Moving to the U.S.A. from other countries brings on many changes. There are countless opportunities to make good money, enjoy many different sports, and enjoy American food like hamburgers and barbecue. When moving to the U.S.A., you must also think about different ways to be frugal. The U.S.A could be more expensive than your country, so it is better to be mindful of the other things to help you save money.
1. Get a Library Card
“The card is free, it gets you movies, books, music, language classes, and if the system you’re in doesn’t have what you want, they can interlibrary loan it.” one poster said. The library provides so much to the citizens.
It has free books that you can borrow, and one of the greatest assets is free internet and wifi that you will be able to use. If you want to save on wifi, you can always go to the library to use theirs. You can even obtain cultural passes to museums and events from the library. So the library provides so many things for free. Take advantage by getting a library card.
2. Remember to Tip At Restaurants
“Even though you want to live frugally, if you find yourself eating out, budget in a tip for at least 15%.,” one poster suggests. It is true that in many countries tips are a non-thing. In the U.S.A., servers at restaurants live on tips. It is always good to tip your restaurant servers. Many people also tip for haircuts, tattoos, and food delivery drivers.
3. Taxes Added Onto The Price
The U.S.A. likes to add taxes onto the price of the products. The price you see on the label differs from the price you will pay. If the item says $5, and there is a 5% sales tax, the price will be $5.25. It is best to be aware of these added costs. Many countries worldwide build the tax into the price to make it simple for the consumer, but not in the U.S.A. Be aware.
4. Make Sure Doctors are in Network
“You need to check your insurance; not call the office to confirm they accept it/are in network. You’re responsible for knowing your own insurance policy and associated restrictions.” one poster suggested. Healthcare can cost a lot in the U.S. Insurance companies will deny claims if the doctor is not in the network, which will cost you hand and foot.
Plus make sure to get a doctor as soon as you can; it can take months to get an appointment.
5. Live near Public Transportation
“When you can, select a housing location that doesn’t require you to drive everywhere. In some areas there is good public transit, but most areas fall far short of what you are probably used to.” one poster suggested. It is all about location, location, location. The U.S.A. can be quite spread out in various locations. If you can live near work or a place in which you do not have to commute as far, you save so much time and money.
6. Have Multiple Roommates
Housing can be expensive, especially if you first move to the U.S.A. To help save costs on accommodation, you can get roommates or move into a place with multiple people paying rent. This will help lower your expenses and allow you to save more money.
7. Join a Buy Nothing Facebook Group
These Facebook groups have been popping up everywhere. You can buy, sell, and give away things. One poster suggested, “Join the local Buy Nothing FB group now, and use it the furnish your living space.” Many of the buy nothing groups can help furnish apartments and help those getting rid of stuff. So take advantage of these Facebook groups and live frugally.
8. Buy Non-Brand Foods
Many stores are now creating their own food brands to compete with the major brands. These brands will be quite equal and better on your pocket. So you can look at Aldi, Walmart, or other supermarkets for non-branded food to help lower the cost of groceries.
9. Get a Drying Rack
We all need to wash our clothes, but are dryers really necessary? If you want to be more frugal in the U.S.A., you can buy a drying rack to dry your clothes. In many countries, people use drying racks, which help save on electricity, and you do not need to buy a dryer.
10. Don’t Get Sick
“Oh the biggest frugal secret is this: don’t get sick. Or injured,” one poster suggested. For most people, getting sick or injured is out of our control, and it is an unpleasant feeling. The truth is that healthcare can cost a lot of money from deductibles, co-pays, and network vs. out-of-network doctors and hospitals. Healthcare can make people go bankrupt. So do what you can to stay healthy.
11. Grab Some Good Cash Back Credit Cards
The U.S.A. has many different credit cards out there. Paying them off every month can provide some great benefits. If you are already going to spend the money, you can get some cash back from the credit cards. Some of them also reward users with sign-up bonuses. Many great cash-back credit cards help you earn as you spend.
As you are looking at moving to the U.S.A., these tips can help those looking to save money and live frugally. Many of these tips came from several different Reddit posters that have lived and frugally.
I’m Steve. I’m an English Teacher, traveler, and an avid outdoorsman. If you’d like to comment, ask a question, or simply say hi, leave me a message here, on Twitter (@thefrugalexpat1). Many of my posts have been written to help those in their journey to financial independence. I am on my journey, and as I learn more I hope to share more. And as always, thanks for reading The Frugal Expat.