New to the United States? Here Are 7 Indispensable Frugal Tips

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Sticker Shock

If you’re new to the U.S., you’ll likely experience both culture and sticker shock. Take healthcare for example. Unlike in Spain or Japan, many Americans are insured through their employer, and even then, a visit to an in-network doctor could cost thousands of dollars. To help you avoid those financial surprises, we’ve compiled a list of Redditors’ “frugal musts” for folks new to the U.S.

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Go to In-Network Healthcare Providers

In the U.S., most people get health insurance through their employer or government-regulated healthcare market. But just because you’re insured doesn’t mean you won’t be paying big bucks. On top of your monthly premium, you’ll likely pay out of pocket for many procedures until you hit your plan’s deductible (around $2,000 on average), after which your insurance may cover part of the cost. To make matters more complicated, your insurance might only cover in-network visits — that is, healthcare visits to hospitals and doctors that have an agreement with your company. Avoid extra expenses by only going to in-network providers.

Related: 5 Cheapest Ways To See a Doctor Without Insurance

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Get a Library Card

Except for tap water and the occasional refill, few things are free in the U.S. That said, the public library system offers myriad services, most of which don’t cost money. We’re talking books, movies, music, video streaming, internet access, printing, career advice, and more. You can find your local library here.

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Subscribe to Your Local Subreddit

If you aren’t already a Redditor, make an account and find your local subreddit. Most big cities (and some small ones) have large communities that can answer specific questions you have about saving money and moving.


Sign Up for a Costco Membership

If there’s one thing Americans do well, it’s massive, one-stop-shop retail stores like Costco. The membership-only store sells everything from bulk food and toilet paper to tires and vacations, making it a convenient place to shop for folks on a budget. Not already a Costco member? You can apply here.

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Live With Roommates

For some dingy closet-sized room without a kitchen, you could easily pay over $1,000 in many major U.S. cities. Suffice to say that rent is incredibly high. To cut down on costs (and maybe meet a few friends), live with housemates.