Money Analysed

Thriving on $17 an Hour: Tips for Budgeting and Financial Planning

How to Thrive on $17 an Hour Salary: Understanding Paid Time Off and Budgeting

Working for a $17 an hour salary can mean a lot of things, depending on your lifestyle and needs. It can be a modest earning for some and a challenging one for others.

To help you understand how $17 an hour can perfectly work for you, we’ll explore different aspects related to this salary and help you understand how you can budget it effectively.

Understanding $17 an Hour as a Salary

The first thing you need to know is how much you’ll earn annually.

At $17 an hour, you’ll earn $35,360 per year working full-time, which amounts to an average earning in many parts of the United States. But is it a living wage?

A lot depends on where you live, your costs of living and debt. In most states, a single person earning $35,360 annually is likely to achieve a sustainable standard of living.

However, if you have dependents or live in a high-cost city, you may need to find ways to cut expenses to afford a living wage.

Budgeting with $17 an Hour

Budgeting is an essential life skill that can help anyone, regardless of their salary, achieve financial stability and plan for the future.

When budgeting with $17 an hour salary, it is important to focus on reducing your debt while maintaining your daily living costs within your income range.

Creating a realistic budget is the way to start it.

Begin by asking yourself what your core expenses are like rent, utilities, transportation, food, and healthcare. Determine what you can save month to month for emergencies or future purchases.

Be flexible giving yourself some leisure or recreation money, but be careful not to overspend.

There are several ways you can lower your expenses.

You can make use of public transportation to save money on gas or owning a car. Your food expenses can be reduced by making your meals at home, preparing a weekly meal plan, or buying generic store brands when shopping for groceries.

It’s also wise to take advantage of various apps and websites that help you save money on utilities, clothing, or entertainment. For example, energy-saving apps lower utility bills by tracking energy usage and energy-saving opportunities in your home.

How Paid Time Off Affects $17 an Hour Salary

Taking paid time off is important when you work for an hourly wage. Assuming you work full-time, taking just one week off represents a loss of one-twenty-sixth of your annual income.

A paid day you’re not working means fewer dollars in your pocket when payday comes. For instance, assume that a full-time hourly employee makes $17 an hour and works 40 hours each week.

Thus, their total monthly income would be $2,906.67. If they take one day off, they’ll earn $138.24 less when payday comes.

Though seemingly a small figure, it adds up over time.

It may not seem like a lot, but six days of PTO per year could equate to missed earnings of $829.40.

Unpaid time off can eat into your savings or force you to shorten periods of time when you’re not working. Therefore, it is important to plan your time off and look for other sources of savings when you’re not working.


In conclusion, a $17 an hour salary can sustain your standard of living while providing you with plenty of opportunities to save for the future. Budgeting and managing expenses can prove to be difficult, but achievable goals when you adopt the appropriate strategies.

Moreover, identifying how paid time off affects your paychecks can enable you to book time off strategically without compromising your budgetary goals. These budgeting tips alongside efforts to manage your time off better can help you achieve a good work-life balance while still making ends meet.

Taxes and Net Income with $17 an Hour Salary

When earning a salary of $17 an hour, you need to understand the impact of taxes on your gross salary and how that affects your net income. It is important to be aware of this, as it can affect the way you budget your money and also affect your future financial goals like owning a car or a home.

Understanding Taxes on $17 an Hour Salary

Before understanding how taxes affect your net income, it’s important to understand the different types of taxes you will pay. Federal income tax is a tax imposed by the Federal government on earned income, whereas state income tax is imposed on earned income by some state governments.

The tax rate for these taxes varies and is often based on gross earnings and location.

The Federal income tax rate is progressive, and it ranges from 10% to 37% depending on which tax bracket an individual falls into.

For example, someone making $35,360 annually will fall into the 12% tax rate bracket, and so they would pay $4,023.50 in Federal income tax alone. Besides Federal income tax, Social Security and Medicare taxes also get deducted from your paycheck.

These taxes are flat taxes that add up to 7.65% of your gross income. Those who are self-employed will pay both the employer and employee portions as they are responsible for withholding and paying their own taxes.

Net Income Calculation with Taxes

Your net income is your earnings after taxes have been deducted from your gross pay. Knowing your net income is essential to help you budget and make informed financial decisions.

Once you understand your gross pay, including the amount of Federal income tax, Social Security tax and Medicare tax, you can calculate your net income. Using the same example as previously mentioned, someone making $35,360 annually will pay $4,023.50 in Federal income tax alone, and a total of $2,701.76 in Social Security tax and Medicare tax.

After these taxes are taken from the gross pay, they are left with a net income of approximately $28,120. While this amount may seem small, it is important to budget and plan accordingly with this money.

Hourly Wage After Taxes

Your hourly wage is determined by your gross pay divided by the total number of hours you have worked in a pay period (usually two weeks). While your gross hourly wage may be $17, your net hourly wage is what is left after the taxes and other withholdings are deducted.

Using the same example as previously mentioned, if a person works 40 hours per week and earns $17 per hour before taxes, their gross pay before taxes would be $680. However, taxes and other withholdings would bring down the net pay to approximately $532.75.

Therefore, their net hourly wage would be approximately $13.31 (rounded to the nearest cent).

Living on $17 an Hour Salary

Living on $17 an hour salary requires the knowledge of budgeting and financial planning skills.

When earning an hourly wage, you must learn to live below your means and prioritize your expenses, keeping in mind the ever-present need to save money.

Tips for Living on $17 an Hour Salary

Planning ahead and keeping track of your money is key when living on $17 an hour salary.

Here are some tips you should consider to help you manage your living expenses better. – Set up a budget, stick to it, and review it regularly.

This will help you keep track of your spending. – Try paying your bills as they become due, so you don’t have to worry about them later.

Use autopay to keep on top of your bills. – Limit credit card usage and avoid unnecessary spending like eating out often or buying luxury items.

– Evaluate your needs and look for ways to downsize. Consider moving to a smaller apartment, carpooling, and buying second-hand clothing, for instance.

– Look for ways to save money. Make use of coupons and cash-back offers when shopping, or buy groceries in bulk.

Living Below Your Means

Learning how to live below your means may take time and effort, but it can lead to a more secure financial future. Living below your means means finding ways to save money intentionally and sustainably, no matter how much you earn.

To embrace living below your means, start by focusing on what is important to you and what you need to do to achieve those goals. Balance your expenses accordingly.

Think about splurging on good experiences, not things. Plan your monthly expenditure accordingly and consistently look for ways to save money.

Making Saving Money Fun

Though living on a $17 an hour salary may seem challenging, it doesn’t have to be dull or boring. Consider making saving money fun by engaging in activities that help you save money while still enjoying them.

For example, you can organize a monthly potluck with friends or volunteer for low-cost or free opportunities instead of paying for entertainment. You could also make it a challenge to buy all your groceries at once and see just how much you can save, or find ways to repair and upcycle your clothing and household items instead of buying new ones.


In conclusion, maximizing your $17 an hour salary demands a careful balancing of budgeting and living pragmatically. By following the steps outlined above, you can learn how to budget your income, save money, and plan for the future.

It is important to understand the role taxes play in your net income and to find ways to enjoy your life while still living below your means. With the right tools and a positive attitude, you can live comfortably on $17 an hour, irrespective of your location or the number of dependents.

In conclusion, earning $17 an hour salary can be challenging, but learning how to budget an hourly wage, manage taxes, and live below means can help you achieve financial stability. It is essential to understand the role of taxes in your net income, develop a budget plan, and learn to prioritize and balance your expenses.

You should also consider making saving money fun with minimalism and frugality. Thus, by adopting the right strategies, you can maximize your potential to live comfortably, irrespective of your location or the number of dependents.

The ability to create and maintain a realistic budget and adhere to it will provide you with greater financial autonomy and a more stable future.

Popular Posts