Are YOU Earning a Living Wage?

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Are YOU Earning a Living Wage?

Is it possible to work 60 hour weeks and still be unable to cover basic expenses to maintain a normal standard of living? Whether you’re planning a move or another child, or just want to see if a new wage is good, check out the cost of living in America today and see if you’re earning a living wage.

First, go here and adjust the slider at the bottom of the graphic (like pictured above) to match your wage. Then on the left, select how many adults and children are in your household. Finally, select a state to see where you fall between a poverty wage and a living wage. You can even zoom in on a particular state by selecting the state and then clicking on the plus sign that appears in the corner.

  • States that are brighter mean that you would earn closer to a living wage in that state.
  • States that are darker mean that you would earn closer to a poverty wage in that state.
  • The light blue triangle above the wage slider shows the minimum wage for that state.
  • The dark blue triangle below the wage slider shows the federal minimum wage.
  • The box above your wage listing shows how many hours a week you would have to work just to earn a living wage.

Interesting Facts:

  • Making minimum wage with one child is unlivable in all 50 states (assuming a 40 hour workweek)
  • Northern Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia are the highest concentration of expensive counties in the nation. For a single parent of three, anything short of $37 an hour (close to $80,000 a year) is below a living wage.
  • South Dakota, North Dakota, sections of Montana, and Eastern Washington are some of the most livable places in the United States if you are single and making minimum wage.
  • For a married couple making $12 an hour, much of the Midwest and rural Pennsylvania are livable.

Are YOU making a living wage?

Join The Discussion

Comments 65

  1. 4Ella

    I have to work 80 per week to be livable πŸ™

  2. april

    I couldn’t get it to work on my phone so I’m not sure where we actually fall, but I just want to say that I am incredibly grateful for this site. I’m a stay at home mom with our two kids (4 and 6 months) while my husband works long hours. We’re able to keep up on lots of normal childhood things for our kids thanks to you all. The freebies, the store events, the cheap clothes & gifts, and the store match-ups have made such a difference. Thank you Hip2save team for all you do!

    • Lori

      I am in the same situation, stay at home mom with 2 kids under the age of 2 and husband works long hours to make ends meet. The hip2save app saves our family so much money! Thank you so much for everything you guys do!

      • Hannah (Sensational Sidekick)

        Thank you Lori for the awesome feedback on the app! You are SO welcome! πŸ™‚

    • Hannah (Sensational Sidekick)

      Thanks for the great feedback, April! That’s wonderful to hear πŸ™‚ So happy you are able to save so much! You are so welcome!

    • momof7

      Same! We have a big family. I have to get the best deals.

  3. Momof3divas

    Amen, South Dakota! Born and raised and have lived here my entire life. I wouldn’t want to raise my kids anywhere else even during the 3-4 months a year when we freeze our butts off. lol

    • JaxJay

      I was born in Rapid City, EAFB. Lived there until 13 years old. I loved it. But when I saw it was -82Β°F in January I was so happy I moved to Florida..Lol. SD is a great state and nicely under populated. Back then there was no crime and nobody ever locked the doors, friendly, etc. I’m still in a fairly low cost state (FL) and am extremely grateful for the great living we now make after struggling and being broke most of our lives. I hope everyone becomes fortunate and gets a break. Everyone who works hard deserves more.

      • Esther

        Moved to rapid city for a travelling job in july and this has been the worst winter.

    • sa

      I’m in Sioux Falls SD. We moved here in 1999

    • momof7

      So so so cold. Were iowa natives but lived by north Dakotain in SD for almost a year. Very speedyfor us But whoa cold! Lol

  4. HoldenDC

    I live in Washington DC but thanks to growing up in a super cheap family and all the savings hip2save offers me, I live a very livable lifestyle πŸ˜€

    • Collin (Mrs. Hip)

      Glad to hear that! πŸ˜‰ Happy to help you snag the savings!

  5. thehenrydthoreau

    It comes down to two things: Affordability of housing and spending habits. It will cost considerably more to live on the east coast or California against many other states. Also, how one spends their money will really affect their wage effectiveness. I do not spend more than $1 on most non-food items. My oop is so low that I can absorb some increases while I search to relocate to a more affordable living area.

    • thehenrydthoreau

      Another thing is choices. Where we live, where we work, if we can afford or access a loan to deprecating assets and how many children one has will all affect livable income. For example: I have a 13 year old who is home schooled through k-12. His school costs are free (he needs no school supplies), he has no school clothing costs and he has no additional food costs for school. I do not own a car. I live within 5 minutes of a grocery store, dry cleaner and post office. I also live within 15 minutes of two malls, Target, Best Buy and Home Depot. I live off two bus lines and 10 minutes from a subway stop. This means I do not need a gym membership. The job is a ten minute bus ride or twenty minute walk. I can write off my public transportation expenses on my state taxes. I’ve also lost 170 pounds due to all the walking so I do not eat fast food that much anymore. I also have access to more stores for clothes now so I could score as I did at Sears two years ago. After free SWYR points and clearance, I bought 10 tens pairs of shorts and a skirt for $.15 each. The skirt was too big so I sold it. The profit covered more than the cost of the shorts = free shorts. My rent did increase $80/month over the last but I save $8000 sans car ownership, $120+ on gym membership, $100 on schooling cost and hundreds on clothing. A lot of people do not really calculate true costs of things.

  6. Cynthia Martin

    I would like to know how many receive government assistance. If your state is “unlivable” and you live there, how?

    • hellfire gainz

      I don’t believe it’s that, as much as families living pay check to paycheck not able to make much savings. There are often weeks that I end up with $1 after paying bills and buying feed. Course we are a homeschooling family of 7 on one income. We Farm, and pinch pennies. I do believe that makes it unlivable in a sense since you can barely save.

  7. Mrita

    No we are not. I don’t even have to check the site. My husband works 60+ hours a week, we have a small family and live a simple life and we still live paycheck to paycheck. Such is life. Thank goodness for this site that helps a ton! THANK YOU H2S, WE ARE FOREVER GRATEFUL FOR ALL THAT YOU DO! πŸ™‚

    • Collin (Mrs. Hip)

      You are SO welcome! Happy to help you snag the deals and save more!

  8. Jessica

    A wonderful way to save money on your meat is to contact local farmers and discuss how much it is for them to slaughter a cow or pig. I have been actually amazed at the prices and you can go in half with others or whatever. Our mailman raises black angus cows and he charges 2.25 a pound and it doesn’t matter if it is steak or ground beef. It is nice to support local farmers and most states require anyone selling beef to be certified. Check with you local 4-H or Co Ops.

    • Jessica

      Beer rebates save me a lot on meat and groceries as I am in expensive NJ which is a nbpr state. No beer purchase required. Now if anyone has access to beer rebate forms and can sell them to me cheaper than ebay I would be forever grateful! As the good rebate form ones are nor available in my stores. Anyone have any leads?

      • lucy

        Jessica — beer rebates are TONS cheaper on than on ebay. Almost all sell for 10% of rebate plus shipping, with combined shipping. So a $25/50 would be $3 shipped. I’ve been buying there for a few years now. The site’s kind of a hassle to get started on because you have to jump thru various training posts to be permitted to join, but it’s totally worth it for the nbpr prices. Here’s the rebate forum:

        • Pam

          What are beer rebates?

          • Jessica

            Search “beer rebates” on living rich with coupons website. It explains it well. Basically there are rebate forms sometimes found in stores that sell liquor and or beer that are either hanging in the aisle near the product, on the product, at the checkout, or on a cork board in the store that allow you to get money back for buying certain items or groceries etc. In some states you need to buy the actual beer or wine bit in NJ beer is not sold in same store as food and some states like NJ do not require purchase of the beer and only need to spend on the groceries or other required purchase. It saves me a ton. I get alot of money doing these. I have people that help me too and either give me all their receipts or they fill out the form and give me all or half the money. I have a crew of helpers. It makes me prob over 1,000 back per year. Depends on how many I can do. I plan to bring in over 200 this month.

        • Jessica

          Thanks lucy. I have been on there but seems hard to use that site. I post with no responses. WI’ll Try again. What state are you in?

    • sara

      Great point Jessica. I buy 100% of our meat from local farmers and often receive “bonuses” for being a repeat customer (i.e., meaty soup bones!). They also deliver directly to my home, which saves me money and time while providing antibiotic-free, grass fed meat for my family. I also buy our eggs, honey, and maple syrup in the same way. We try to grow enough produce during our short growing season; however, end up buying local CSA 1/2 shares as needed.

      • MrsFelix1004

        We are just starting our farm and I am excited to grow and produce our own food. We are taking the certification classes now. We have 18 chickens so far and we donate all the eggs to our favorite charity in town called The Unicorn Fund. Look it up if you have a few minutes. Mrs. Shelby is 93 that runs it in memory of her daughter and she is awesome and she loves to communicate by text. I was joking with my husband earlier because you can get a stamp to stamp you Eggs and I wanted one that said “Laid in America” it’s cute but not totally appropriate.

        • Paisley

          I love the “laid in America”!!πŸ˜‚ (I can see it on t shirts…farm sign…business cards. Lol!) Love that you are supporting those in need! It is awesome to see people take an interest in raising their own food and supporting local farmers!!

    • Laurie

      Great way to save when cooking for a family.
      Also use VacSeal bags so food stay good sooooo much longer.

  9. Lilia

    I live in San Diego California and both my husband and I work 50+ hours a week but I do a lot of couponing and clearance shopping. We have four kids.

  10. sara

    I am so darn proud to say: YES!!

    Single mom of three under the age of 11, working 55 hour weeks without a dime of support or maintenance. I have worked so very hard to make and maintain an above living wage that will provide for my kids throughout their lives. πŸ™‚

    • meg

      Kuddos to you! πŸ™‚

    • Laurie

      You go Sara!! So proud of you. Not an easy road to travel. I was a single mom of 2 boys with VERY little for father. I worked hard and saved every chance I could get. Saving is in my blood so we lived a very comfy life in Louisiana. I often share this app believe I just hate seeing people spend more than is necessary. I believe in the app and its ability to share great $$$ saving options.

      • Raedev

        Savings in my blood too my mom was a very thrifty single mom and I learned it from her. ☺

  11. Dana Wessel Edwards

    It doesn’t state if that’s net or gross.

  12. Raedev

    I’m a stay at home mom here in illinois. There is government assistance here. We call it link card which is another word for food stamps. Anybody else get food stamps? My husband works 40+ hr week at 11.00 an hr. Just being real with u guys!! Also he went from a $22.00 hr job last year but it was super unsafe environment like rubber tire manufacturing. Continental tire. I would take a pay cut for him not to be in that smog house. We paid off his truck recently so we’ve got 200.00 less to pay every month. Feels so good to pay off a debt. Can I get an amen? Lol

    • Raedev

      We did a role reversal after I had our 3rd child ; my baby girl (2) gonna be 3 in June. I have 3 kids: 2 boys : ones 7 gonna be 8 in june & the other is 4. Anyways I was doing CNA work and it taught me a lot about how to treat others. 4 years of cna work. So I think illinois is very livable but the slider thing would work on the website for me so I’ll never know I guess lol..

      • Liz

        Congrats Raedev! Great job keeping it together and paying off debt. You should be super proud!!

        • Raedev

          Thanks so much Liz☺

  13. Katie

    Lol, I’m a single mother of 3 in Fl working full time as an asst. manager ($9.90/hr). Im nowhere near livable wages.

  14. MJ

    I live in Maryland about 1 mile from DC. It sucks, I was working full time and not really getting ahead with daycare costs over 17,000 a year. With baby number 2, I now only work weekend shifts and my husband takes care of the kids as my wages don’t even begin to cover two daycares, but I need some income to cover the bills. Wish I finished college now….Definitely can’t make it here on one income with a family of four, 80,000 doesn’t cut it like the list states. It’s ridiculous. Thanks to hip2save for making some things actually affordable!

    • Liz

      Hi MJ. I live in the DC Metro in VA. Childcare/preschool here is $465/mo for 5 days a week. If I did all day, it would be $700/mo. I really wished I lived closer to DC since I work there, but the cost of childcare would be too tough (mom of 3). I feel your pain.

    • Collin (Mrs. Hip)

      You’re welcome MJ!

  15. Dana

    God has blessed us so much. We live in La which as I see on the map, shows poverty wages. My husband has worked his way up in the construction industry. From the bottom , literally. I work part time at a job I , most of the time :), love. We have a nice home, not new and not extravagant, but nice. At this time, we have no vehicle notes. We do have a lot of bills but it is doable, thanks to my husbands income. Our kids are 23,19,17. They all have jobs and are able to cover a lot of their own expenses. We are blessed.

  16. MIchelle

    Single mom of 2 tweens here in very expensive Westchester NY, and no support. Last year was the first time I was faced with the unlivable wage and I panicked for months until I found something better. Scary thing to face that you might lose your home even though you work doubly hard to maintain a semi-normal life. The only good thing that I got out of it was a lesson learned to be very conscious of every penny. Budgeting, couponing, and being proactive in finance is hard to do when every waking moment is about someone else., couponing and your site have really helped when I had a free moment and I was able to plan for a job change with a better salary! Thank you!

    • Collin (Mrs. Hip)

      Glad to hear that Michelle! You’re most welcome!

  17. Amanda

    Great tool but the problem I have with anything like this is I make great money but when you take into toll the student loans my family has we drastically decrease in monthly income… we didn’t take out any extra & had some scholarships as well as being frugal while in college && working internships.. still have quite a bit to get the jobs we have

    • Jade

      Yes, a lot of people do not take student loans into account. I break even every month because student loans take the last of any savings I would have each month. Food and rent is not cheap and with no help from the gov’t it’s still a struggle in the middle class.

      • Jade

        Sorry wrong post

  18. Pat

    I couldn;t get it to work on my computer using chrome. Thank you for sharing.

    • Collin (Mrs. Hip)

      You’re welcome Pat! Are you able to try it in a different browser?

  19. Pat

    I was supporting two disabled brothers (my mother got to old so they moved in with me) and now I am supporting my three grand kids (and my daughter just showed up but don’t know for how long). I couldn’t survive on one salary without Collin and other Hip2Save staff. Thanks to all of you from the bottom of my heart.

  20. Pat

    I was on state aid for 90 days and I hated it when I was raising my daughter. Took two part time jobs that I took my daughter to work with me (and my full time job with the state) and said goodbye to state aid. LOL The only state aid we are on is Medicaid and that is because my brother has been disabled since he was in grade school so he never worked and doesn’t make enough SSI to pay his medical even with medicare. If I add him to my insurance I can’t afford to feed us all even with Hip2Save. LOL I just save for everything we need. It took me three years to save the $3000 to patch the leaking roof. They said I have about 8 years before I have to replace it all so I am saving for that now. Still have to patch the ceiling drywall where it was leaking but that will be another tax refund check………. We were so happy not having buckets in the dining room when it rained that we splurged and BBQ hotdogs. LOL It is the little things that make you happy………..

    • Raedev

      That’s my plans too. Next tax return, new roof for me! πŸ™‚ I hope anyways

  21. dougcitizen

    I have a problem. I earn around $100,000 a year but I am not able to move the slider enough to the right to be able to select my wage. The max it shows is $66,560 and that’s if I select two adults and three kids! I am single so the slider maxes at way less than that.

    With the slider not working properly, I can’t receive see if I am earning a living wage or not.

    Is this a problem with the website that I am not able to move the slider enough to see this?

    • Collin (Mrs. Hip)

      Hmm, are you on a mobile device? If not, maybe check in a different browser. Hope this helps!

    • tessa

      Well..if you put in your family demographic and push the slider all the way to the right, even if the amount it allows is less than $100,000…are all the states light green in color? The same green that is on the right side of the slider? If so (and I am sure they are) you are making a living wage at an amount LESS than what you actually make. Therefore, isn’t it realistic to assume you would be making a living wage at more?

      But if you had done that then you wouldn’t have been able to post that you make $100,000….

  22. Katiria

    I didn’t need this chart to confirm what I already knew. We don’t make enough a week but yet we don’t qualify for Gov assistance so we have to muddle through.

  23. Raedev

    I know what you mean Katiria. I’ve been on both sides of that fence so to speak.

  24. MARY

    I personally hate when people depend on benefit. I always feel shy applying for any of them. (even when I was eligible) I have never received any sort of benefits. (except scholarship at school). Also, I hate, I just hate it, when people hide their cash income and get lots of money from government at the end of the year. If you want to have a good future, living in your dream house, or working 40 hours per week like a normal person does. GO TO SCHOOL! GET EDUCATION! I don’t work, bcoz I will graduate this year! I can’t wait to get a job and help those people who leave comments like “any help would be appreciated”. Right now, I can proudly say that I have never received benefits, they made our family strong. It pushes you to step up faster! When you are eligible for benefits like medicaid, footstamps or the annual tex return, it will be hard to step up! They tie themselves to you!


    don’t waste your time by making 7/hourly, when you can make $70/hourly. I wasted a year for making 7.5.hourly. I really regret for those days, I lost my time… don’t lose yours! Go to school!

  25. Raedev

    What is your profession Mary? Sounds really exciting!! πŸ™‚

    • MARY


      • Raedev

        Wow awesome!☺

  26. Lisa

    I have 7 children and did not even see this option on the site, LOL!!! All I know is that GOD provides. I’ve always been a SAHM, but only by God’s grace. Collin, your site is sooooooo helpful to me as a money-saving momma!

    • Collin (Mrs. Hip)

      SO happy to help Lisa! You’re most welcome!

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