Traveling to Onsite:
One amongst the top five goals of most of the software engineers of Indian origin. Traveling abroad for work might give a great feeling about yourself but at the same time, it is not always a cake walk. To save money in the USA is very easy but only if certain things are well planned.
Not long ago, I have got an opportunity to travel to United States of America representing my employer to provide consulting to one of the leading consumer goods company. My tenor at the USA was just less than a year as I wanted to return back to my homeland to take care of some of the priority things.
Though, the duration of my stay was less, with the help of my friends to whom I am dedicating this post I was able to handle things in a better way. In other words, they had taught me most of the things through which I was able to save money in the USA better.
As traveling to onsite is a routine thing which most of the software engineers come across, I thought I can share the knowledge which I had gained on the ways through which anyone can save money.
I am not really sure about how it is gonna be henceforth regarding the H1B, L1 visa’s related travel but for those who had recently landed as well as for those who are in a queue to travel, these simple tips might help.
Not to forget, I dedicate this article for those kind hearted friends of mine who stood beside me at my difficult times and supported me always... In an Alphabetical Order - Aashiq, Akbar, Anil, Dawood, Jaydeep, Lakshmi Narayana Pamula, Nagasankar Anand, Pankaj Gavande, Prasad Sadda, Ramakrishna Garapati, Ramesh, Ravi, Sairam Kondaraju, Sai Krishna, Sanjay, Sathishkumar R A, Serbjeet, Sivabalan Thiyagarajan, Srinu Ummadisetti, Sriram, Uday, Vineeth & my close college friends who lives in USA.
Kindly note that all the below mentioned points are based on my own personal experience as well from what I had learned from my friends.
Are you a newbie (single) traveling to the USA?
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Welcome to The United States of America – The Dream Country for Many:
- Speak to your friends and colleagues at the USA regarding the accommodation before even you start from your home country. You are bound to sign a lease for 1 year if you are planning to rent an individual house.
Staying in a shared accommodation can really help you save more dollars not only on the rent but also on the groceries, internet connection etc.
- Do not get tempted to buy a new Sim card at the airport, they are costly. It is wise to opt for the options like “Go Phone” from AT&T or similar instead of subscribing a postpaid package which comes with a locked device. Remember, the USA is still wearing the hat of being the country known for its higher call rates.
Buy a smartphone which supports the frequency bands of the USA from your home country.
Try to utilize calling apps like Whatsapp, Messenger, Skype, and Viber to make a call at least for a week.
Check if there are any discounts being provided on a monthly bill based on your employer.
Based on your location, look for providers like Lyca and similar where you might get unlimited calls to your country at a nominal rental. Do not forget to look at their coverage.
- Open a bank account and also request for a credit card.
The early you get the credit card the early you can stop using your home country’s credit card.
The usage of your India-based credit card at the USA attracts conversion charges on your credit card bill.
- Always stay on top of your regular monthly bills and utility bills payment to avoid late payment fees.
Tip: Have a track of your billing dates.
- Learn to Negotiate well. Negotiation skills can help you save very well on most of your expenses.
Get to know the facts before you buy something. It’s all depends on how you Negotiate. Be Genuine.
- Make a note of those days when you are unable to use your internet facility or phone facility due to an outage in your area.
Maintain a diary or make a note of the outage dates on your cell phone.
Call your service provider and explain the situation so that they can help you with a counter offer or by adjusting the bill amount.
- Always have an eye on the current currency exchange rates.
Install the money transfer applications like Remitly, Transfast etc on your phone and transfer the money to your relatives back home when you find the currency conversion rates are at its best.
- Buying a car is not easy at the early stage unless you have a good bank balance. It is better to opt for an affordable used car and save. It’s normal to get tempted based on the vast options available such as Car Lease and new car purchase benefits but if you want to save money then give it some time.
Check whether you can car pool with your friends or colleagues and share their expenses on gas. None of my friends expected me to share the gas expenses. Remember, not everyone in the world come across great friends.
Just because you are sharing the expenses does not mean that your colleague or friend can wait for you in front of your house for long. Time is precious for everyone.
Buying a used bicycle is also a good option but remember that you may not be able to use it during winter.
- Invest time in preparing yourself for the written examination related to Driving License. You need to clear that before you become eligible for a road test. Remember, the written examinations have got limitations on the number of attempts. Once you are already out the limited attempts, you may need to pay an extra fee for taking the test again.
The early you clear the test, the early you can buy a car.
Having an international license do help in some regions at the USA.
Always obey the traffic rules.
Start early to go anywhere so that you can avoid speeding tickets.
- Think twice before you choose to go for a rental car. It’s costly if you do not have an auto insurance.
Read your company policy. Most of the companies bear the insurance expenses of a rental car. You can just pay the rental.
- Be watchful on your intake. You will come across a wide range of options when it comes to food. Maybe you would have not even experienced eating some of them. You do not know whether it would go well with your body or not. Never forget that the hospital expenses are costly in the USA.
Try to cook at home. With Youtube, you can prepare an awesome curry.
If you have got a great chef already at home like how I had got, then you can help him by chopping veggies etc. at the same time learn from him.
Try to stay with the food items which your body is used to. You can try new things a bit later. Trying new food items might place a dent on your goal to save Money In the USA if that did not go well with your body.
- Always try to join with your friends when you wanted to go out for shopping. Opting Uber and other taxi services are okay once in a while but not for a long duration.
Prepare a list of items you need for the next week well in advance. Do not waste time.
- Do not invest on buying a big water filter etc instead buy a small and handy one just to ensure that you consume lead-free and safe drinking water.
Opting for Brita compact water filter from Costco can meet the requirement.
- If you need something, please research and utilize the options like Sulekha, Craiglist, Online yard sales and similar options to see if you can find that item. If there is one and if the condition seems to be good, buy it instead of buying a new one.
Register yourself on the yard sale groups on Facebook relevant to your location. You can use them to sell as well as buy things. They help a lot to Save Money In USA.
If you are not really used to buying a used item, buy that item from either Costco or Walmart as their return policies are great.
- It always better to go for a trip either by clubbing with your friends or colleagues family instead of trying to explore everything by yourself.
Google on “Bus tours” which are easily available. You might also find sightseeing by walking in case if you love to walk a lot.
The early you plan, the more dollars you can save.
- Register yourself for a Costco membership. The cost of the membership varies based on the type you opt for.
Request your friends or colleagues to help you get that item or to get an addon card (family member card) in case they have got a membership already.
- Stay away from investing in electronic items and furniture, look for alternatives to buy a used one.
Look at Craiglist, Sulekha, Yard Sales.
Try to buy the electronic items on Thank’s Giving Day.
- You get everything in the USA especially the groceries but still, you can avoid those expenses by taking the required stock at least for the initial month from India.
Utilize your baggage limit to the fullest but also keep an eye so that you don’t end up pay for exceeding the baggage limit.
- Invest wisely while purchasing winter jackets and other clothing materials. Have an eye on the offers and discounts.
If you are traveling at the time of winter, it’s better you buy one good pair of winter clothing from your home country itself. You need it as soon as you land at the USA. If you are traveling during a non-winter season, then buy the winter wear in the USA itself.
- Make use of the coupons which are available for most of the things like Saloon, Dining, Bar’s etc.
You can try Groupon app.
- Plan your travel as early as possible so that you can save money in the USA on your tickets.
Look at multiple websites and compare the rates and choose the best.
Some of the websites like Travelopad.com, Expedia, Google Flights etc. might help.
- Ensure that you go for laundry once you find that you won’t have a spare clothing. At the same time, stay hygienic.
Club your clothes with your relatives clothes ( if living together ) while going for laundry so that you can save money. Not the inner wears please as that might invite some unwelcome guests into your body.
- Try to build your network so that you will not feel stuck on anything.
Socialize as far as possible.
Try to send those laptops and other electronic goods through your friends who are traveling to India instead of sending it via FedEx or via international couriers.
Be grateful for your friends and help them when you are traveling. This applies while traveling from India too.
- Ensure that you keep your home clean and tidy. Remember, you may need to spend money as a part of cleaning charges to your house renting company if you leave the things messy.
Clean your bathtub, gas stove, Oven, and refrigerators etc once in two weeks at least. Most of the dish wash fluids do a great job. The cleaning charges can affect your goal to Save Money In The USA if not maintained well.
- Always have an eye on the current consumption charges.
Buy a used pedestal fan and utilize it instead of turning on your Air Conditioner when you can really manage based on the temperature.
- Love to watch movies?
If you are not very particular about watching it in a theater then watch them online.
Subscribe to streaming sites like Tentkotta, Einthusan, Hotstar and even Amazon Prime movies to Save Money In The USA.
- Love to download movies?
Restrict yourself from downloading any Hollywood movies as they are copyrighted. You will not know who will sue you and pull you to the court. It is illegal to download any movie to your computers.
Remember, It is illegal to download any movie to your computers especially when you at the USA.
Stick only to your somewhat old regional movies.
Try to buy and use a VPN.
Once you settle down well, please do help those newbies who you come across in the USA so that they can also get benefitted like how my friends helped me reap the benefits.
It is all in your hands now. Always stay focused on your goals. Remember, your primary goal is not only to earn but also to save money in the USA.