Spending money in USA.


The sole reason of earning money is to spend it.

Before coming over to United States, I was under the impression that everything is very cheap, and that the living expenses is much lower, or as I was told. After being here for about 1.5 years, I would like to ask those people that told me that U.S. have low living expenses to this – WHERE? HOW? Other than the cars, which honestly are cheap here (To be fair, comparing to Singapore, car from where ever other than, are cheap.) I don’t really find the things here cheap. Ok, the car and outlet/brand shoppings.

Groceries are all in USD, the prices showed all does not include state taxes which ranges from states to states. The variety of things we can buy are limited. (Lame example – nail clippers: You can get 10000 different designs and 10000 different colours if nail clippers from Taobao for 1/5 of the price here where you can maybe find like 4 designs.)

The restaurants here are even more ridiculous, other than fast food, normal restaurants can cost up to 50 USD for 2 person per meal. 50 USD-60 USD after tax which are not included in stated prices and 15-20% of tips. 60 USD is almost 85 SGD! Plus it’s not even any fancy food. Ridiculous.

I truly don’t think the living expenses here are lower than Singapore. There are many people in poverty here in United States too. Many times you can see people asking for help on the local community Facebook groups. Good thing is that people are generally helpful to those who are in need.

Actually, not everything are expensive. Shopping here can be ridiculously cheap. For brands like Nike, Adidas, Champion, Reebok, New Balance, Calvin Klein, and more, you can find apparels that’s lower than 20 SGD?! Nike and Adidas shoes can cost as low as 30 USD?! Sometimes things are so cheap you feel compelled to buy it. Premium outlets of U.S. brands are even more ridiculous. Lower end designer bags (Coach/Kate Spade/ Tory Burch/ Michael Kors) can have up to 70-80% discount off original retail prices. The next time you see someone selling these brands at ridiculously low price on Carousell and claiming them to be genuine. They probably are.

But of course, there will come a time where I think “hey that’s enough clothes, even if it’s this cheap.” – But today is not that day.

Oh man I can go on and on.

My initial objective of this post is to share HOW we convert our SGDs to USDs for spendings here. Ok lemme start.

All our income are in Singapore Dollars, cause our bosses are Singaporean, which causes a problem. US shops don’t take Singapore Dollars in-exchange for goods and services. When we just arrived in US, we used DBS’s multi-currency account to convert our money from SGD to USD. Which really isn’t very economical. Bank exchange rates are notoriously bad, we lose a lot when we convert larger amount over. Seeing that we live here, we have to transfer a lot and frequent. So I explored other options.

Thank god I applied for YouTrip before coming over here.

YouTrip (previously partnering with Ez-link) is Singapore’s first digital bank. I applied it out of curiosity and because I’m someone that will not miss out of free stuff. This card is so useful and convenient!

The rates are currently the best too!

Lazy crop.

The difference might seem minute, but accumulated overtime, you’re really getting a huge difference in money thrown into the sea.

Plus it has so many other currencies available. I use it to pay for my SOAS UOL school fees too, which is in Pounds. Plus if I am in Singapore, I confirm plus chop use it to pay for my monthly Taobao loots (I used to just use DBS’s exchange rate – thinking ‘aiya taobao stuff already so cheap, give them the extra loh’.). How I wish I have this card during Uni days too so that I can pay it with this card. The bank’s exchange rates are really daylight robbery.

All these extra money means more shopping. Which is what I am gonna do right now. Thank you for your attention, nice pal, see you next post.