Moving to the United States can be exciting - and stressful. It may be tempting to tour, buy brands and beauty products that you did not have at home, or “have some fun”. A wiser idea would be to calculate expenses, save and delay your fun.
Rent for two-bedroom apartment costs about $1,200 in large cities and down to $800 or less in the smaller ones. You can shelve this by looking for shared accommodation. The most popular websites for finding shared accommodation in the United States are Craigslist and local newspapers. You can also find ads on billboards, such as in the local library, university or stores. Roommate Locator is a helpful site that helps you find shared accommodation around the world.
An estimated monthly food bill in the United States can run to as high as $300. Of course, this depends on how many family members you feed, as well as on the groceries you tend to buy. To cut this bill, you’d want to consider cooking your own foods, buying store brands, visiting cheaper stores, and frequenting markets where you can buy raw produce and frozen chicken for cheaper.
From lawyers to the notary to a social worker, counselor, maintenance help and others, you’ll need a lot of this assistance in the beginning. Seek out contacts who may help you for free.
Utilities include electricity, cooking gas, and water. Price ranges around $100, but varies by region. Some American states have harsher and longer winters where you’ll need to spend more on heat. In others, you’ll spend more on air conditioning (or sacrifice and buy fans).
You may be able to lower bills by switching suppliers. Use a price comparison web like Power2Switch to find your cheapest suppliers.
In some cities, you have no option but to buy a car. Typical down payment costs $300 if you buy a decent car on loan. Car insurance varies a lot by driving record and place you live, while the price of gas varies on your travel. If you live in a larger city, you may want to opt for its reliable and smooth transportation system to slash costs. Bus and metro tend to have deals. Find more information on Metro Reduced Fares.
For travel between cities, the bus is cheaper than the train. Some large bus companies such as Megabus, Peter Pan, and Greyhound may be uncomfortable and slow, but they’re economical. Check CheckMyBus.com to compare prices. If you prefer to fly, you can whittle the price by either booking ahead or taking your chance with last-minute deals.
For short trips, ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft are cheaper than taxis.
The Bottom Line
If you can, put aside a fraction of your wages each month. This is especially important if you’re starting your own business or are under-employed. The Ria Blog suggests starting a savings club where nine or so friends save $100 each week and where you use a lottery system for one member to withdraw the total as a loan, at the end of the month. This may not be a bad idea if you find others willing to join you.