To save money in USA for Indian students and professionals: Share living expenses with a partner, Regularly review and negotiate bills for services, opt to exercise in city Parks for a Gym membership, skip hiring house help, get a part-time job, and bike to work instead of Uber.
There are numerous ways to keep your budget in check while working or studying in the USA. I will share some tips that have helped Indians in the USA build a comfortable life while still saving a considerable chunk of money!
- 20 Ways to Save Money for Indians in the USA
- Tips to Save Money in USA as a Newcomer
- Vatsal Nahata (Economist, IMF) Expert Advice
- How to Save Money as an Indian Immigrant?
20 Ways to Save Money for Indians in the USA
- Create a Detailed Budget
- Cook Homemade Indian Meals
- Leverage Indian Grocery Store Discounts
- Utilize Cashback Apps Popular in India
- Opt for Affordable Local Brands
- Shop during Festive Sales
- Use Public Transport or Shared Rides
- Compare Prices
- Explore Second-Hand Markets for Deals
- Save on Energy Consumption
- Share Rent and Household Expenses
- Plan Budget-Friendly Indian Outings
- Access Free Online Indian Courses
- Invest in Indian Financial Instruments
- Seek Discounts with a Student ID
- Maximize Health Insurance Benefits
- Enjoy Low-Cost Indian Entertainment
- Embrace Homemade Indian Snacks
- Consider Co-Living or PG Accommodations
- Make the Most of Workplace Perks and Frugal
Tips to Save Money in USA as a Newcomer
|Discounted Gift Cards||Download apps like ‘Ibotta,’ ‘Checkout51,’ and ‘Saving Star’ to get paid for your everyday grocery shopping.|
|Coupon Codes||Never hit checkout without checking for coupon codes, and ‘RetailMeNot’ is your go-to source.|
|Online Rebates/Cashback||Shop smartly through ‘Ebates.com’ to enjoy 2-10% cashback on online purchases.|
|Grocery Cashback||Download apps like ‘Ibotta,’ ‘Checkout51,’ and ‘Saving star’ to get paid for your everyday grocery shopping.|
|Store Credit Cards||Explore credit cards from retailers like Macy’s, Kohl’s, and JCPenny for additional discounts.|
|Reward/Loyalty Cards||Make the most of loyalty programs at stores like Walgreens, CVS, and BestBuy to earn points and redeem them.|
|Gas Cards||Save on fuel costs with loyalty cards from gas stations like Shell, Mobil, or other preferred options.|
|Baby Clubs||Join free baby clubs at stores like Publix, Target, and Amazon for samples, parenting books, and valuable coupons.|
|Newspaper Coupons and Online Prints||Clip coupons from newspapers or print them from popular sites like ‘coupons.com’ and ‘smartsource.com.’|
|Local/Travel Deals||Grab fantastic deals on local activities and travel through platforms like ‘Groupon’ and ‘LivingSocial.’|
|Compare Prices||Whether it’s insurance, money transfers, or product purchases, compare prices online for the best deals.|
|Price Match Policy||Major retailers like Walmart, Target, Best Buy, and Home Depot may match lower prices, ensuring you get the best deal.|
|Utilize Savings Apps||Leverage apps like ‘Deal Squad’ for personalized assistance in finding the best deals on specific products.|
|Outlet Stores||Consider the pros and cons of outlet store shopping, keeping an eye on the quality of products.|
If you are confused as to how much you should probably have saved by the time you turn 18, I have a comprehensive list for you.
Vatsal Nahata (Economist, IMF) Expert Advice
Do you know that Indian Americans make up almost 1.35% of the total US population? They are the largest group of South Asians living in the United States! So, it’s evident that Indians have mastered the art of living in the country.
But what if you just immigrated from India, clueless about managing your finances even though you have a steady job? As the financial situation in India and the USA differ across various parameters, it can be difficult to find your footing for a few initial years.
But don’t fret! With fiscal discipline and proper knowledge, it’s easier to save money in the US.
How to Save Money as an Indian Immigrant?
There are several ways to save your hard-earned dollars while still maintaining a balanced lifestyle. I have listed some tips below to help you navigate your finances!
1. Don’t buy winter wear in India
Aside from a lot of other things, climate is the biggest change for Indians when they come to the U.S. And what I have usually witnessed is Indians coming loaded with winter wear from India.
But buying coats, boots, and jackets from India is just a waste of money. There are tons of stores here like Macy’s, Nordstrom, and Racks that offer crazy discounts during the holiday season, and the quality is much better than Indian jackets and coats.
So, say no to Indian winter wear and purchase whatever you want once you come here.
2. Skip on hiring house help
Labor cost in America is super duper high compared to India. You can easily get a house help in India who can do washing, cleaning, and cooking for just ₹3,000.
But in America, house helps earn about $31,200 per year or even more depending on their level of expertise. Typically, an entry-level house help will charge you 14-15 dollars per hour.
So, managing household chores yourself (even if you aren’t very good at it) is your only bet!
3. Get a credit card
It’s a good idea to sign up for a credit card as soon as you arrive in America. Credit history is a big thing here as it decides your trustworthiness as a borrower and how much interest you will pay on your typical loans.
Since most Indian students and workers don’t have a credit history in America, they end up paying extra on their car and student loans. Therefore, get your hands on a good credit card as soon as possible to build your credit score.
Even if you pay only a few dollars every month with your card, it will still give you a credit score. A good credit score will help you in college and even beyond!
4. Open a savings account
Consider opening a savings account once you start receiving a steady income. A good savings account will help you automate your savings while keeping you hooked on your financial goals.
Plus, they offer an intuitive way to secure your long-term funds!
You will find four basic types of savings accounts in America:
- Traditional savings accounts – offer a minimum interest rate
- Money market savings accounts – offer high to medium interest rate
- Certificates of deposits or CDs – offer high and fixed interest rates but require you to lock in your funds for a fixed period
- High-yield savings accounts – offer high-interest rates with no compulsion to lock funds
If you are thinking about stretching your savings, know that most high-yield savings accounts offer up to 4% APY. This simply means a good return on your money!
You also get to save your money without much hassle.
5. Consider CVS membership
You can save $100-$150 every year on your groceries and medical bills with a CVS membership card. It’s a great way to cut back on some necessary expenses!
The membership will cost you $5 a month, but you get will rewards and discounts worth $10 or more. It’s a fair deal for anyone looking to save on their grocery bill. You can use this discount for buying simple items like toothpaste or shampoo.
Not only that, the card will also offer different perks and bonuses during the key seasons such as Christmas or New Year!
6. Invest your savings in India
If you plan to reside in America for the long term or at least until your savings grow, it’s an excellent idea to invest what you have in your home country.
According to the Bloomberg survey, the Indian economy is expected to grow with zero recession probability.
This simply means that your savings will be safe in India, and there is a high chance of getting crazy returns on your money. In fact, you can tap the benefit of the exchange rate if you choose to invest in India.
Expert tip: Consider investing in NRI mutual funds, commercial real estate, corporate and government bonds, fixed deposits, and VC funds to get higher returns!– Laurens Yarpei
7. Understand the immigration system
Whether you are a student or a full-time employee, it’s important to understand the immigration system to get hold of your life here.
While you may have an international student office in your college or university, they don’t do a very good job of making you understand the entire immigration system.
Therefore, I advise everyone who is coming to the USA to hire an immigration lawyer. A full-hour consultation will cost you nearly $100, but it will be worth it.
8. Budget Strategically
Create a detailed budget outlining your income, expenses, and savings goals.
This will be the foundation of effective money management for you and is essential if you are new to a country especially the US, where things can get a bit pricy compared to India.
It can be a huge budget change if you are not prepared for it.
9. Cook at Home
Embrace homemade meals to cut down on dining-out expenses.
You will find Indian grocery stores as they can be your go-to for affordable ingredients to not miss out on authentic Indian foods.
10. Embrace Second-Hand Purchases
I love thrifting.
So, if you are like me, you will know that they are cheaper and sometimes get lucky with quality materials and products.
I know Immigrating to a new country especially the USA doesn’t come cheap. You can list visa fees, relocating costs, housing deposits, electricity and water bills, other utilities, etc.
Budgeting is a very important and essential first step to getting hold of your finances and setting up a financial plan in your new country.