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Save Money When You Move to the USA

5 Easy Ways to Save Money When You Move to the USA

From shipping costs to credit score, we've put together 5 easy tips to save you unnecessary costs in the first months of your American dream.

Moving to the USA is a dream for many. If you’re one of those who get an opportunity to do it, it’s important to prepare. Whether you’re moving from as far as Asia or as close as Mexico, a move comes with costs. We’ve gathered some tips to help you save money during your first months in the USA.

Tip #1: Leave behind as much as you can

It may seem like you’d be saving money if you take all your belongings with you to the USA. However, shipping costs can really add up. Especially for large items such as furniture or a car.

If you’re considering taking your car with you to the US, there’s more than transportation costs to prepare for. You’d have to pay for cleaning the car’s undercarriage steam and you’d need to get an EPA-approved emissions test. That alone can cost over USD 1000.

Instead of paying all this extra money, consider selling your belongings before leaving for the USA. You can use the money to get new furniture or a car when you arrive. There are plenty of second-hand stores you can turn to for great deals on furniture. Keep an eye on Craigslist for good deals, or explore used furniture stores in your new neighborhood.

Tip #2: Start working on your credit score

When you move to the USA, your credit score almost becomes part of your identity. It’s important when renting an apartment, buying a house, a car, or even paying for utilities. However, newcomers to the USA don’t have local credit history. That means it's difficult and much more expensive to make all necessary arrangements when settling in. For this reason, you should consider working on your credit score from day one. For example, by getting a credit card. Without local credit history, you may have to settle for worse conditions at first - e.g. a higher annual fee. However, this will improve as you build up your credit history over time. Some credit card providers, such as Amex, allow transferring your international credit scores. This may be available to you if you’re moving from Canada, the UK, Australia, India, or Mexico. Don’t want to apply for a credit card right from the start? Haven’t figured out your paperwork yet? You can also use prepaid credit cards for day-to-day payments. They don’t require an application, you can buy them easily online, and they won't hurt your credit score.

Tip #3: Cancel or modify your subscriptions

Make sure you have an overview of all your running subscriptions before you leave. Some subscriptions you can continue using in the USA - e.g. Netflix or Spotify Premium. Others, such as your gym or magazine subscription, will only be money in the wind if you don’t cancel in time. For extra savings, consider switching from subscription to prepaid for some services. That’ll give you flexibility month to month and you can go back to a long-term subscription at any point. To switch to prepaid for Netflix, for example, you’ll need to cancel your current subscription first. Then wait until the end of the current month and restart it by selecting Netflix gift card as a payment method. It works in a similar way for Spotify Premium or other entertainment services.

Tip #4: Arrange your health insurance upfront

Healthcare costs in the USA are infamous. If you move to the US and get sick without proper health insurance, it can be a financial disaster. Are you moving for work and is your employer offering a healthcare plan? Then you probably don’t need to do anything extra. But if you’re yet to find a job or don’t have a healthcare plan via your employer, you should arrange for private health insurance upfront. You can check the Health Insurance Marketplace or look into international healthcare plans.

Tip #5: Beware of roaming costs

You might be tempted to keep your foreign mobile contract for a few months after moving to the US. After all, you want to stay in touch with your family and make local arrangements. However, you'll be incurring roaming costs that can be avoided. Instead, consider switching to prepaid within your current mobile provider. Most providers will let you keep the same number. And they have international prepaid plans, where calls between the US and your country cost much less than via normal roaming. Alternatively, you can go for a prepaid plan upon arrival in the US. American operators such as SIMPLE Mobile (previously Telcel America) offer plans with unlimited calls within the US and 69+ other countries. An extra advantage of this option is that you’ll have a US number from the start.


Ready for the big move? With our tips you can get started in the USA without spending money unnecessarily.