Is $30,000 a Good Salary? What Will I be Able to Afford?

Is $30,000 a Good Salary (1)

If you’re new to the world of work and don’t have a reference point to start with, then you might be in the dark about how much you need to earn. Job advertisements for permanent positions often state the annual salary, based on the idea that you’ll be working there for at least a year besides your vacation time. 

So, is $30,000 a good salary for example? This guide will help you understand that this is a decent starter wage which will provide you with a comfortable lifestyle so long as you follow the right financial tips. 

Is $30,000 a Good Salary

How much is 30k a year hourly? 

If you’ve previously worked part-time, or on a full-time contract then you might have been paid at an hourly rate.

Naturally, you’ll want to know how $30,000 a year translates into an hourly wage. Will you be better or worse off as a permanent employee? 

The thing about being on an annual salary is that the number of hours you might work per year could vary as per your contract.

Here are some options for how much you’ll make per hour if you’re earning $30,000 a year. 

  • Working 52 weeks of the year for 40 hours per week = 2080 hours, so $14.42 per hour 
  • Working 50 weeks of the year for 40 hours per week, with unpaid vacation = $15 per hour 
  • Working 52 weeks of the year for 35 hours per week = 1820 hours, so $16.48 per hour 
  • Working 50 weeks of the year for 35 hours per week, with unpaid vacation = $17.14 per hour 

How much is $30,000 a year per week or month? 

Of course, if you’re planning your budget, then few people would consider how much they spend per hour.

So, if you want to know how far your $30,000 a year salary will cover your weekly or monthly budget, then check out these figures. 

  • $30,000 a year = $2,500 per month 
  • $30,000 a year = $576.92 a week 
  • $30,000 a year = $1,153.85 biweekly

Tax on your $30,000 annual salary 

Now you have a firm grasp of how much your employer will pay you on an hourly, weekly, monthly, and annual basis, let’s take a look at how much of this wage you’ll actually see.

Because of course, in many US states, you’ll be taxed on this income.

The question ‘is $30,000 a year a good salary?’ can only really be answered by taking tax into account.

There are nine states which won’t tax your $30,000 a year salary – these are Alaska, Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming.

Instead of charging an income tax, these areas rely on property or sales tax to gain revenue to support their respective states.

If you happen to live in one of these states, then your $30,000 a year salary will go significantly further.

But, what about if you live in one of the other 41 states? Then you’ll pay a federal income tax rate which is set depending on how much you earn. 

In the case of a $30,000 salary, you’ll pay 10% tax on the first $9,950 you earn, and then 12% on the remainder of your wages.

This is because anyone earning between $9,951 and $40,125 will be charged 12% of their earnings.

So even with a pay rise or a small bonus, you’re likely to remain in this 12% income tax band category until your earnings raise by around a third.  

If you’re paying income tax set out as above, then you can expect to owe $995 on the first $9,950 you make and then $2405.88 on the remainder.

This makes a combined total of $3,400.88 for the year, meaning that you’ll be left with $26.599.12 as take-home pay. 

Is $30,000 a good salary for a comfortable lifestyle? 

Absolutely. But, only if you follow excellent financial planning. If you spend without a budget in place, then you’ll find that you quickly burn through your wages and will end up relying on credit cards or personal loans to make ends meet. 

Is $30,000 a year a good salary for a single person? Yes, you should find it relatively easy to support yourself off this wage but it may be more challenging to raise a family if this is your only source of income. 

Comparing this wage to national figures, during the first quarter of 2021, the median weekly salary for full-time workers was $989.

This varied between $900 for women and $1,089 for men.

So it’s fair to say that your weekly wage of $576.92 on a $30,000 annual salary falls well below the median rate. 

However, the same set of data from the Current Population Survey also revealed that males aged 45-54 had the highest-earning capacity.

If you’re younger, then you’ll have an entirely different lifestyle to support. So, is $30,000 a good salary for a 25-year-old?

At this stage in life, potentially before you’ve started a family and with a little time still to think about retirement, $30,000 is a great starting point for you. 

If you’re a graduate, then you might expect to begin on a higher salary though, with recent stats from the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) revealing an average starting salary of $50,944 for those fresh out of college. 

Budgeting-Finances

Following a sensible budget 

Before deciding whether to go for a job that pays $30,000 a year, it would be sensible to make a budget.

Remember to take the tax off, so you know how much your take-home pay is. 

Next, begin by noting down all your outgoings, including rent or mortgage payments, transport costs, energy bills, phone and broadband bills, and any subscription services you pay for.

You may decide to try and trim some of these expenses down by switching to a more affordable provider, choosing to take public transport or car-share instead of forking out for gas or moving to a cheaper apartment or neighborhood.

You’ll also need to budget for food, remembering that there are plenty of ways to eat both healthily and affordably, including meal planning, batch cooking, and taking your lunch to work. 

Once you have all your expenses accounted for, work out how much money you have left before your next paycheck arrives.

Ideally, you’ll choose to set aside some of this money to put into a savings account.

Alternatively, if you have accumulated any debt, then set aside some of your salary to start chipping away at the amount you owe.

If you’re paying a high-interest rate, then consider consolidating your debt at a lower rate so that you’re able to pay it down faster. 

The remainder of your salary can be used for entertainment, which might include eating out, beauty treatments, going to bars, trips away, or however else you wish to spend your time.

Everyone has their own individual lifestyle preferences, but if you follow a simple strategy such as the 50/30/20 rule, where you spend 50% on ‘needs’, 30% of your income on ‘wants’ and put 20% into savings, then you should find it easy to manage your money on any salary. 

The Finances Hub offers financial advice and budgeting tips for every lifestage. Now that we’ve answered the question ‘is $30,000 a good salary?’, feel free to check out the rest of our blog to set you on the path to financial freedom. 

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