This post may contain affiliate links, which helps us to continue providing relevant content and we receive a small commission at no cost to you. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Please read the full disclosure here.
38k salary is a solid hourly wage; above most minimum hourly wage jobs.
For most people, an entry-level job would be paying just over $38,000 a year. The question that remains is can you make a living off $38k a year.
The median household income is $67,521 in 2020 which decreased by 2.9% from the previous year (source). Think of it as a bell curve with $68K at the top; the median means half of the population makes less than that and half makes more money.
The average income in the U.S. is $48,672 for a 40-hour workweek; that is an increase of 4% from the previous year (source). That means if you take everyone’s income and divided the money out evenly between all of the people.
But, the question remains can you truly live off 38,000 per year in today’s society since it is well below both the average and median household incomes. The question you want to ask all of your friends is $38000 per year a good salary.
In this post, we are going to dive into everything that you need to know about a $38000 salary including hourly pay and a sample budget on how to spend and save your money.
These key facts will help you with money management and learn how much per hour $38k is as well as what you make per month, weekly, and biweekly.
Just like with any paycheck, it seems like money quickly goes out of your account to cover all of your bills and expenses, and you are left with a very small amount remaining. You may be disappointed that you were not able to reach your financial goals and you are left wondering…
Can I make a living on this salary?
$38000 a year is How Much an Hour?
When jumping from an hourly job to a salary for the first time, it is helpful to know how much is 38k a year hourly. That way you can decide whether or not the job is worthwhile for you.
38000 salary / 2080 hours = $18.27 per hour
$38000 a year is $18.27 per hour
Let’s breakdown how that 38000 salary to hourly number is calculated
For our calculations to figure out how much is 38K salary hourly, we used the average five working days of 40 hours a week.
Typically, the average workweek is 40 hours and you can work 52 weeks a year. Take 40 hours times 52 weeks and that equals 2,080 working hours. Then, divide the yearly salary of $38000 by 2,080 working hours and the result is $18.27 per hour.
Just above $18 an hour.
That number is the gross hourly income before taxes, insurance, 401K, or anything else is taken out. Net income is how much you deposit into your bank account.
You must check with your employer on how they plan to pay you. For those on salary, typically companies pay on a monthly, semi-monthly, biweekly, or weekly basis.
What If I Increased My Salary?
Just an interesting note… if you were to increase your annual salary by $5K to $43K per year, it would increase your hourly wage to over $20 an hour – a difference of $2.40 per hour.
To break it down – 43k a year is how much an hour = $20.67
That difference will help you fund your savings account; just remember every dollar adds up.
How Much is $38K salary Per Month?
On average, the monthly amount would be $3,167.
Annual Salary of $38000 ÷ 12 months = $3167 per month
This is how much you make a month if you get paid 38000 a year.
$38k a year is how much a week?
This is a great number to know! How much do I make each week? When I roll out of bed and do my job of $38k salary a year, how much can I expect to make at the end of the week for my effort?
Once again, the assumption is 40 hours worked.
Annual Salary of $38000/52 weeks = $730 per week.
$38000 a year is how much biweekly?
For this calculation, take the average weekly pay of $730 and double it.
$730 per week x 2 = $1,461
Also, the other way to calculate this is:
Annual Salary of $38000 / 26 weeks = $1,461 biweekly.
How Much Is $38K Salary Per Day
This depends on how many hours you work in a day. For this example, we are going to use an eight-hour workday.
8 hours x 52 weeks = 260 working days
Annual Salary of $38000 / 260 working days = $146 per day
If you work a 10 hour day on 208 days throughout the year, you make $182 per day.
$38000 Salary is…
|$38000 – Full Time||Total Income|
|Yearly Salary (52 weeks)||$38,000|
|Weekly Wage (40 Hours)||$730|
|Bi-Weekly Wage (80 Hours)||$1,461|
|Daily Wage (8 Hours)||$146|
|Daily Wage (10 Hours)||$168|
|Net Estimated Monthly Income||$2,418|
|Net Estimated Hourly Income||$13.95|
38k a year is how much an hour after taxes
Income taxes is one of the biggest culprits of reducing your take-home pay as well as FICA and Social Security. This is a true fact across the board with an all salary range up to $142,800.
When you make below the average household income, the amount of taxes taken out hurts your hourly wage.
Every single tax situation is different.
On the basic level, let’s assume a 12% federal tax rate and a 4% state rate. Plus a percentage is taken out for Social Security and Medicare (FICA) of 7.65%.
So, how much an hour is 38000 a year after taxes?
Gross Annual Salary: $38,000
- Federal Taxes of 12%: $4,560
- State Taxes of 4%: $1,520
- Social Security and Medicare of 7.65%: $2,907
$38k Per Year After Taxes is $29,013
This would be your net annual salary after taxes.
To turn that back into an hourly wage, the assumption is working 2,080 hours.
$29013 ÷ 2,080 hours = $13.95 per hour
After estimated taxes and FICA, you are netting $29,013 per year, which is $8,987 per year less than what you expect.
***This is a very high-level example and can vary greatly depending on your personal situation and potential deductions. Therefore, here is a great tool to help you figure out how much your net paycheck would be.***
Taxes Based On Your State
In addition, if you live in a heavily taxed state like California or New York, then you have to pay way more money than somebody that lives in a no tax state like Texas or Florida. This is the debate of HCOL vs LCOL.
Thus, your yearly gross $38000 income can range from $25,973 to $30,533 depending on your state income taxes.
That is why it is important to realize the impact income taxes can have on your take home pay. It is one of those things that you should acknowledge and obviously you need to pay taxes. But, it can also put a huge dent in your ability to live the lifestyle you want on a $38,000 income.
How Much Is 38K A Year Hourly Salary Calculator
More than likely, your salary is not a flat 38k, here is a tool to convert salary to hourly calculator.
Many entry level jobs start at this range, which may make you believe that a business degree is worth it.
38k salary lifestyle
Every person reading this post has a different upbringing and a different belief system about money. Therefore, what would be a lavish lifestyle to one person, maybe a frugal lifestyle to another person. And there’s no wrong or right, it is what works best for you.
One of the biggest factors to consider is your cost of living.
In another post, we detailed the differences of living in an HCOL vs LCOL vs MCOL area. When you live in big cities, trying to maintain your lifestyle of $38,000 a year is going to be extremely difficult because your basic expenses, housing, transportation, food, and clothing are going to be much more expensive than you would find in a lower cost area.
To stretch your dollar further in the high cost of living area, you would have to probably live a very frugal lifestyle and prioritize where you want to spend money and where you do not. Whereas, if you live in a low cost of living area, you can afford the cost of living and maybe save more money. Thus, you have more fun spending left in your account each month.
As we noted earlier in the post, $38,000 a year is well below the average income that you would find in the United States. Thus, you have to be wise with how you spend your money.
What a $38,000 lifestyle will buy you:
If you are debt free and utilize smart money management skills, then you are able to enjoy the lifestyle you want.
- You are able to rent in a decent neighborhood in LCOL.
- Driving a beater car is normal.
- You should be able to meet your basic expenses each and every month.
- Not be able to afford many of the fun spending luxuries.
- Participate in the 200 envelope challenge.
When A $38,000 Salary Will Hold you Back:
However, if you are riddled with debt or unable to break the paycheck to paycheck cycle, then living off of 38k a year is going to be pretty darn difficult.
There are two factors that will keep holding you back:
- You must pay off debt and cut all fun spending and extra expenses.
- Break the paycheck to paycheck cycle.
It is possible to get ahead with money!
It just comes with proper money management skills and a desire to have less stress around money. That is a winning combination regardless of your income level.
$38K a year Budget – Example
As always, here at Money Bliss, we focus on covering our basic expenses plus saving and giving first, and then our goal is to eliminate debt. The rest of the money leftover is left for fun spending.
This is how zero based budgeting works.
If you want to know how to manage 38k salary the best, then this is a prime example for you to compare your spending.
You can compare your budget to the ideal household budget percentages.
recommended budget percentages based on $38000 a year salary:
|Category||Ideal Percentages||Sample Monthly Budget|
|Recreation / Entertainment||3-8%||$71|
|Debts||0% – Goal||$0|
|Government Tax (including Income Tatumx, Social Security & Medicare)||15-25%||$749|
|Total Gross Monthly Income||$3,167|
Is $38,000 a year a Good Salary?
As we stated earlier if you are able to make $38,000 a year, that is a low salary. You are making around or just above minimum wage.
While 38000 is a decent salary just starting out in your working years, it is a salary that you want to rapidly increase before your expenses go up or the people you provide for increase. If not, you will be left working multiple jobs to make ends meet.
However, too many times people get stuck in the lifestyle trap of trying to keep up with the Joneses, and their lifestyle desires get out of hand compared to their salary. And what they thought used to be a great salary actually is not making ends meet at this time.
This $38k salary would be considered a lower class salary. You must make each dollar count in your budget.
Check: Are you in the middle class?
In fact, this income level in the United States has enough buying power to put you in the top 95 percentile globally for per person income (source).
The question you need to ask yourself with your 38k salary is:
- Am I maxed at the top of my career?
- Is there more income potential?
- What obstacles do I face if I want to try to increase my income?
In the future years and with possible inflation, in many modest cities a 38,000 a year is not a good salary because the cost of living is so high, whereas these are some of the cities where you can make a decent living at 38,000 per year.
If you are looking for a career change, you want to find jobs paying at least $50000 a year.
Is 38k a good salary for a Single Person?
Simply put, you can make it work.
You can stretch your salary much further because you are only worried about your own expenses. A single person will spend much less than if you need to provide for someone else.
Your living expenses and ideal budget are much less. Thus, you can live comfortably on $38000 per year.
And… most of us probably regret how much money wasted when we were single. Oh well, lesson learned.
Is 38k a good salary for a family?
Many of the same principles apply above on whether $38000 is a good salary. The main difference with a family, you have more people to provide for than when you are single or have just one other person in your household.
At the 38K salary with a family, you would need more than one income stream to make this possible without government help.
The costs of raising children are high and will steeply cut into your income. As you can tell this is a huge dent in your income, specifically $12,980 annually per child.
That means that amount of money is coming out of the income that you earned.
So, the question really remains is can you provide a good life for your family making $38,000 a year? This is the hardest part because each family has different choices, priorities, and values.
More or less, it comes down to two things:
- The location where you live in.
- Desire to improve your career and make more money.
- Your lifestyle choices.
You will not be able to afford everything on this salary.
Many times when raising a family, it is helpful to have a dual-income household. That way you are able to provide the necessary expenses if both parties were making 38,000 per year, then the combined income for the household would be $76,000. Thus making your combined salary a very good income.
Learn how much money a family of 4 needs in each state.
Can you Live on 38000 Per Year?
As we outlined earlier in the post, $38,000 a year:
- $18.27 Per Hour
- $146-182 Per Day (depending on length of day worked)
- $730 Per Week
- $1,461 Per Biweekly
- $3,166 Per Month
Next up is making $40,000 a year.
Like anything else in life, you get to decide how to spend, save and give your money.
That is the difference for each person on whether or not you can live a lower-class lifestyle depends on many potential factors. If you live in Washington or New Jersey you are gonna have a tougher time than in Florida or even Texas.
In addition, if you are early in your career, starting out around 32,000 a year, that is a okay place to be getting your career. However, if you have been in your career for over 20 years and still making $38K, then you probably need to look at asking for pay increases, pick up a second job, or find a different career path.
Regardless of the wage that you make, if you are not able to live the lifestyle that you want, then you have to find ways to make it work for you. Everybody has choices to make.
But one of the things that can help you the most is to stick to our ideal household budget percentages to make sure you stay on track.
Learn exactly how much do I make per year…