Is a $30K Per Year Salary Good?

So, you just got a new job offer, and the starting salary is around 30K. While you are eager to start working, you are wondering, is a 30K salary good enough to sustain me? How much an hour can you make with this salary? Let’s find out

Is a $30K Salary Good?

A $30k salary might not be good for most people in the US since it is well below the average personal income of $63,214. However, this depends on several factors, such as your personal lifestyle, cost of living, responsibilities, income taxes, job experience, and education level. 

Woman in professional wear seated in front of her work monitors

Other factors that might also determine how well you can live on a $30k salary (around $2,500 monthly income) include your money management skills, social security taxes, and the number of dependents you have.

Factors That Will Determine Whether $30,000 Is a Good Salary or Not 

According to the Word Population Review, the average income in America is around $63,214, with an average hourly wage of $27.86. This is more than double a $30,000 yearly salary (around $15 hourly wage) which means this is a minimum wage in most states.

However, when it comes to finances, the definition of sufficient or insufficient can vary widely depending on several factors. 

Some of the biggest factors include the following: 

  • Your personal responsibilities and dependants 
  • Cost of living and the tax rate in your area 
  • Your personal lifestyle 
  • Education level 
  • Job experience 
  • Money management skills 

Personal Responsibilities and Dependants

$30,000 may be enough or not, depending on how many responsibilities you have and how many people depend on you. In particular: 

  • If you are a single person with few responsibilities on your shoulders, low tax wages, and not living in an expensive city, $30K a year might be a good salary, and you could afford a good life
  • $30,000 might not be a great salary if you are a family. You might have to consider looking for alternative or additional money sources to supplement your full-time income.
  • If you are a recent graduate, earning $30,000 per year might enable you to live a comfortable life.  However, you will have to live in a State with a low cost of living (for example, South Dakota) to afford that good life.

Job Experience

$30K will be a good starting point if you just started working. However, if you have decades of experience on the job, you might have to counteroffer this salary for higher pay, like 70k per year.

Woman handing paperwork to someone else in her office

Your position on the job will also be a factor. 

For example, if you are starting as a manager, even with no experience, a $30K average salary might be too low for you. 

Level of Education 

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, attaining a higher level of education will result in higher annual earnings in most professions. 

So, while $30K a year might be a good salary for someone with a high school diploma, it will be blasphemous for someone with a Master’s degree. 

Personal Lifestyle 

Different lifestyle choices greatly dictate whether or not you can survive on a $30,000 pay.

For example, if you are a spendthrift with a lavish lifestyle, you might only be able to cover some expenses with this salary. 

However, if you live frugally and understand how to make a good budget, earning $30,000 per year should enable you to pay most of your bills and even taxes. 

Cost of Living in Your Area

This is the biggest factor and affects all the other factors I have discussed above. The city, town, or state you live in will greatly inform whether $30K is a good salary. For example, if you live in most big cities with a high cost of living and huge taxes, this will likely be a low salary.

Someone in New Hampshire will live comfortably with this pay, while another person in Hawaii might need help to cover even basic expenses.

So, whether you are a fresh graduate paying your college loans, or a parent with a big family, whether or not $30K is a good salary will always boil down to the cost of living in your area. How much rent or mortgage payments do you make, what is the cost of transportation, and how much taxes do you pay? 

Printed monthly budget on top of a silver laptop and glasses

How to Make a Good Budget on a $30K Annual Salary

Learning how to budget effectively can make a big difference when you earn just $30,000 a year or a monthly amount of around $2,500.

So to help you, I will give quick budgeting tips based on different scenarios. For example, whether you are single, a couple, or parents,

Budgeting Tips for Parents

Considering that the median household income in the US is slightly above $70,000, earning $30,000 a year might be a disadvantage. This means that you will need to budget well by:

  • Closely evaluating your family expenses and understanding what to prioritize and what to forgo. 
  • Closely tracking your family expenses 
  • Always working with a list when you go shopping 
  • Using budgeting software such as PocketGuard, YNAB, and Freshbooks
  • Making meal planning a priority
  • Always set some money aside for emergencies 

Budgeting Tips for Couples 

If you are a couple with no children in the picture, $30,000 a year might still not be enough for you. However, you can budget your money by: 

  • Evaluating and prioritizing your shared living expenses 
  • Calculating your combined monthly net income. If you both earn $30K annual salary, you can create a budget for a $60K salary instead of just $30K. Otherwise, if just one of you earns $30,000 a year, you might have to be more frugal.
  • Considering your shared financial goals, like how much money you want to save, how fast you want to pay your debt, and how much you want to put towards your emergency fund, can help create a good budget on a $30,000-a-year salary. 

Budgeting Tips for Individuals 

You might not have much fun spending your money if you are a single person relying on a $30K salary. However, making a budget will be much easier if you:

Man counting dollar banknotes
  • Clearly understand the difference between wants and needs 
  • Work with a budgeting tool 
  • Religiously track your own expenses 
  • Use a shopping list to avoid impulse buying 
  • Plan a monthly budget 

How to Save Money if You Earn $30,000 a Year

Saving money on a $30K salary can be a real hassle. Worse, your take-home pay (the money you get in your bank account) will even be lower after taxes.

So, you might need to be creative to save money. You can double your savings by:

Related Questions 

How Much an Hour is $30K Salary?

A salary of $30,000 annually equates to around $15 pay an hour. That is assuming you work 40 hours per week and up to 50 weeks per year.  In this case, you’d be working a total of 2,000 hours per year which, when you divide by $30,000, you get $15 an hour for an hourly job. 

How Much Rent Can I Afford I Make $30,000 a Year?

You can afford up to $750 monthly rent if you make $30,000 a year. That’s if you use the 30% rule, which requires you to spend no more than 30% of your annual gross income on rent. 30% of $30,000 is $9,000 per year, which equates to $750 per month. 


Undoubtedly, you will struggle financially if you earn $30K annually because it is generally not a good salary. However, depending on the abovementioned factors, you might just pull through with this low pay. You can enjoy some financial freedom by either earning more money through passive income, negotiating a more decent salary, or learning some money management skills.  

Jared Bauman is the owner and editor of He has started and sold several companies, along with owning several investment properties. His interest in personal finance started as a young kid, developed through his entrepreneurial ventures and real estate investments, and continue through his conversations with friends and colleagues.

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