$15 An Hour Is How Much A Year? Stretching Your Pay!

Sometimes, making a certain amount of money per hour can be deceiving. After all, taxes and expenses can eat into your income before you even have a chance to make a budget! So if you’ve wondered, “$15 an hour is how much a year?”, we’ve got the answer. Plus, find out how to make the most of your income!

$15 an hour is how much a year

In recent years, there’s been a lot of talk about making $15 the federal minimum hourly wage.

However, some proponents of the elevated minimum wage say it still wouldn’t be enough to give Americans a sufficient living wage.

Many people today already live on this kind of pay. But what is it like to live on this type of income?

Here’s a look at how much $15 an hour will give you and how to stretch those dollars.

$15 an hour is how much a year?

When you hear or read about an hourly wage, it can sometimes be difficult to imagine what that pay would look like as a yearly salary. So let’s calculate how much you would earn per year if you make $15 an hour.

First, let’s assume you work full-time, which is 40 hours per week. That translates to about 2,080 working hours per year. To calculate your yearly salary, then, we can use this equation:

15 (dollars) X 2,080 (working hours) = $31,200

So, if you work full-time for $15 an hour, then your yearly salary would be $31,200.

Bear in mind that this assumes you work a full 40 hours 52 weeks of the year. If you take any holiday or sick time and are not paid for those days, then your actual yearly salary would be slightly less than $31,200.

What does a $15 an hour paycheck look like?

Still, even after calculating the yearly salary of $15 an hour, it can be hard to understand what $31,200 means for your day-to-day life. After all, you’re likely not getting paid $31,200 in one lump sum!

Instead, most people get a paycheck every week or every two weeks. From there, it can be helpful to organize your income with a monthly budget, or you can budget by paycheck.

Here’s what you can expect from your monthly, biweekly, weekly, or daily paycheck:

Monthly15 (dollars) X 160 (working hours) =$2,400
Biweekly15 (dollars) X 80 (working hours) =$1,200
Weekly15 (dollars) X 40 (working hours) = $600
Daily15 (dollars) X 8 (working hours) =$120

Calculating $15 an hour per year after tax

Of course, when you work for $15 an hour and make a $31,200 salary, you (unfortunately) don’t necessarily get to keep all that money.

It’s important to remember that there is a difference between pre-tax income and after-tax income. This is a crucial component in answering the question: $15 an hour is how much a year?

Federal income tax

In 2024, if you make $31,200 per year, you fall into the second-lowest income tax bracket, as explained by Bankrate. This means you are responsible for paying:

  • $10% of your taxable income from $0 to $11,600
  • 12% of your taxable income from $11,601 to $47,150

In other words, if you make $31,200 per year, then you will have to pay:

  • $1,160 (which is 10% of $11,600)
  • PLUS $2,351 (which is 12% of $19,599 (Remember: $31,200 — $11,601 = $19,599))

Added up, this means you are responsible for paying $3,511 in federal income tax. (This is based on a single-filer tax bracket.)

After accounting for federal income tax, your $15 an hour income comes down to approximately:

  • Yearly: $27,677
  • Monthly: $2,306
  • Biweekly: $1,153
  • Weekly: $532
  • Daily: $106

State income tax

But that’s just federal income tax. Don’t forget about state income tax!

Depending on where you live, though, you may not have to pay state income tax. CNBC lists the nine states without income tax:

  • Alaska
  • Florida
  • New Hampshire
  • Nevada
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Washington
  • Wyoming

If you live anywhere else in the country, however, you’ll be on the hook for paying state income taxes. You can get help figuring out the income tax rate in your state at TaxFoundation.org.

Use a calculator to figure out your income at $15 an hour

Understandably, it can get pretty confusing trying to figure out how much this income is per year, monthly, and weekly. Plus, when you factor in determining federal and state income tax rates … It becomes a lot of math!

If you’d rather not do all the calculations by hand, you can use an income calculator to help you crunch the numbers:

Expert tip: You can stretch your income by investing!

Unfortunately, many people falsely believe that they already need to be rich to start investing. But in reality, you can invest smart with as little as $10 a month, and then work your way up from there.

To get started, it’s best to keep things simple. For example, for an uncomplicated way to begin investing, consider the 3 fund portfolio. See more tips on how to invest with little money.

6 Tips to stretch your income

Realistically, no matter how you look at it, earning this income alone is not going to make you rich. That said, you can still work with what you have to stretch your $15 an hour income and get the most out of every penny.

Here are a few tips to stretch your income:

1. Create a budget

First, you can optimize your $31,200 yearly salary by breaking it down month by month. Creating a budget for the month will allow you to allocate your income to separate spending categories. This way, you can make sure you don’t overspend on frivolities and really maximize every dollar.

You can try creating a budget calendar or making a budget by paycheck to get started.

2. Move somewhere with lower rent

Of course, this is quite a drastic option. But depending on your family situation and whether or not you have a remote job, moving to a state with no income tax can definitely help you keep more money in your pocket.

Alternatively, you can stay in the same state where you’re currently living but move to a home with lower rent. Finally, you can also move in with a roommate to cut down on your share of the monthly rent by doing a rent split.

3. Cut unnecessary expenses

It’s not always fun, but cutting out those nice-to-haves from your life (at least most of them) is sometimes necessary when you’re trying to stretch a dollar. Start by checking your monthly expenses list to see if you can cut back on anything.

But it doesn’t have to be as painful as you think! For example, here are some easy ways to reduce unnecessary expenses:

  • Unsubscribe from subscriptions you don’t use
  • Limit yourself to eating out once a week at the most
  • Paint your nails at home instead of going to a salon
  • Go to the library to rent books or e-books instead of buying them new
  • Use public transportation or a bicycle instead of calling ride-share services

4. Live below your means

No matter how much money you make, it’s always a good financial practice to live below your means. But what does that mean, exactly?

Living below your means is about spending less money than you bring in. Then, you can put aside that extra money in a high-yield savings account or investments.

Above all, it means you do not go into debt to buy things you can’t afford. You might try living a more minimalist lifestyle for the time being.

5. Spend wisely at the grocery store

To stretch your income, it’s a good idea to eat at home as much as possible. Beyond simply avoiding take-out and restaurants, you can further learn how to reduce your food spending by being thrifty at the grocery store, like buying in bulk or meal-prepping.

Grocery shopping on a budget can save you tons of money each month, it just takes some planning and time.

6. Avoid impulse purchases

Unfortunately, even when you create a monthly budget, it isn’t always easy to stick to it. One of the hardest financial bad habits to overcome is giving in to impulse spending.

You can get help avoiding impulse purchases by getting an accountability partner to help keep you in check when you’re about to hit ADD TO CART.

Additionally, you can start money journaling, where you write down every single thing you spend. This can help you hold yourself accountable so you don’t conveniently “forget” about those impulse purchases you made last week.

A monthly budget for a $15 an hour income

Again, creating a monthly budget is an important practice for everyone—no matter what your income is. But if you’ve answered the question of $15 an hour is how much a year and you’re trying to stretch your income, then designing a monthly budget can really help you stay organized and financially responsible throughout the month.

Here’s an example of a monthly budget for a $15 an hour income:

Monthly after-tax income: about $2,300

  • Savings: $350
  • Rent: $800
  • Utilities: $100
  • Transportation: $300
  • Groceries: $300
  • Fun: $150
  • Other Expenses: $300 (This could be debt payments, savings for a specific goal, medical bills, insurance, etc.)

Note that we put savings right at the top! Even if you only save 10% of your income per month, paying yourself first is a great financial habit to pick up.

Also, remember that everyone’s budget will look a little different. You may even decide that a biweekly budget makes more sense for you.

Take a look at the best budget templates and tools to learn how to create the right monthly budget for you.

Ways to make more money to supplement earning $15 an hour

In addition to discovering ways to reduce your spending, you can also stretch your money by looking at how to increase your income.

And you don’t necessarily have to take on another high-commitment job! Here are a few ways to increase your income:

1. Sell unneeded items online

You can make a surprising amount of money by just cleaning out your house! Take a look around and consider what you no longer use.

For example, this could be old electronics, clothes, books, etc. After you find the best items to resell, sell them online via eBay, Poshmark, or other online resellers. You can also host a yard sale if you’d prefer to sell in person.

Above all, be careful that you do not start buying items you don’t need hoping you will sell them later.

2. Ask for a raise

Sometimes, it really can be that simple. While it can definitely feel daunting to ask your boss for a raise, the worst they can really do is say no.

To increase your chances of a positive response, it pays to be prepared. (No pun intended.) Find more tips on how to ask for a raise.

3. Consider a side hustle

The best thing about starting a side hustle is it gives you a way to increase your income without having to commit to another job.

Instead, a side hustle is a way for you to pick up extra work when you decide, so you can put more money in your pocket.

For example, some popular side hustles include:

  • Babysitting
  • Dog walking and/or pet-sitting
  • Driving for Uber or other ride-share or delivery companies
  • Starting a blog
  • Tutoring
  • Teaching English online

If none of these seem like a fit for you, don’t worry. There are a lot of other side hustle ideas you can start in your free time.

How much is $15 an hour for 40 hours?

$15 an hour for 40 hours is $600 before tax.

Most full-time jobs require you to work 40 hours a week, excluding any needed overtime. But if your weekly paycheck is deposited automatically into your account and you’re not regularly checking your bank statements (Psst—start now!), then you may not know the exact number you’re bringing in every week.

Here’s a quick calculation to determine how much you’ll make if you work 40 hours for $15 an hour: 15 (dollars) X 40 (working hours) = 600.

Is $15 an hour good pay?

Determining whether $15 an hour is good pay depends a lot on your living situation. If you’re single, you don’t have any debt, and you live in an affordable town, then it is not bad pay.

If, however, you live in a city with a high cost of living, you are responsible for dependents, and/or you have debt stress, then $15 an hour will put you on a very tight budget.

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

$15 an hour for 40 hours a week annually will earn you $31,200 before tax.

Maybe you know the exact amount of your weekly paycheck by heart—after all, it feels good to cash that baby after a long week of work! But it’s also important to keep an eye on the big picture:

How much do all those weekly paychecks add up to after a year?

Here’s a quick calculation to determine your annual income if you work 40 hours a week at $15 an hour: 15 (dollars) X 40 (working hours) X 52 (weeks) = 31,200.

$15 an hour is how much per week?

Here’s a quick calculation to determine your weekly paycheck if you make $15 an hour: 15 (dollars) X 40 (working hours) = $600.

As you organize your monthly budget, it’s important to break up that monthly income into smaller installments: biweekly, weekly, and daily. Particularly, knowing how much you earn each week can help you best allocate weekly money for groceries, at home date night ideas, etc.

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

If you work 40 hours a week for $15 an hour, you will make $1,200 biweekly, before tax.

This is accurate because if you work 40 hours a week and earn $15 an hour, you will make $600 per week before tax.

Many employers will issue paychecks biweekly (i.e., once every other week) instead of weekly. Sometimes, this makes calculating your regular income a little more complicated.

Here’s a quick calculation to determine your biweekly pay: 15 (dollars) X 40 (working hours) X 2 (number of weeks) = $1,200.

If you liked learning more about how much your income is worth per year, read these articles next!

Make your $15 an hour paycheck work for your lifestyle!

Now that you know the answer to $15 an hour is how much a year, if you’re feeling stuck living with this salary, then know that there are a lot of ways you can stretch your income.

First, if you set and stick to a budget, then it will be easier to manage your expenses throughout the month. Then, you can find ways how to increase your income, such as starting a side hustle.

Learn how to create a successful side hustle so you can make more money in The Side Hustle Guide by Clever Girl Finance Founder Bola Sokunbi. And remember, being wise with your money and investing can set you up for a great future!

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