Living in the US can be expensive if you’re a migrant or a student – the cost of groceries, transport and other essentials can add up pretty quickly to burn a hole in your pocket. There are, of course, certain ways to save money if you’ve moved to the US recently. Vatsal Nahata, a US-based Indian, has shared six “life hacks” that can help you save money if you are living in the United States of America.
After graduating from Delhi’s prestigious Sri Ram College of Commerce, Nahata moved to the US to pursue higher education at the Ivy league Yale University. He found a job at World Bank after graduating before eventually quitting for the International Monetary Fund – a job which took him to Washington DC. Over the years he spent in the US, Vatsal Nahata found several ways to save his hard-earned dollars which he has now shared in a LinkedIn post.
His first tip – be careful about the groceries you buy. 85% of items in American grocery stores are filled with processed chemicals, he warned, saying it contributed to rampant obesity in the country. Nahata advised his readers to spend $2 to $3 dollars extra on buying high-quality milk, breads, cereals and yogurt instead of stuff that is filled with added sugars, high sodium and other harmful ingredients.
His second piece of advice – get a credit card as soon as possible because having a good credit history is very important in the US. “Even if you're only spending $10 per month through the credit card, it is still worth enrolling for one. The best option would be to get a credit-builder card from Chase/Wells Fargo,” he said, adding that he would share a separate post on how to hack the points system in the US.
His third piece of advice also stemmed from his own personal experience. Get a CVS membership, advised Nahata, referring to the retail pharmacy which has outlets in over 10,000 locations in the US. The membership costs $5 per month and gives the subscribers benefits worth $10. “Every month, I get a flat $10 discount on anything I buy from CVS. I use it for things like shampoo, toothpaste, detergents etc,” wrote the former SRCC student.
Next came two things you should avoid carrying from India if you are moving to the US – winter clothing and spices. Both items are widely available in the US. Winter wear can be found at discount outlets like Macy's, TJ Maxx and Nordstrom Rack at a crazy discount, while spices are easily available at Indian grocery stores.
Another important tip from Nahata relates to health insurance – he asked his readers not to cheap out on this essential. “Don't buy that Bajaj health insurance - it most likely won't work and you'll have liabilities worth thousands of dollars if you fall ill or injure yourself,” he wrote. “Moreover, if you intend to stay for 3-4 years here, it's a great investment to first-hand get acquainted with the insurance system.”
Lastly, he advised readers to research the immigration system thoroughly before moving to the US. “It's totally worth hiring an immigration lawyer for an hour for $100,” he said.