour salary there won’t get you far. In other countries, that dollar amount in a currency that is not the Euro works better. 

Can you Make a Budget and Stick to It at 18 Dollars an Hour?

Making a budget for 18 dollars an hour must be done with a two-person income in mind or a roommate situation of some kind if you are an adult living on your own. This is due to the rate of pay being way below what’s needed in today’s housing market. Especially in the West. Insurance and transportation needs must also be met. Groceries are at an all-time high. Every facet of life is affected. 

Budgeting is a foreign concept for many. Some just can’t stick to one and others don’t know how to budget and have something left over.

There’s a trick you can do today that will help you to budget and stick to it. That’s the problem for most people and here’s why. It’s not that the person can’t control spending. On a low wage, it’s the fact that you’ve gone so long without necessities that you have to splurge when you get the money. 

Here’s an example. Finally, after months or years of not being able to buy clothes, shoes, or items for your house–including home maintenance–when you get the money it’s gone. Then you’re back to square one and repeating the same cycle all over again. People just assume you don’t know how to manage money. 

This means you don’t have anything left after rent or mortgage and basic bills like power, water, etc…So, is 18 dollars an hour good? In this case–no. Not unless there’s a second income by way of another person or a side gig. The only advice for you as a one-income household is to get an alternate income fast. Refer to the supplementing your income topic at the end of this article. 

For those whose income is not the only one supporting the house, here’s the advice you can follow to budget yourself better. 

How to Make 18-an-Hour Stretch by Cutting Expenses

Take a look at what you spend first then cut the non-essentials. That means pay for what you need to survive first. Everything else is a luxury. It may seem harsh or impossible, but if you’re making 18 dollars an hour 40 hours a week then this is how it has to be. 

Find out how much is 18 dollars an hour monthly. Take that figure and then figure 18 an hour after taxes. You must also know 18 an hour is how much bi-weekly. 

If you have another person with you sharing the load you still need to figure out what your pay is responsible for. It’s best to look at it like a roommate situation even when you’re married. You may want one person to pay the rent, but unless they make considerably more than you, splitting it is the only way. 

What can you specifically afford to pay for? Write each item that will come out of your paycheck down as a figure. Estimate it and round it up to the next dollar. Better to over-estimate than not. Do you have anything left over at the end? Are you able to save anything or do you also split entertainment? 

Once you’ve come to a solid number for everything–then see what you have left. If you have enough to put something away without ever having to touch it–then 18 an hour salary is good for you.

An emergency fund must be saved. At least $1000.00. Take half of what is left over each pay period and start building that. Once it’s saved, you can spend the rest any way you want. 

If there are monthly expenses that are non-essential like cable TV or subscriptions then either negotiate a cheaper plan or get rid of it and use Wifi on an app TV like Roku. It’s worth the savings. Stop all subscriptions. 

Five Ways to Supplement Your 18-Dollar-an-Hour Income

Now that you know how to cut expenses there are five ways to supplement your 18 dollars an hour income. You may or may not be able to do them all. It depends solely on your personal circumstance. Use the suggestions as a springboard for other creative ways to supplement your income. 

1. Take up a side job or part-time work

The gig economy is a blessing for millions of people worldwide. Today, we have more choices and can create our own schedules doing it. We weren’t always able to have second jobs and gigs weren’t a thing. If you have an 18 dollars an hour 40 hours a week job, and quitting time is at 5, and a night job starts at 2 or 3 pm, you’re out of luck! 

Today, you can do gigs on the weekends, with no boss changing the schedule or calling you in and making you work overtime. That money disappears in your taxes. 

2. Consider starting a small business or freelance work

Starting a business can be a scary undertaking, but you can do that while you’re enduring your 18 dollars an hour salary. Take a course on how to do that in your spare time for little or no money online. Budget at a low startup cost or look for loans if you have good credit. If you don’t, you need to repair that first. 

Freelance work is pretty low-risk. It’s a great way to supplement your income. You can take a skill like writing or graphic design, even data entry, and virtual assistance to name a few, and start work on one of the many freelance job boards out there. 

3. Rent out a spare room on Airbnb or a similar platform

If you’re fortunate enough to have a property you own or rent and have a spare room, renting it out can be a substantial supplement. There are many platforms you can do this on apart from Airbnb. Do a Google search for rooms for rent and you’ll find tons of websites. 

You’ll have to be the type of person that’s okay with a stranger living in your home with you. If you want to rent out the whole house, that’s even better because you can charge the market rate. In the US as of 2023 that can reach $2500 or more per month. You could live with family for a bit and collect some great income.

4. Earn money by selling items you no longer need or want

There’s always stuff in the house that you’re not using unless you’re a minimalist. Most people aren’t. If you have a storage unit, go through it and put unwanted items online and have a garage sale. 

5. Participate in paid focus groups or online survey

Online surveys are a popular way that people to make monthly cash. Do a Google search for reviews on each survey company and try it out! 

FAQ  $18 An Hour How Much A Year is It and Can You Live on It?

Can you live on an 18-an-hour salary?

That depends solely on your circumstances. If you share the expenses with another person, you budget well and find ways to supplement your income with a side job or gigs you can do it. If you’re alone, not so much.

Is 18 hours salary good to start at?

It’s considered good for a new hire as long as it matches the industry standard. You can find out what yours is on websites like Glass Door. 

Does where you live affect your pay rate?

Yes. For example, a person living in New York would be paid more than those in the rural areas of the state of Iowa. The research on the area and the regional pay standard should be done prior to moving and accepting a pay rate. 

What are the main things that affect pay rates?

Your location, education, and experience are the main things affecting pay rates.


We answered $18 an hour is how much a year and came to the conclusion that it’s pretty basic. But there’s action you can take that makes things easier. A brighter future can be carved out while you make this money that’s better than the 18 an hour full-time salary. 

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