Financial aspect of life in the USA: the amounts involved?
It is assumed that America is a country that is ideal for living, as the prices here are very affordable. However, everything is relative, and if some goods really cost consumers less than in Russia, this does not mean that it is worth moving to this country. The US economy has its own specifics, and pricing depends on a number of factors that are often not taken into account when determining the ratio of incomes and expenses of citizens. Nevertheless, the prices of some goods and services are indeed lower here, but some things are much more expensive.
American wages: myth and reality
If one relies on statistics, the average American earns from $ 3,600 to $ 5,000 per month. It would seem that the amount is quite decent and it should be enough for comfortable existence. But, alas. One can live with this money in the USA, but very modestly, literally counting every dollar. That is why Americans often work two or even three jobs at once, trying to take overtime paid hours and doing everything possible to get additional material incentives.
It is a little easier for those who have managed to make a small fortune, since money are invested in the shares of companies with the help of special intermediary firms, which with good luck brings good dividends.
Main cost items: why living in the USA is expensive?
In this country one has to pay for everything in the literal sense of the word, there is no free education or medicine here. If the company in which a person works is considered to be successful, then an employee can count on a good social package that can cover part of the required payments. If not, you will have to rely solely on salary.
The main item of expenditure is housing, rental of which on average costs from $ 500 to $ 1,500 per month. Therefore, yesterday's graduates prefer to rent one apartment for several people to minimize costs. After all, besides the rent, it is necessary to pay utility bills monthly, and this is at least another $ 500. Thus, a third of a salary of an American who does not have own property goes to an apartment. Renting a house will cost almost twice as much, but this option is usually chosen by young families with children.
Another item of expenditure is a car. More precisely, its servicing. Most Americans prefer personal vehicle, which means that it takes at least $ 300 a month for gasoline, taking into account the fact that 1 liter of fuel costs an average 85 cents. Add to this service of washing and depreciation costs – so, maintenance of a car costs about $ 400 a month. Obligatory expenses include medical insurance, the minimum package of which will cost $150. Total, at the lower threshold of an average salary of $ 3,600 about half goes to mandatory payments.
It would seem that for $1,800 a month, one can eat well and dress in boutiques, but this is not so. Approximately 80% of working population of the United States gives 2/3 of this amount to loans. In this country, it is customary to buy appliances and furniture through a bank in order not to bother waiting for necessary amount of money to accumulate for next purchase. As a result, no more than 700-800 dollars remain that can be spent for oneself.
American food prices
One of the reasons why fast food is so popular in this country is relatively high price of food. A pound of meat in an ordinary supermarket will cost 4-6 dollars, milk - about 2 dollars per liter. 1 kg of potatoes costs at least 1.5 dollars, cereals - from 2 to 5 dollars per kg, vegetable oil - 2-3 dollars per liter.
Vegetables and fruits are on sale all year round, the price for them can vary depending on a season. But in general, 1 kg of apples will cost $ 1.8, oranges - $ 1.5, bananas - $ 1.2. Berries are several times more expensive.
Thus, for cooking a full dinner with salad, meat and side dishes one will have to spend in the store about $ 50. This makes sense when it comes to feeding the whole family. If a person lives alone, then he can have a wonderful dinner in a cafe at $30 and have a snack in a fast food restaurant at 10-15 dollars.
Clothes and shoes: what Americans scrimp on
Only very wealthy Americans can afford to buy expensive items from famous brands on the first day of collection’s sale, because the cost of a designer dress can be several thousand dollars. Ordinary Americans dress in ordinary stores of ready-made clothes and shoes, where prices are enormously lower. For example, a men's shirt here costs from 20 to 30 dollars, a women's blouse will cost as much. For a dress you will have to pay about 40-50 dollars, for jeans or trousers - up to 100 dollars. Shoes depending on a season and model cost from 20 to 150 dollars per pair.
Of course, in this situation, replenishment of a wardrobe can be a significant item of expenditure. However, all kinds of sales come through Americans, where one can buy a favorite item at 10-15% of its initial value. When things need to be updated urgently, Americans visit branded stocks or stores with Asian clothes, where a set of clothes for everyday wear cost $15-20.
Services sector: do it yourself or Pay it Forward
Additional costs for Americans are a trip to the hairdresser (from $35 to $70 for a haircut), a visit to the gym ($ 20–50 for a session), a visit to a dry-cleaner (from $15 to $100). Women spend about $70 a month for a manicure in the salon and about $100 for the services of a beautician.
A separate item of expenditure is training. Those who need the help of a tutor will have to invest at least $30 per academic hour. The services of a babysitter will cost the same amount, if the family has a child. Those who decide to send a child to the kindergarten should prepare an additional at least $ 900 per month.
Of course, if revenues allow, it is easier to pay for services. But most Americans between the ages of 20 and 30 prefer to handle many things on their own and save a few hundred dollars a month.