Can You Live on $29 Dollars an Hour?

Your earnings and quality of life can be quite comfortable with an hourly wage of $29, depending on your location and lifestyle.

$29 an hour might not seem like much at first, but if you work it out over a year, it actually adds up to enough to live on.

Let me break down how to figure out your yearly income from making $29 an hour and what it means for your budget.

$29 dollars an hour is how much a year?

If you make 29 dollars an hour you’d make $60,320 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 $29/hr adds up over each period:

  • Daily: $29 x 8 hours = $232 a day
  • Weekly: $232 a day x 5 days = $1,160 a week
  • Monthly: $1160 a week x 4.33 (the average number of weeks per month) = $5,023 a month
  • Yearly: $1160 a week x 52 weeks = $60,320 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.

Using that 25% number, we can multiply our previous figures by the remaining 75% to figure out about how much take-home pay you can expect after taxes when you earn $29 an hour:

  • Daily: $232 x 75% = $174 take home
  • Weekly: $1160 x 75% = $870 take home
  • Monthly: $5023 x 75% = $3,767 take home per month
  • Yearly: $60320 x 75% = $45,240 take home per year

You can use a U.S. tax calculator to more specifically estimate how much to expect in taxes.

Note that if you’re earning $29/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 29 Dollars an Hour?

In 2023, the federal poverty level for a single person is set at $14,580, a figure much lower than the $62,320 annual income you’d get from a $29 per hour wage.

You can comfortably live on a $29 hourly rate, as it amounts to $60,320 yearly.

The average individual income in the US is about $45,760 annually, while the median income is $59,428. Both of these are still less than what you would earn at $29 an hour.

But how far does that money really stretch? Well, it depends on where you live.

If you’re living abroad in a spot like Chiang Mai. With $29 an hour, you’d be living the dream.

But if you’re living in Omaha, you might be looking at a nice home in a quiet neighborhood.

Now, flip the script to San Francisco. That $29 might mean sharing space with a bunch of folks in an average-sized apartment.

Budgeting While Making 29 Dollars An Hour

Let’s look at an example monthly budget for someone making $29 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: $3,767 

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 $29 dollars an hour have a net take-home of $7,534, which is a pretty solid amount for living well in most places!

Looking to stretch that $29 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 72 tips to save money. 

If you can only strip your budget down so far and you can’t find a job paying more than $29 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. Check out 114 side hustle ideas here!

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