$15 an Hour Is How Much a Year? (And Is It a Living Wage in 2021?)

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You may have heard about a recent proposal to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, up from $7.25/hour. And you might be wondering what that means for you. 

Specifically, $15 an hour is how much a year exactly? And can you live off of $15 an hour?

Those are great questions, especially if you’re living on a tight budget or hoping to break the paycheck to paycheck cycle

If you’re curious about what a minimum wage boost could mean, here’s a closer look at:

  • How much is 15 dollars an hour annually
  • What are some jobs that pay $15 an hour
  • How to budget on a $15 per hour annual salary

Related post: How Much Is 6 Figures and How to Earn a 6-Figure Income

15 Dollars an Hour is How Much a Year?

Figuring out how much is $15 an hour annually just means doing some simple math. 

There are 52 weeks in a year. The typical workweek is 40 hours long. You just multiply $15 x 40 hours per week x 52 weeks per year to figure out that:

Someone making $15 an hour would earn $31,200 a year. 

These figures assume that you work 2080 hours per year or 40 hours every week

But what if you take off two weeks of vacation or sick time that you’re not paid for? 

Then, a $15 an hour yearly salary works out to $30,000 even. 

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How much is $15 an hour per month?

You might be interested in how much a $15 per hour annual salary works out to monthly. 

To get that number, you’d divide $31,200 by 12 months. This would give you a monthly salary of $2,600.

How much is $15 an hour 40 hours a week?

To figure out how much an annual salary for $15 per hour works out to weekly, use this formula:

$15 an hour annual salary ($31,200) divided by 52 (number of weeks in a year)

When you do the math this way, a 15 dollar an hour salary works out to $600 a week. 

But what if you get paid biweekly? 

You’d use the same $15 an hour yearly salary but divide by 26 instead of 52. This would tell you that $15 an hour works out to $1,200 biweekly. 

How much is $15 an hour a day? 

You might be interested in how much $15 an hour is daily. 

And the answer is that a 15 dollar an hour salary works out to $120 a day. 

This assumes that you work 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. Or the typical 40-hour workweek. 

But in case you’re wondering how much $15 an hour is every day on average,  it comes out to $85 and change. 

This assumes you’re dividing $31,200 ($15 an hour annual salary) by 365 (number of days in the year).

$15 an Hour Is How Much a Year After Taxes? 

So far, the calculations I’ve shown you are based on pre-tax numbers. 

In terms of how much is 15 dollars an hour annually after taxes, it works out to $25,681 if you’re single and $27,664 if you’re married. 

This includes what you pay for federal, FICA and state taxes. It doesn’t include anything you take out of your paychecks for retirement contributions or any costs your employer deducts for things like health or dental insurance. 

So how much is $15 an hour annually daily, weekly, biweekly or monthly after taxes? 

Here’s what the numbers look like, assuming you’re single:

  • Daily: $99
  • Weekly: $493
  • Biweekly: $987
  • Monthly: $2,140

Here’s what the numbers look like, assuming you’re married:

  • Daily: $106
  • Weekly: $532
  • Biweekly: $1,064
  • Monthly: $2,305

You can see a more detailed breakdown of what $15 an hour works out to after taxes using this calculator

And remember that the tax deductions or credits you claim can affect how much take-home pay you end up with. 

Pro Tip: Consider moving to a state with no state income tax.  

Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, Wyoming, New Hampshire, and Tennessee don’t tax wages at the state level. 

Is Getting Paid $15 an Hour Good? 

Great question. Here’s some perspective. 

The federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. Someone who makes that amount working 40 hours a week earns $290. 

That comes out to $1,256 a month and some change. Or $15,080 annually. 

You already know that a 15 dollar per hour annual salary adds up to $31,200 per year

So if you’re asking, is getting paid 15 an hour good? the answer is yes, compared to someone who’s only making $7.25 an hour. 

But how does a salary for $15 an hour stack up against the national median household income? 

According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the median household income was $79,900 as of 2021. 

If you’re going by those numbers, someone making $15 an hour annually is below the median. But you’d still be well above the federal poverty guidelines

Can You Live on a $15 Per Hour Annual Salary?

I’ve read quite a few articles on the minimum wage raise proposal and one question I see a lot is this one:

Is $15 a living wage? 

In other words, can the typical person actually live on this much money? 

And this might be the biggest concern you have about how much is 15 an hour per year. 

The short answer is that yes, it’s possible to live on $15 an hour salary pay. But how easy it is to do can depend on:

  • Where you live
  • Whether you have dependents (i.e. kids or parents who depend on you for income) or pets
  • What kind of debt you have and how much
  • How good you are at living frugally

If you live in a city with a low cost of living, don’t have kids or pets, have minimal debt and split the rent with one or more roommates, then living on $15 an hour might not be a stretch.

On the other hand, if you have people who rely on you for income, have a decent amount of debt or living in a more expensive area than $15 an hour yearly salary might not go as far. 

Does that mean you can’t pursue bigger financial goals, like buying a home? 

Not at all. As an example, I bought my first home several years ago when I was only making around $40K a year. 

But if you want to get ahead and live well while making $15 an hour, you’ll have to get really good at budgeting and saving. 

$15 an hour salary budget example

Wondering what a typical $15 an hour budget looks like? 

Here’s an example of what a 15 an hour yearly salary looks like monthly, using Dave Ramsey budget percentages

  • Giving: $260 (10%)
  • Saving: $260 (10%)
  • Food: $260 to $390 (10-15%)
  • Utilities: $130 to $260 (5-10%)
  • Housing: $650 (25%)
  • Transportation: $260 (10%)
  • Health: $130 to $260 (5-10%)
  • Insurance: $260 to $650 (10-25%)
  • Recreation: $130 to $260 (5-10%)
  • Personal Spending: $130 to $260 (5-10%)
  • Misc.: $130 to $260 (5-10%)

Dave Ramsey budgeting assumes that you break your budget up into these budget categories. But you might choose another budget method instead. 

For example, you might try the 70/20/10 budget method.

With this budget system, your $15 an hour salary would look like this:

  • 70% to expenses: $1,820
  • 20% to saving (or debt repayment): $520
  • 10% to investing/giving: $260

Both budget examples can give you an idea what you can do with a $15 an hour annual salary. 

Related post: 70/20/10 Budget Method: How to Use It to Spend, Save and Invest

How to Live on $15 an Hour 

Living on $15 an hour means being intentional with what you do with your money. 

If you’re making 15 an hour (or more, or less) here are some tips for stretching every dollar and cent. 

1. Make a budget

Learning to budget is one of the best things you can do for your money. 

I like using budget planners to keep track of income and spending. But you can snag a free downloadable budget template here. 

And bookmark this post if you need a step-by-step guide to making a budget

2. Pay off debt

Getting rid of debt can give you more breathing room in your budget. And that can make living on $15 an hour easier. 

You can try the debt snowball method, which is part of Dave Ramsey’s baby steps system

And you might be able to fast track your debt payoff by refinancing student loans or consolidating credit card debt.

Ready to ditch debt for good? Try these tips for getting out of debt on a low income

3. Adopt frugal living habits

Frugal living gets a bad reputation because people often equate being frugal with being cheap. 

But I promise, it’s not the same thing. 

In fact, you can live very happily while living frugally without feeling deprived or broke. In fact, you might even feel rich making 15 an hour if you’re careful about how you spend it. 

If you’re ready to embrace a low-key lifestyle, I’ve got 160+ frugal living tips to get you started. 

4. Get creative about saving

Having a little money in savings, even if it’s $500 or $1,000, can make such a difference financially. 

When you have cash in hand, you can handle smaller emergencies without going into debt. 

Now, how do you save money when you make $15 an hour? 

Some of the simplest ways to save money include:

As you get into the savings habit, be choosy about where you keep your savings.

An online high-yield savings account can offer the best combination of higher interest rates and lower fees compared to regular banks. 

5. Increase your income

You know how much is 15 dollars an hour annually and you should have an idea of what it will get you.

But what if making $15 an hour just isn’t cutting it because you live in a more expensive area or you’ve got a boatload of debt? 

You could move or declare bankruptcy. But those are pretty extreme choices. 

Finding ways to make more money could be a more realistic option. For example, some of the best ways to make extra money include: 

Related post: 30+ Legit Ways to Make an Extra $1000 a Month Online (or Off)

Jobs That Pay 15 an Hour

If you’re interested in finding $15 an hour jobs, there are plenty of options. 

And many jobs that pay $15 an hour don’t require previous experience or a college degree. For example, you might be able to land some 15 dollars an hour jobs with just a high school diploma or GED. 

If you’re curious what some $15 an hour jobs are, here’s a quick look at some jobs that pay 15 an hour according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics

  • Slaughterers and meat packers – $15.00/hr
  • Janitors and cleaners – $15.10/hr
  • Shoe and leather workers – $15.12/hr
  • Orderlies – $15.28/hr
  • Nursing assistants – $15.41/hr
  • Tour and travel guides – $15.48/hr
  • Pharmacy aides – $15.50/hr
  • Cooks – $15.55/hr
  • Receptionists – $15.58/hr
  • Hairdressers, hairstylists and cosmetologists – $15.74/hr
  • Building and grounds maintenance workers – $15.75/hr
  • Bank tellers – $15.85/hr
  • Couriers and messengers – $15.87/hr

More retailers and restaurants are bumping up minimum wages to $15 an hour as well. Target, for example, permanently raised its minimum wage for team members to 15 dollars an hour in 2020.

As you can see, there’s lots of variety for jobs that pay $15 an hour. So if you’re looking for a new career path, you might consider one of these options. 

15 an hour is how much a year

Final thoughts on 15 per hour annual salary

Making $15 an hour can put you above the poverty limits but it can also test your budgeting and money-saving skills. 

Getting in the habit of budget, saving even small amounts and chipping away at your debt can make a 15 an hour salary go farther. At the same time, you can work on finding ways to make more money as well. 

Do you successfully live on $15 an hour? If so, head to the comments and share your best tips for making every penny count. 

And don’t leave without your free budget template!

15 Dollars an Hour Is How Much a Year?

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