How Much Rent Can I Afford on My Hourly Pay?

The basic target rent formula that landlord’s use is annual before-tax income divided by 40. When you are on a straight salary estimating the number is easy. However, if your are getting paid hourly, budgeting your maximum affordable rent is a bit more complicated and you have to factor in both your hours and hourly pay rate.  We have built a simple chart below that does the calculation for you at various hourly pay rates and weekly hours. This rough tool is based on the same landlord’s affordability formula: annual before-tax income divided by 40. (Note: We used in our chart a 50-week year, instead of 52 weeks, to leave a little margin of safety.)

You can also use our Affordable Rent Calculator if you want to estimate your target rent from your salary or your after-tax income, even if your income varies week by week. That calculator also estimates your utilities and amount you need to save before move.

The yellow highlighted cells below show an example of how to use the chart for someone working 35 hours a week at $20 an hour. You can also use the chart to quickly estimate your target rent if you are looking with a roommate who works different hours at different rate, by adding up each person’s target rent numbers.

hourly rent target

When you budget your actual expenses, keep in mind that you also need to plan for utilities (estimate at 20% of rent*, or $100 a month, whichever is higher) and all your other expenses (car loan, car insurance, student loan, cell phone, commuting, food, clothing, entertainment, etc.) In addition, you need to plan to save at least 3 times your target rent before your move, to cover first month’s rent, one month security deposit, other moving related costs and some furniture.

* If you live in a high-rent city (for example, NYC, Chicago, LA, SF) estimate utilities at 10% of rent.

Related Posts

Author My First Apartment
MFA Editors

Leave a Comment

Comments (83)

  1. Capucine Duncan

    I really need help!

    I live in Chicago,IL. My goal is for me, bf, and son to have our own apartment, preferably two bed 1 bath. I just started working at a place where I make 16/hr , 40 hours a week. My bf makes 11.50/hr and will probably drop to part time to watch our child. As far as expenses will pay 50 per pay period on health insurance, 28 a week on bus fare and my bf pays 100 on our mobile bill and pays his student loans every month. Based off that could you tell me how much will we be able to afford in rent?

  2. morgan badd

    Hi , guys I currently live in Michigan bring home 12.85 get paid every 2 weeks im contigent but I chose to work everyday sometimes 5 12hr shifts an 2 8hrs whats the max rent I can afford im think 600 – 650?

    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Morgan,
      If you work at least 40 hours a week, you should be able to afford $600-650 rent, unless you have unusually heavy other fixed expenses (car, credit cards, loans, etc.). We like to see at least $200 a week left for all your other living expenses and savings, after deducting from your take-home pay rent, utilities and all fixed expenses. Do the math with your actual expenses and see what it shows. Good luck!

  3. Zoe


    I just got a new job and I will be getting paid $20.90 per hour and I will be working 40 hours a week. I currently have a cellphone bill which is 100, and credit card bill which is 80, and 114 for a monthly metro card. Will I be able to rent an apartment in Brooklyn with the income that I will soon make?Thanks

    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Zoe,
      According to the chart on the post, you max. rent is just over $1,000 a month. You will not be able to get your own place in Brooklyn, but everyone starts out with a roommate share, anyway. NYC has high taxes, so we estimated your tax bite at 25% of income. See a rough budget below. If you go down to $200 a week for your other living expenses, you could go up another $250 or so in rent to about $1,250. Best way to afford living in a high cost city like NYC and have a great first apartment experience is make friends with people in your income bracket, take advantage of all the free and cheap events and entertainment options, and learn to cook. Eating out is budget killer. Good luck!
      Zoe’s Budget:
      Hours 40
      Pay/hr $20.90
      Total/yr (50 wks paid) $41,800
      Est. taxes 25% ($10,450)
      After tax take-home – $31,350
      Per month take-home $2,613
      Max. rent -$1,000
      Utilities (10% of rent -high rent market) -$100
      Metro Card -$114
      Phone -$100
      Credit card -$80
      Cash after fixed exp. $1,219
      Per week (30 day month) $284

  4. Nikki


    I’m transitioning into a new career of which I’ll be making $16.06 per hour and will be paid biweekly. I have a car payment of about $232 and the insurance is $160. I’ve been considering an apartment that states rent would be about $625 per month with a one time deposit of $750. Would I be able to afford this? What could I expect to spend on clothes, food, renting insurance, etc? Would be first time on my own.

  5. Lisa

    Hello, I’m trying to see if I can afford to move out and how long it’ll take until I can. I make $13.50/hour full time and get paid weekly. My phone bill is about $90/month, food $150/month, student loans $282/month (at the moment, might go up to around $400 in a yr or two), gas for my car $60/month. These are all rough estimates, could be off by a few bucks. No car note or insurance.

  6. Lori

    Hello! Moving to Nashville and will be making $17hr. I won’t have a car payment, but will pay for gas. Maybe a phone bill $100 a month. How much can I afford for a one bd w/enough to spare for utilities? Thanks! :)

    • Danielle Ruggiero

      how many hours a week will you be working? If 40, you can afford about 800-850. 850 being your max :)

  7. Mariah Davis

    Hi, I recently received a raise and make 18.10 an hr. I have a car payment of $450, insurance $190. What is the highest rent I can afford? Am I even able to move out and still live comfortably?

    • Keya

      Sheesh that car note & insurance is a big load. If you work 40hrs per week, that’s about $2,896/month before taxes. If you pay your car note & insurance plus maybe a $700 rent that would leave you with about $1550 per month left over for personal use. If you move into an apt you may not have to worry about utilities. Factor in phone bill and maybe $100-150 per month on food & you’re in good shape. I also claim more dependents on W4 so federal isn’t taken out, but that’s personal preference depending on whether you’d like more money in checks or prefer a big refund. If you have any kids you won’t owe back taxes by claiming excessive dependents either. Just some tips on getting more out your pay check. Good luck!

  8. Larry

    Hello I make $13 an hour 40 hrs a week
    I don’t have to any car bills or cellphone bills
    My girlfriend would be living with me and would be paying all our groceries
    Can I get an apartment ?

  9. Jenny

    Hi guys, I have a question regarding the estimator showed above. I go to college and I earn $10.75 per week. My expenses are limited to grocery shopping (around $60 monthly) and my $15 cellphone bill. Other expenses are paid around every (3-4 months). My question is this, if I live in a shared house with 3/4 other people and we share expenses, would it be a wise idea to pay a $450 rent + utilities?

    • Kitsune Miko

      I’m going to go out on a limb and assume you meant $10.75/hour, because earning $10.75 per week wouldn’t even cover your grocery bill. However, it’s hard to give you an answer because we don’t know how many hours per week you get. Refer to the chart above (use the $10/hour listing) and if the hours you get are not exact, round to the nearest number on the chart (lower is better).

      From the sounds of it though, you might make enough to cover it, because part time work is usually around 20-25 hours per week. Based on the chart, that would mean a maximum of $313 for rent. You might be able to go a little bit higher, but it would be a better idea to save that for emergency expenses instead.

      The chart does not take into account utility expenses, but the rule of thumb is 20% of your rent amount or $100, whichever’s higher (10% in high rent areas like NYC). 20% of 313 is 62.60, so the $100 amount would be the working number for budgeting. Added to the rent amount, that’s $413 per month for rent and utility costs.

    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Jenny,
      Hope you saw Kitsune Miko’s earlier advice. Here’s our take on your situation.
      Assuming you make $10.75 an hour and work 20 hours week, you cannot afford $450 a month rent. See below Budget A. However, at 30 hours or more you could make it. Your cell phone looks low, so you are probably on your parents’ plan, which is a great savings. You don’t have any car/commuting to work expenses, so we assume you walk or bike. Your grocery/food/laundry expenses will be much higher when you live on your own, so estimate $50-$75 a week, if you cook at home. You would have to live frugally but you should be able to manage. Good luck!
      Jenny’s Budget A:
      Hours 20
      Pay/hr $10.75
      Total/yr (50 wks paid) $10,750
      Est. taxes 15% ($1,613)
      After tax take-home – $9,138
      Per month take-home $761
      Max. rent -$450
      Utilities Est. -$50
      Phone -$15
      Groceries/laundry -$200
      Cash after fixed exp. $46
      Per week (30 day month) $11
      Jenny’s Budget B:
      Hours 30
      Pay/hr $10.75
      Total/yr (50 wks paid) $16,125
      Est. taxes 15% ($2,419)
      After tax take-home – $13,706
      Per month take-home $1,142
      Max. rent -$450
      Utilities Est. -$50
      Phone -$15
      Groceries/laundry -$300
      Cash after fixed exp. $327
      Per week (30 day month) $76

  10. Joy

    I will be making $25/hr for an internship in Chicago. I will be taking the train to/from work as I do not have a car. I will be working 40 hours a week, have no phone bill, and have a cat to provide for. What are my options in terms of monthly rent?

    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Joy,
      Yours is one of the rare cases where you could reasonable afford the max. rent on our chart, or $1,250, and still be able to pay all your other living expenses, including entertainment, plus put a fair amount into savings. However, you maybe able to find a place that you love for less in Chicago, giving you even more flexibility. Good luck!

  11. Ana

    Hello guys! Would love some help! I make around $455 biweekly, around 900 monthly, would I be able to afford a rent of $525?

    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Ana,
      The answer is no. After rent and utilities you’ll have less than $300 a month for commuting to work, food, clothing and all other living expenses. If you can stay where you are, save money and wait to move until your income improves. If you must move, look for a max. $300 roommate share. Good luck!

  12. Danielle Ruggiero

    Hi, could you help me out?
    I make 15/hr working full time. I want to move out with my girlfriend on one income. I’m looking to move near Framingham, MA if that helps. I currently don’t have any car payments, although I do have a car. I pay about 100$ in bills like phone and credit card a month. Could I afford 800 safely if it includes things? What about 700, that includes nothing? It would be just us two. I’m really worried about not having enough money to afford everything to move out :(

    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Danielle,
      As you saw on the chart in the post, at 40 hours/week and $15/hour, your max. formula rent is $750. Let’s see how that looks on a budget worksheet below.
      As long as you don’t have car payment, you should be ok in the $700 range, but is does not look much margin for error. If your car goes, it will be tough, but maybe your GF will be able to pitch in. Good luck!
      Danielle’s Budget:
      Hours 40
      Pay/hr $15.00
      Total/yr (50 wks paid) $30,000
      Est. taxes 20% ($6,000)
      After tax take-home – $24,000

      Per month take-home $2,000
      Max. rent -$750
      Utilities (20% of rent) -$150
      Phone & credit cards -$100
      Cash after fixed exp. $1,000
      Per week $250

      • Danielle Ruggiero

        awesome, thanks so much :) I love this website so much, I’ve read every single article on it within the last three years. Keep it up, I love it and you guys :)

  13. Shena Montoya

    Hi I make 14. 00 and I work 20 hours a week will I be able to find a apt to rent

    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Shena,
      You probably take home about $1,000 a month. Can you find a place for around $350 a month? That’s most you could reasonably afford. Good luck!

  14. Nadia

    I’m full time making 12.74 hourly and have a 4 year old daughter. I’m trying to move along with my roommate who makes way more than me, 20 something an hour. What price range should we look for and if I decide to look for just me and my daughter, what should I like for?

    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Nadia,
      Your max rent from our chart at $12/hr. and 40 hours/week is $600. In your case that would be really pushing it because you also have a child and they cost a lot of money. If you have to pay for daycare, you probably cannot afford your own place. Your roommate at $20/hr and 40 hours/week could go as high as $1,000 in rent. Try to get something in that $1,000, so max. you would pay is $500. If you roomie wants to go higher, they should pick up the extra rent. Good luck!

  15. Kelsey

    I work full time and i get paid $15/hour, would i be able to afford a one bedroom apartment that is $800, would i need to get a roommate or could i do it alone?

    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Kelsey,
      $800 is pushing it, but if you work a full 40 hours a week and have no other fixed costs and know how to live frugally, you should be able to do it. Why don’t you see if for a little more you can get a 2BR and share the cost with a roommate. You’d be less stressed and able to save some money. Good luck!

    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Ben,
      Of course it is, if your pay per hour is high enough. Even if you make minimum wage, you should be able to get a roommate share somewhere, although it may not be an area or situation that is ideal for a long term. Good luck!

  16. Angelica

    I make 10.50 an hour and i get payed every two weeks and i do about 49 Hours per week .i found a apartment for 800 a month do yoi think i could afford it

    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Angelica,
      $800 is too high by about $200. If you eyeball the chart at $11/45 hour/wk, the max. rent is $619. Don’t overextend on rent, consider a roommate share to start with that will allow you to save money and move to your dream place in a year or two. Good luck!

  17. Clara

    Hi. I am currently making $20/hr and I am offered an apartment with utilities included for $700/month in los angeles. I do have loans and car insurance but my car is paid. Im going to be living on my own so i want to make sure that I am making the right move. Please help me by informing me if I should take this opportunity?

    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Clara,
      As you can see on the post at 35 hours a week, your max. rent is $875, so $700 that includes utilities is well within your means. You need to run the numbers anyway just to make sure, because you say you have loans and we have no information on the size of those payments. Add up your take-home pay for the last month, deduct the rent and all your other monthly bills and see whats left. We like to see at least $200 a week for your other living costs. Good luck!

  18. Jan

    Hi i get paid $10 per hour, and I work 40 hours a week. I am looking at a $560 apartment. I don’t pay any bills right now. Could you please go in depth as to how much I could afford on an apartment.

    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Jan,
      You have no bill to pay? Will someone continue paying your bills after you move? Commuting to work, phone, credit cards, etc.? What will happen when they stop paying your bills? How much do you have in savings? Should be a lot, since you work and have no expenses! Somehow all this sounds unrealistic to us. Before you jump to rent, why don’t you at least write down where your cash went last couple of months. We suspect you’ll find a bunch of expenses you’ll have to pay, in addition to rent after you move. That “budget” tell you if you can afford the apartment. Good luck!

      Jan’s Budget:
      Hours 40
      Pay/hr $10.00
      Total/yr (50 wks paid) $20,000
      Est. taxes 15% ($3,000)
      After tax take-home – $17,000

      Per month take-home $1,417
      Max. rent -$560
      Utilities (20% of rent) -$112
      Car Payment $0
      Car insurance $0
      Phone $0
      Student Loan $0
      Cash after fixed exp. $745
      Per week (30-day month) $174

  19. Stefania

    Hello, I make 9.00 an hour, i work everyday 5am-12pm except Wednesday.So I get a little over 40 hours a week guaranteed plus tips which is only like $15 a day ( I’m a cashier) and was wondering if I could afford a efficiency apartment for 430 a month & only pay electricity, which will probably only be like 60-70 a month at the most. Thank you.

    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Stephania,
      Our chart says that you should be able afford $450 in rent, even without your tip income that you should save for an emergency fund. However, you must have some expenses. How do you get to work? Do you have a phone? Any credit card bills? Those expenses have to be paid before you even get to paying for food and clothing. Another way to look at the affordability is to look at how much you are saving each month right now or spending in totally discretionary items. Do those things add up to $500 a month and could cover your rent? if yes, you could move. Good luck!

      Stephania’s Budget:
      Hours 40
      Pay/hr $9.00
      Total/yr (50 wks paid) $18,000
      Est. taxes 15% ($2,700)
      After tax take-home – $15,300

      Per month take-home $1,275
      Max. rent -$430
      Utilities (20% of rent) -$70
      Car Payment ?
      Car insurance ?
      Phone ?
      Credit cards ?
      Cash after fixed exp. $775
      Per week (30-day month) $181

  20. Yamilka Gonzalez

    Hello, I make 9.00 an hour, So I get a little over 40 hours a week guaranteed plus tips which is only like $15 a day ( I’m a cashier) and was wondering if I could afford a efficiency apartment for 430 a month & only pay electricity, which will probably only be like 60-70 a month at the most. Thank you.

  21. Vanne

    I have two jobs my day job pays 14 hr I work 40 hours a week and the other one is full time as well I got paid 13 hr what price would I be able to afford for rent.

    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Vanne,
      Do you really work 80 hours a week and want to commit to working those hours continuously. We would recommend that you get an apartment that you can afford with just one full time job, or $700 that you could afford on your $14/40 hours/wk job. If that rent range is not doable in your market, you could go a little higher, but that will increase the stress in your life, knowing that you must work both jobs, no matter what. Good luck!

  22. saira

    Hello, just need help on estimating a good rate for rent. I make $15 an hour and work 37.5 hours a week getting paid weekly. I pay for my car note ($290.83), car insurance ($219.17), phone bill (about $96), gas ($25 weekly), as of right now I’m paying medical bills monthly but hopefully soon I can pay those off and save more money. If I ever move out I can imagine I’d have to include gas, water, sewer, electricity, groceries, cable and internet, etc etc. Would I able to able to move out and live comfortably?

  23. Kina

    I make $16/hr biweekly and work 40 hours a week. My monthly bills include my cell phone bill $113, insurance $30 (I split that with my family), gas for car $35, and my groceries and toiletries usually come up to $150. It’s just me and I want to know if I would be able to afford moving out on my own with my income?

    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Kina,
      Based on our rent chart, your max is $800. Using that number in your budget and adding your other expenses, we estimate that you’d still have $200+ a week for all your other expenses. So, if you can get a place for $800 or less, you should be able to manage it. Good luck!
      Kina’s Budget:
      Hours 40
      Pay/hr $16.00
      Total/yr (50 wks paid) $32,000
      Est. taxes 20% ($6,400)
      After tax take-home – $25,600

      Per month take-home $2,133
      Max. rent -$800
      Utilities (20% of rent) -$160
      Gas -$35
      Car insurance -$30
      Phone -$113
      Groceries/toiletries -$150
      Cash after fixed exp. $845
      Per week $211

  24. Nick toups

    I make 13 am hour 40 plus hrs a week. And once a month I usually get a 175 dollar bonus it could change alittle but with the bonus. But I pay a total of 85 dollars for my car and phone bills. And my girl friends makes 9 dollars an hr 35 hrs a week. Could you help us out alittle?

  25. Shanika

    Hi im 24 and i get paid 9.00 hourly 27hours a week im a student and im trying to rent an apartment for 590 month will i be able to afford this or get approved with is pay?

  26. Kimberly

    Hi, I’m about to rent an studio for 650 a month with everything included and is less than 5 minutes walking to my job. I get paid biweekly, 8.38 hourly and every monday of the month we get tips which i use to pay my phone, netflix, health insurance, internet and some food. I could approximately make 35-40 a week and sometimes I do 10-15 hours overtime. I would like to know if Im gonna make a good decision by renting this apartment based on my income and expenses.

    • Maggie

      Kimberly, you want to budget for the low weeks. If you make 8.35/hr@35hr/week x 4 weeks/month -1/3 (taxes) take home is $850 this would leave you $200 for food/renters insturance/savings/shopping/misc. Now some months you will have extra but the $200 do you think that’s enough? The more you can save now the better off you will be in the long run

  27. Craig

    Hello, I’m moving to Dallas, TX. I plan to work a full-time job that pays $13 per hour, 40 hours per week as a lockbox/document processor for Citigroup. As well as work a part time job with Instacart. I’m not sure what the pay for Instacart is but I’d say $12 per hour and 15 hours per week. I’ve been calculating ALL day and I don’t think I can afford a studio apartment, not a safe one anyway :). I have bad work history of getting fired (once) and quitting (twice). I’ve been out of work for 4 months, am a college student (not good either b/c i transferred multiple times making more debt) graduate end of this year with a certificate in illustration. I did an example, not sure exact percentages: took 20% taxes, 12% health/medical insurance (job offered insurance) & 10% for donation organization from my weekly check for the full time job. For the part time job I didn’t take out the 12% b/c most part-time jobs don’t offer it.

    full-time $15,683.20/year + part-time $6,552/year = $22,235.20/year

    An apartment in Dallas currently has a studio apartment for $695 per month, cable ready (not sure what that means), I don’t see any utilities included, nor internet.

    rent: $695+ internet, electricity, water, & gas = $850/month
    car (insurance, note & gas): $588/month
    cell phone: $32.54/month (tracfone, budget talking/texting :)
    Food: $250/month
    Miscellaneous (clothes, hair, car repairs…): $150/month
    Student loans (still in college not sure): $298/month
    TOTAL: $2,168.54/month

    $22,235.20/year is $1,852.93/month, I can’t afford this. :( unless I calculated wrong. I hope theres Illustration jobs that pay $20/hour there when I graduate. I don’t see any now, at least not any that don’t include graphic design.

    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Craig,
      According to our hourly pay rent formula, you should be able to afford $650 in rent on just your “day job”, so $695 is not that much of a reach. Where your budget gets blown up is that $588 a month in car expenses. We suspect that you have destroyed your credit rating during all your job and school changes and are paying top dollar for car loan interest and car insurance.
      We did a rough budget for you below using 20% for taxes, etc. deductions. You are probably a little too high with your estimates. Anyway, even with that it’s still too tight for that studio.
      Why don’t you take this year to get back on track. Get a roommate share. Stay in your job. Get your credit rating up. Trade down to a more affordable car. Refinance your student loans after your credit score is better. Use that second job to build a savings account. When 2018 rolls around you’ll be in a good shape to get your own place. Let us know how it goes. Good luck!
      Craig’s Budget:
      Hours 40
      Pay/hr $13.00
      Total/yr (50 wks paid) $26,000
      Est. taxes 20% ($5,200)
      After tax take-home – $20,800
      Hours 15
      Pay/hr $12.00
      Total/yr (50 wks paid) $9,000
      Est. taxes 20% ($1,800)
      After tax take-home – GF $7,200

      Per month take-home $2,333
      Max. rent -$695
      Utilities (20% of rent) -$139
      Car Payment/ insurance/gas -$588
      Phone -$32
      Food -$250
      Misc. -$150
      Student Loan -$298
      Cash after fixed exp. $181
      Per week $45

  28. Teya

    Hello I make 15 a hour 40 hours a week I was wondering would I be ok with a 2 bedroom (900) rent everything included but electric I have a 2 year old I also do hair on the side bringing home 100 in 3 days

    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Teya,
      Our formula shows that on your pay your max. rent is $750, so $900 is pushing it. Is a 2br absolutely necessary or could you make do with a 1br to start with? We usually do not include the side jobs in rent calculations because those things can change but your rent does not. Use the money you make from your hair job to start an emergency fund.
      Not knowing what other fixed expenses you have (car payments, credit cards, etc.) it’s not possible to estimate how much of a risk would that $900 rent pose, but try not to get into a stressful financial situation. Being a single mom with a full time job is tough enough. Good luck!

  29. TY

    Great chart! My question is this. I make 20/hr but 4 is put away for retirement. My hours are 40-50+ per week. I only get paid once a month. It comes halfway through the month plus I get an advance for the last half of the month. My girlfriend is also going to move with me. She makes 13/hr that will be moving to 15 in a couple months. she also works about 35-40 hrs/ per week and works one day on the weekend as a server and makes about 150 cash. what would you recommend as a price range for apartments? We live in Montgomery County which is one of the richest county’s in United States I believe so even really crappy apartments are expensive enough.

    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Ty,
      You can calculate your max. rents separately and then add them up for your combined maximum. So, if you look at 40 hours at $16 for you, it’s $800 a month rent. Your GF will make $15 and work 35 hours, with max. rent of $656. Maximum total rent for you two is $1,456. That said, you do not need to go to the maximum, leave yourselves a little leeway for any job hick-ups. Also, try to save the extra you make on bigger weeks and weekend gigs. Good luck!

  30. TC

    hi i make $13.75 an hour 40 hours a week. i wanted to know if i could afford a apartment $807 a month i would have to pay electric and gas heat only. my other expenses are 75 for car insurance a month and 25 for phone bill a month. as well as food. will i be ok?

    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi TC,
      Our formula max. rent for you is about $675, so $807 is pushing it. However, your other monthly bills are on the low end, so you probably could make it. Add up your after-tax take-home pay for the last month, deduct the rent, deduct about $150 for utilities and all your other monthly bills. If you still have at least $200 a week left for food, commuting, clothing, entertainment and savings, you should be OK. Let us know how your calculation works out. Good luck!

  31. Jose

    Hello everyone,

    I recently picked up a position for 55k yearly. Around $26.50 hourly (gross income) will I be able to live comfortably in a Suburb for 1,100 monthly rent? I have to pay insurance, student loans, utilities, phone, benefits, *No car payment*. Will I be able to live an ok lifestyle?


    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Affordable Rent Calculator

      Click below to open calculator.
      Hi Jose,
      Did you see our Affordable Rent Calculator. It shows that at your salary, with typical expenses, your max. rent is $1,375, so $1,100 should be well withing your means. But only way you can really tell is to do a budget that starts with your take-home pay, deduct rent, about $200-$250, depending on where you live, for utilities (including cell phone), your loan payments, and all monthly fixed expenses. If you end up with $1,000 or so left a month you should be able to save some money and still have OK lifestyle. One piece of advice: learn to cook. You’ll have a lot more money for fun if you don’t spend it all on eating out. Good luck!

      Annual salary $55,000
      Affordable Monthly Rent: $1,375
      Estimated Utilities: $275
      Maximum Affordable Housing Expense: $1,650
      Target Savings To Move Out: $4,125

  32. Eric

    So what about 2 people getting a place? I know that complicates things heavily, different hours and all… but assuming they got the same number of hours, and both worked at 8$ an hour, can I simply follow the price guide for 16$ an hour?

    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Eric,
      The simplest way two roommates can figure out combined rent is to look each roommate’s number in the chart separately and then add up the two rent targets.
      If the rates are same, like in your case, you can also add the hours up and get the rent target that way. Good luck!

  33. tyrye jenkins

    Hello, I make 10.50 an hour 40 hours a week get paid every 2 weeks. I’m looking for a one bedroom apartment.My car insurance is 60 every month phone bill 150 and credit bill is 25 a month.

  34. Researcher


    I live in Texas and recently got a job paying $18/hr and will be working a minimum of 40 hr/wk. Paychecks are bi-weekly with a calculated annual gross salary of $37,440. (Side Note: With the nature of my job I expect to work overtime at 50-55 hr/wk from February to July which will give me extra money to save.)

    I am a single person looking at 1 bedroom apartments on the west side of Dallas that are $700 to $800 a month, but all the apartments that can accommodate for my disability and are within 30 minutes to work are $900-950 excluding utilities. It should be noted that I do have student loan to consider along with of course various insurances and I need to move within two weeks.

    Needing to settle my family’s peace of mind,

    • Researcher

      Will I be able to live in the $900 to $950 a month with added utilities for the year while I look for another during that time?

    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Researcher,
      Based on your income, our formula says that your max. rent is $936 or $37,440/40. Not knowing how much your student loans are, it’s hard to know if $900 rent is doable. Do the calculation starting with your take-home income, deduct rent and maybe $150 utilities, your loans, your car cost and see what you have left. If you have couple of hundred left each week for other living expenses, you should be OK, particularly in light of your upcoming overtime that you can bank for an emergency fund.
      Because you have to also deal with accommodating a disability, you may have to spend that $900 anyway, even if it means skimping on other expenses. Your heavy overtime opportunity makes even that less risky. Good luck!

  35. Desi

    I have no car payment, no debt and my work pays for me to travel back and forth. I make 13.09 a month at my job I just started and have a chance at a raise in 4 months. What would you suggest for someone who lives in a high rent area. For a apartment in the Beaverton area that is safe the rent is going to be 1,100( this includes water,sewer,garbage) I also have a large savings. What would you suggest ? Getting a roommate isn’t an option for me either.

    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Desi,
      If you work 40 hour week, at $13 an hour, you could afford a place up to $650 a month. $1,100 is far above your means. In your case, with savings and no other bills, maybe you could stretch the rent to $750, but anything more would be precarious. If moving from your current place is a must, roommate share is your best option. Roommate share is also flexible option. If things don’t work out you can move on. The fact that you have large savings is great, but do not waste your savings on rent on an apartment you cannot afford. Good luck!

  36. Bahtia

    I get paid 12.39 a hour but I only work 20 hours a week , I want a two bedroom apartment b/c I have a child . What should I be looking for

    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Bahtia,
      If you look at the chart on this post
      at $12 and 20 hours you can only afford $300 a month rent. That will not get you a 2BR place anywhere we know. Now, many babies share a room with a parent and grow up to be perfectly normal people. How important it is for you to move? Maybe you should try to get more hours or boost your pay before you move. If you can work 40 hours, then you could maybe afford a 1 BR place, but your childcare cost would go up. Have you checked with social services if you’d be eligible for some help with rent, because you have a child? Good luck!

  37. Cruz

    Hello! This is super helpful considering I am planning on moving into a studio apartment soon. Would you be able to break it down for me ? I am currently getting paid 13.50 working about 40-50 hour a week. (And almost getting a second job which pays about 11/12 an hour, 36 hours a week.) Thanks!

  38. Lynn

    Hello! I had my costs all planned out then saw this chart, if I’m making $9 an hour and work for 30 a week and renting a place for $1000 a month (Splitting the cost with a room mate, say they have the same pay; maybe a little more) and say we were to split costs such as furniture, groceries, internet, gas, heat, whatever apartments don’t cover + only 1 car to make payments on, and if I had 1-2 years worth of rent saved- would it be a good decision to get my first apartment? And what expenses would add up? Thanks! Trying to figure out if this would be a good situation or not

    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Lynn,
      $500 a month rent is steep on your income. Of course, if you have 1-2 years of rent saved, you could make it, but we hate to see you use your savings on rent. Our formula on the rent chart ( says you should not spend more than $338, so with typical expenses you’ll be pulling couple of thousand a year from your savings for rent. And when the savings run out where are you then? Here’s what your numbers looks like at $500 rent. We’d like you to boost your hours or pay rate so you can comfortable afford to move out before you do it. Good luck!
      Lynn’s Budget:
      Hours 30
      Pay/hr $9.00
      Total/yr (50 wks paid) $13,500
      Est. taxes 10% ($1,350)
      After tax take-home – $12,150

      Per month take-home $1,013
      Rent -$500
      Utilities (20% of rent) -$100
      Cash after fixed exp. $413
      Per week $103

  39. James C. Rives


    I’m working 2 jobs currently– both part time. One pays $12/hr for 25/week and the other is $7.75 for around 15-20/hrs a week (I’m new and it’s retail). I was wondering how to accurately portray my income, given my expenses. I have a $50 phone bill every month, $150 loan interest payment with full loan payments starting in November. My grocery expense is generally $80-140 a month, given I’m 22 and still live at home with my parents so we share everything. I don’t think it’s accurate to add my incomes and hours to say I make $19.75 for 45 hour work weeks, so how would I best combine them to accurately see what I can afford? By my calculations, adding up my potential incomes separately, I’d be making around $1800 a month gross and assumably around $1400 net.

    • James C. Rives

      After reviewing a different source specifically made to calculate multiple hourly incomes, I’ve discovered that it averages out to $10.11/hr for a 45 hour week, making my income approx. $1819/mo gross.

    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi James,
      You have to calculate first the amounts you earn from each job separately and then add them together. 12 X 25 = $300 plus 7.75 X 15 = 116, totaling $416 a week, or $20,800 a 50 week year (we don’t use 52 week year in the calculation, because hourly workers often don’t have paid vacations or sick days.) With our max. rent formula, your rent is $20,800 divided by 40 = $520 a month. If you pay about 15% in taxes, you take home about $17,600 a year or $1,470 a month. Your income calculation is right on.
      To figure your monthly budget:
      Cash in $1,400
      Less: Rent $500, utilities $100, phone $50, loan $150 (in November more??), groceries $140, totaling $940
      Money left for other expenses: $460 (car, commuting to work, clothing, entertainment, etc.)
      You need to decide if that is enough. Your groceries and other supplies will certainly be higher living on your own.
      Good luck!

  40. Scarlett

    Hello I already checked out the chart but do you mind going into depth for me, I want to make sure that I will be able to move out next year. I make 13 dollars an hour and work 40 hours a week. In November I will be getting a raise for 15 dollars and hour and still working my 40 hours.

    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Scarlett,
      After your raise your max. rent target is $750 = $15 * 40 hours * 50 weeks divided by 40. (We use a 50 week year in the calculation because many hourly employees do not get any vacation or paid sick days, so they tend to miss a few days’ pay during the year.) Your minimum savings target is 3*$750=$2,250. If you start right now saving $600 a month, you’ll have $2,400 by the end of the year, enough to move out in the new year. Good luck!

  41. Danielle Ruggiero

    thank you! I’ve been waiting for an hourly paid article for a while.