Life in America: what can and cannot be saved?
The American standard of living and high salaries for certain categories of specialists attract immigrants from all over the world to this country. However, US prices turn out to be an unpleasant surprise for many new arrivals. Renting a home, buying a car, insurance, food - all these costs can be unexpectedly large. In order to better adapt your budget to American life, we tried to highlight a few things that you can save on while living in the US - as well as some things that you shouldn’t save on.
So, it is worth saving on the following things:
1. Paying for phone and mobile internet
The thing that is certainly worth saving is the payment of telephone and mobile Internet. As a rule, large mobile providers offer only unlimited tariff plans, and their price starts at $ 70 per month.
Buying everything in large packages is, in principle, a favorite way to save Americans. Water, juices, washing powder - in terms of unit costs less, and you can use it indefinitely! And mobile communication with the Internet is no exception. However, is it really profitable to use unlimited mobile service and pay so expensive, as if, apart from the Internet, we do not have any other entertainment? After all, we can not hide unused gigabytes in the closet for a rainy day.
To begin, everyone should ask themselves: how much do I need the mobile Internet in order to feel free? This question is easily answered by checking the history and volume of consumed mobile Internet in the phone settings. It can be assumed that if you do not watch TV shows online from your mobile every evening, then the actual consumption of the mobile Internet is much less than the amount for which you pay.
Statistics show that Americans use an average of one to two GB of mobile Internet per month. In this case, the vast majority fit into 4 GB. Only 6% of respondents need more than 10 GB of mobile Internet per month. If you live in a large city (New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago and any other metropolis), this number is significantly reduced due to free Wi-Fi not only in cafes, but also in trains, airports, many buses and even the metro.
In fact, we are so used to overpaying for the unused Internet that we do not even bother to search for more suitable operators. In the meantime, such operators exist. For example, a company Allvoi wireless offers a special tariff plan Unlimited. It includes unlimited calls, sms and mobile Internet throughout America, and the monthly payment is only $ 30. This amount already includes taxes and fees. Internet speed is not inferior to the largest operators, and can slow down only after using the first four GB. However, since, as already mentioned, the overwhelming majority of users in practice consume less traffic, very few people will feel the difference. In addition, you can always go to the Unlimited Plus plan, which provides mobile Internet at the highest speed 4G LTE no less than 8Gb. In practice, you will most likely not spend half of this traffic, but the price, even in this case, is much cheaper than that of other operators - only $ 50 with all taxes and fees.
By the way, Unlimited tariff is not a family plan, which means that every family member can connect to any other plan at will. For example, if it is unusual or uncomfortable for your parents to use the Internet on the phone, they may come up with basic tariff plans without the Internet with a monthly payment of $ 10. Such plans can be useful for children in cases where the phone is used by them only to communicate with parents, and not for entertainment. Some tariff plans offer a bonus in the form of mobile phones as a gift.
Another undoubted advantage of Allvoi Wireless is flexibility. When you subscribe to a mobile plan, you do not need to enter into a contract, and payment is made monthly. Equally favorable conditions apply to traditional home phone service, which, by the way, includes both calls across America, and more than in 40 countries of the world, including Russia and Israel.
Allvoi wireless - This is a mobile service of MasterCall, which was founded in New York more than 25 years ago and today is very well known among the Russian-speaking diaspora. After all, what is especially important for newly arrived emigrants is the only telecommunications company in America that has a support service in Russian.
More information is available at Online or toll free: 1-877-641-5708.
2. Learning English language
Knowledge of language is the key to comfortable living and a prerequisite for a successful career in America. In case you did not have the opportunity to prepare for emigration in advance, or you feel that your preparation is not enough to be fluent in English and understand others, first of all you should think about language courses. Fortunately, there are quite a few opportunities for immigrants to “pull up” their language absolutely free of charge, at least to a level that allows you to freely communicate with others.
Such free English courses for foreigners (English as a second language, ESL) are most often found at the Community College, Adult school or Adult education center. You can find the courses nearest you simply by entering your address. in the appropriate section on the site of the Immigration Services (US Citizenship and Immigration Services). After completing a course at a similar adult school, you can take a test and get a certificate stating that your knowledge is enough for admission to college.
Courses that are held in public libraries are popular among immigrants. In order to get on such courses, it is enough just to come to the information lecture and register. Then the library will send you information about the classes and courses that volunteers conduct. On Online, which brings together the American libraries, you can find the one that is in your city. New York libraries, for example, offer two types of training. ESL Classes are lessons for those who do not speak English from birth. Through these courses, you can improve your level of understanding of speech, as well as speaking and writing skills. Adult Basic Education Classes are courses for people who speak basic English, but want to know it better. Both types of lessons go on for 2 hours, 2 once a week for 10 weeks.
If you have no desire or time to sit at a desk, you can try another popular learning option: communication in a company where everyone has one goal - to learn English. Such meetings are held in different cities, on the website Meetup You can find the most convenient location.
This primarily includes trips to exhibitions, museums and festivals. The pay in American museums can be quite high, so if you want to save money, it’s best to wait for special days when museums don’t charge for entrance fees. Similar “free days” exist in every museum. The ideal option in this case is to check the site of a specific museum that interests you. Free days or preferential visit options should usually be listed there.
But there are special sites where you can find a list of free museums. For example, on the site NYC-arts posted full list free museums of new york as well as days and hours of free visits to other museums. In addition, in the United States there is a common throughout the country Day of museumswhen about 1500 museums in different parts of America open their doors to everyone for free. As for the upcoming festivals and other events in major US cities (San Francisco, New York, Miami, Chicago, Los Angeles), you can find them on ForumDaily website. In this case, the "free" heading is highlighted separately.
4. Household chemicals or food for a large family
A certain type of savings is the purchase of products and goods in wholesale networks. True, some of them, for example, Costco, require a pre-paid membership, which will cost you 60 or 120 dollars a year, depending on the plan you choose. But here there are ways to save on a membership fee. For example, if you apply for a premium membership (120 dollars per year), this gives you an 2% refund for all purchases. Thus, in order to return the amount of 120 dollars paid for a membership by returning, you need to spend about 3000 dollars a year in the network stores, which is about 60 dollars a week.
In addition, you can check the sites Living Social, Deal news и Groupon for discounts on costco membership. Some goods and services can be purchased without even having a membership, for example, so you can pass an eye and hearing test and purchase medicines with discounts. Another way to circumvent a membership fee is to shop using a Costco Cash Card or make purchases online. However, in the latter case, if there is no membership, the price for you will be higher by 5%.
Here you can also use the already mentioned sites to search for discounts - they also indicate the sales of clothing. For example, you can type the word clothes in the search engine site Groupon and choose the region you are interested in - you will be presented with the whole list of available discounts. If you haven’t found offers that suit you, or wait for the nearest sales for too long, you can shop at the networks of inexpensive family clothing stores like Ross, Marshalls and TJMaxx.
6. Furniture and household items
In the US, and especially on the west coast, it is very popular to arrange home sales of personal items, clothes, furniture and other household utensils. Such sales are called garage sale, and they are often arranged before moving to another area, selling a house or inheriting it. Wherein, as observers say, every Saturday and Sunday in the city can take place before 15 such estate sale. On the last day of the sale (as a rule, this is Sunday), you can count on at least the 50% discount, and it happens that you distribute the unsold gift at all.
In short, if you set out to buy exclusively at a discount, life in America can provide you with many such opportunities.
Things you can not save:
1. Getting the profession in demand
One of the main things that you certainly cannot save on is a quality education. Getting it in the United States is often a long process that requires a lot of time and resources. The situation is complicated by the fact that specialists in certain professions (for example, doctors or lawyers) cannot work in the United States in a specialty without confirming their education in America.
The ideal solution for such specialists may be the New York school. Concord rusamwhich helps immigrants and Americans get a wide range of medical specialties in a relatively short time. Here you can not only retrain those who already have medical education, but also get one of the most popular professions in the US from scratch, having only a high school diploma. Most teachers of the school speak Russian, so they are always ready to explain complex material in the student’s native language. Also, to facilitate the perception of educational material, teachers create their own original booklets instead of voluminous textbooks.
The professions offered by the school include:
- Assistant doctor at the reception in medical offices (Clinical Medical Assistant). The training program here takes 6 months and includes courses Electrocardiography Technician (an electrocardiogram removal specialist) and Phlebotomy Technician (a specialist in vein blood sampling). After the end of the program, students go to practice in medical offices. Then they pass national exams, allowing them to continue working in the medical field.
- Specialist in medical billing and coding (Medical Billing and Coding). This profession is very much in demand in the USA, where medical insurance is the basis for providing medical services. The patient, the insurance company and any institution where medical services are provided are connected by the “biller”, that is, the specialist in Medical Billing and Coding. Education here lasts only a month 4, and during this time, students will learn the types of insurance, master the special coding of various medical services and maintain professional medical records. For admission to this course is enough only to school. In addition to theoretical studies, students will practice. At the end of the course, students take an exam and receive a certificate directly from the school. Such specialists are waiting for hospitals, private medical offices, nursing homes, various laboratories and insurance companies.
- nurse (Registered Nurse). Admission to this five-month course (Review Course for NCLEX-RN for holders of a “Nurse” diploma) is held twice a year. A diploma of a doctor, paramedic, pediatric nurse and midwife, obtained in the country of previous residence, will also be suitable for participation in this program. Simultaneously with the retraining for the nurse, students are preparing online for the American exam to obtain a US Registered Nurse (RN) license. In addition to the theoretical course, the school has established a course for practicing the practical skills required for a nurse in the United States. At the same time, school staff help students at each of the stages of obtaining a license: evaluation of a diploma, correct filling and sending of documents, an application for admission to the exam to obtain a Registered Nurse license, as well as preparation for the exam and job search. In addition to the theoretical course, the school has established a course for practicing the practical skills required for a nurse in the United States.
Recently, wanting to help everyone, including those living outside New York, the administration of the school Concord Rusam launched online course for NCLEX-RN preparation (National Council Licensure Examination-Registered Nurse), which will help to systematize their knowledge and prepare for the test for a nurse's license in a convenient mode for the listener.
More detailed information about Concord Rusam can be obtained by link or by phone: 212-619-2260.
2. Medical insurance
One of the main axioms: no matter what country you live in, you should not save on health. In this case, medicine in the US is private and extremely expensive. The state takes care only of the most vulnerable groups of the population, and, as a rule, not completely. Therefore, the presence of health insurance is a matter of primary importance, because without insurance, treatment and getting emergency help can cost you as a result tens of thousands of dollars.
Exist several ways get insurance:
- It can be issued at the expense of the state. Program Medicaid accessible for people with disabilities and low-income people, as well as for people older than 65 years (after 65 years, government-subsidized insurance Medicate).
- To get insurance with partial help from the state. This opportunity is available to low-income residents who are not covered by the employer.
- Get insurance with the full or partial support of the employer.
- If you work, but the employer does not pay for your insurance, either partially or fully, you must purchase it yourself by choosing the best plan.
Programs for the needy vary from state to state. For example, in California there is a state program Covered CA - An analogue of the federal insurance program. After processing the data about you, the system determines what insurance coverage you are entitled to. MediCal is free coverage for low-income California residents, with an income of just over $ 16 000 per year. In other states, it has a different name.
Low-income New Yorkers who do not qualify for free insurance offer Essential Plan. This is a government program with minimal monthly payments - only $ 20. For families with incomes below 138% federal poverty level, the program is free. A person who has an Essential Plan can afford regular check-ups, visits to a specialist, and payment for prescription drugs.
However, even if your income exceeds the threshold fully or partially covered by the state, and your employer does not pay for insurance, you should still choose an insurance plan. The federal site can help in this. Healthcare.gov. Here, the insurance plans of various companies are put together, and you can choose the most suitable one.
Lack of insurance is fraught with serious problems. If you still have to seek medical help without insurance, the prices even for simple procedures, and even more so operations can vary from a few thousand to a few tens of thousands of dollars. Not everyone is able to immediately pay a debt of this size. In turn, the availability of debt for medical services can adversely affect your credit history and seriously ruin your life in the United States.
3. English courses
Yes, yes, you were not mistaken, we at the same time offer you to save and not save on language courses. In fact, it all depends on your level. As we have already noted, free courses for immigrants are ideal for people with an initial level of language. However, they are clearly not enough for those who are already able to speak fluently in English, and would like to improve their language to a professional level. Regrettably, it is not enough for such an improvement of the usual emigrant courses, and it is best not to skimp and enroll in an English course at a local college. By the way, for state residents prices are very reasonable - around 150-200 dollars per course, while for non-residents the amount will be about 800-900 dollars.
However, saving money is not worth it. Otherwise, there may be situations when you find that your level of language is not enough to find a prestigious job or start studying in a field of interest to you. Many of my friends immigrants admit that they faced similar problems. Someone was afraid to go to college to get a new profession, someone was forced to work only in the Russian-speaking business for several years, while others admitted that even with a good education and work experience, they could not pass the first interview only because of the language barrier.
In addition, you always have the opportunity to look for paid courses online, the benefit is that the choice is great. Many language schools, for example, offer individual lessons at any time convenient for you and the opportunity to choose a Russian-speaking or English-speaking teacher - depending on your level and needs. Some schools of language learning are ready to help you in solving specific problems - for example, in preparation for the interview to work in the US. As a rule, if these schools are located in the post-Soviet space, prices in them are very moderate compared to American ones.
Summing up, we can conclude that it is economically quite realistic to live in the USA, but there are things that you should not save on, first of all, your health, language and education. The cost of them will pay off many times over during your lifetime in exile.
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