Can You Live on $23 Dollars an Hour?

Depending on your location and living habits, making $23 per hour can be quite good.

Making $23 an hour may not seem huge, but when you add it up for the whole year, it’s a pretty solid salary.

I’ll show you how to work out your yearly earnings from $23 an hour and what this means for your day-to-day finances.

$23 an hour is how much a year?

23 dollars an hour is $47,840 a year if you’re working full-time, meaning 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, 52 weeks a year (including paid vacation time).

We can use some simple multiplication to calculate how $23/hr adds up over each time period:

  • Daily: $23 x 8 hours = $ 184 a day
  • Weekly: $184 a day x 5 days = $920 a week
  • Monthly: $920 a week x 4.33 (the average number of weeks per month) = $3,984 a month
  • Yearly: $920 a week x 52 weeks = $47,840 a year

These are all the gross figures, meaning they’re what you earn before taxes are taken out.

Your specific tax rates will vary depending on where you live, whether you’re filing jointly or singly, what deductions you qualify for, and so on. 25% is generally a good ballpark figure to estimate for federal and state taxes.

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Using that 25% number, we can multiply our previous figures by the remaining 75% to figure out how much take-home pay you can expect after taxes when you earn $23 an hour:

  • Daily: $184 x 75% = $138 take home
  • Weekly: $920 x 75% = $690 take home
  • Monthly: $3984 x 75% = $2988
  • Yearly: $47,840 x 75% = $35,880

You can use a U.S. tax calculator to more specifically estimate how much to expect in taxes. Note that if you’re earning $23/hr as a freelancer, you’ll pay even more, since you’re responsible for all your FICA taxes instead of having those covered by an employer.

Personally, I usually set aside more like 1/3 of my income because of this. (Learn more about self-employment taxes from the IRS here.)

Can You Live On $23 an Hour?

For 2023, the federal poverty level for a single person is set at $14,580. This is significantly lower than the $47,840 you would make annually at a rate of $23 per hour. In some places, you can live pretty well on this hourly pay.

The average yearly income for someone in the US is around $45,760, just a bit less than what you’d make with a $23 per hour job, which is about $47,840 a year.

The typical (median) income is $59,428, which is more than what you’d get at that hourly wage.

The biggest factor is simply where you live. If you’re a digital nomad living in Thailand and making $23 US, you can live in luxury in a penthouse apartment.

If you live in Tennessee, you can probably afford a mortgage on a decent house. But if you’re in a city like Chicago or Philadelphia, $23 an hour will probably get you a closet with six roommates. 

Budgeting While Making 23 Dollars An Hour

Let’s look at an example monthly budget for someone making $23 an hour.

Since housing is one of the biggest expenses, we’ll start there, using the rule of thumb that you shouldn’t spend more than 30% of your gross monthly income on housing.

We’ll also budget in 15% on savings—you can always save more than this if you’re able, but think of saving and investing as a priority, not just “whatever I have left after my spending.”

That’s money you’re paying to your future self to make your life better!

Net Monthly Income: $2,988

Depending on where you live, this kind of budget might seem extremely doable, or it might feel like there’s not much wiggle room. Affording everything and managing to save will be a lot easier if you have a dual-income household.

Two people who each work full-time and earn 23 dollars an hour have a net take-home of $5,976, which is a pretty solid amount for living well in most places!

Looking to stretch that $23 an hour wage as far as you can so you can live well and bump up your savings rate? It’s totally possible if you’re determined enough! Check out these tips to make $200 on the side, fast.

If you can only strip your budget down so far and you can’t find a job paying more than $23 an hour, consider supplementing your work with side gigs on nights or weekends. This can be as simple as doing surveys on Swagbucks while you watch TV, or walking dogs through Rover on Saturday mornings, or even starting your own business. 

TL;DR: If you just came for the short answer to 23 dollars an hour is how much a year? Answer: $47,840 before taxes.

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