Before arriving in United States you should do some budgeting to have an idea about money you will need for at least two months if you aren’t hired yet otherwise then for one month. Before accepting any job offer you need to do budgeting to decide about any job offer. Only calculating the exchanged currency amount will never give a correct idea about standard of living like if someone offers you $2000 per months job that makes around 150,000PKR, it sounds great if you are earning $2000 in Pakistan but not sufficient in USA to maintain the same standard f living. Find below the detailed cost analysis for better calculation of living cost in USA.

Living Costs are separated in groups to give you breakup of different costs in in a Pakistani’s perspective.

Grocery / Food Cost in USA:

That depends on how much you love food, the grocery cost mainly covers eatables and household consumables like toiletries, cleaners etc. The food is not expensive and a normal person can easily afford making food at home, however eating outside can be very expensive sometimes. The normal food / grocery cost per person may vary from $200 to $300 per month or you can cut down few expenses to drop it around $150 per month per person still eating full. It depends on choices you make while buying food etc.

Apartment and housing cost in USA

Apartment and housing cost completely depends upon the place where you are going. I cannot even provide a rough idea for that. If you are moving in a bigger city then the apartment might be costly but in smaller cities or suburban areas you might get a suitable place on lower rent. For complete updated price detail in your area you can consult this website

Utility bills cost in USA:

Electricity – Depends upon the area of house, it’s not expensive and you may never get worried about the high electricity bill until and unless your heating is on electricity and is not covered in your monthly rent. In USA weather is harsh in winters so you need to turn your heater on all the time and it might cost you extra $500 – $200 monthly in electricity bill.

Heating Heating cost vary upon what type of heating unit you are using. Mostly apartments offer the heating included in rent that is a great offer because heating overall cost higher in winters. The water based or oil based heating cost less and mostly apartments that contains such units offer heating for free however where heating is on electricity there are chances that you need to pay it by yourself so keep this thing in mind before renting any place.

Water – Sewerage -Trash I am currently living in two bedroom apartment and normal usage of water usually ends up around $50 – $70 per month. It also depends on where you live, how big your place is and what is your usage. These services are mostly included in monthly rent so you might not need to worry about it. We are living in a low rent apartment so we need to pay for these services on our own.

Internet Depending on the service you use the internet monthly cost vary from $25 and over, the higher the speed you will opt for the higher the bill will be. Keep looking for a deal before buying a connection as most of the time some deal is going on and it saves you huge amount of money.

Cable / Dish network: If you like to have cable or dish antenna at home to see the TV channels

You can have it, there are many cable companies on local or national level that you can have, however the monthly cost is around $100, the basic cable cost around $60 – $100 depending on how much channels you want. The dish antenna cost is higher than the cable however you can access more channels on dish.

Mostly Pakistani and Indian people use the “Jadoo TV” box for which you need to pay once time cost that covers the equipment as well. It uses the internet and stream almost all Desi channels on TV including GEO, HUM, ARY, INDUS, SONY, STAR, HBO etc plus lots of movies and dramas of your choice. The current onetime cost for Jadoo TV is $200.

Telecommunication / phone + cell phones cost: If you are using a home phone (VoIP internet phone) with lesser international calls then you might end up with approximately $25 – $35 per month with unlimited free USA and Canada calling. Calling a Pakistani number from a home phone is far cheaper than calling it from a cell phone; it usually cost around 13 – 20 cents per minute without taxes.

Cell phone is expensive for a normal person and cost minimum $40 per month for postpaid packages and no package offers free incoming calls. You just get some free minutes that adjusted for every incoming and outgoing call. The average cost per person for cell phone usage without adding extra SMS or Data package is $50 per person including taxes.

Vehicle cost in USA (insurance + maintenance + taxes):

Having a vehicle involves many types of costs like in USA you cannot drive a vehicle without an insurance of each driver at home, that increases the monthly cost. If the car is on lease you need to pay the monthly lease and the insurance. You also need to pay taxes included yearly car title tax and property tax for car. The cost of your yearly tax depends on the car model and made you are using plus it also depends in which state you are living. Check the details on your local DMV website. Along with these costs you need to get your vehicle inspected every year that is called “State inspection” that check if the vehicle is safe to drive on road. If not passed you need to get the desired maintenance done and again get the state inspection that cost around $20 however it depends on which city and state you are living.

Car maintenance cost is extremely high, if you have insurance that covers maintenance (such insurance will be very expensive) then it covers certain maintenance costs otherwise you need to pay every cent from your own pocket. We bought a used 1994 Mazda 626 for $1350 as our first car. The car ran very well for a year and its transmission got faulty. We got an estimate for a replacement of transmission with a used automatic transmission but the minimum quoted cost was around $1600 (Transmission $400 and labor $1200) that was way out of our budget plus it was more than the car price. We tried to sell it the way it was but we got highest offer of $100 for our beloved car. We kept it at home for more than 2 months waiting for a better price and ended up selling it for $400 far better than the $100.

The maintenance cost is high because the usual motor mechanics may charge more than $50 per hour for the mechanical or electric work they usually do. The cost for changing the oil is almost $20 – $40 and the usual car work is not that expensive but when it comes to engine, the cost get too high that you prefer to send your car to a junk yard instead of repairing it. If you have knowledge of cars maintenance then you are a lucky fellow

Medical Insurance cost in USA:

Medical insurance is one of the major costs of a family living unlike Pakistan where we hardly consider buying medical insurance. The average insurance cost per person is approximately $200 per month. There are different packages available to choose from and this cost can be more or less but just to give you an idea I am quoting this amount here, if a woman is in child bearing age her insurance cost might vary between $250 to $350. There are many regulations and terms attached to the insurance policy that we need to study before signing for an insurance company including the preexisting medical condition where the insurance only covers your sickness if you were with them for an year or more otherwise the insurance companies do not simply cover you. Without insurance medical is extremely expensive that a normal person cannot afford it.

Other insurances: Medical and car insurance are mandatory and you must have it in any way however there are certain types of insurances that you can purchase but they are not mandatory like the home insurance. Storms are common in USA, there are some areas where weather conditions are sever, like in California the fire in the forest is common due to dry weather and winds. Even tornadoes and floods are common in USA. If you have your own home then the damage due to these weather conditions could cause you huge amount of money that you might not afford so people tend to buy home insurance or renters insurance (for Rented places) that covers the loss of your equipment at home.

Bank account / credit card fees in USA:

We will get in touch during the whole process however still if there is a delay, contact us immediately. We will carefully examine your order and will assist you with it right away. We require an alternative email to help saving you from any delay as sometimes the SPAM filter does not allow you to receive emails from us.

Petrol / Gas Cost in USA:

The monthly cost of petrol / gas completely depends on how much miles you travel during the given month. Currently in start of year 2010 the gas cost per gallon is around $2.5 to $4. The petrol measurement is in gallons not in liters.

Cost of Education in USA:

Cost of schools education in USA

Schools in USA is free for everyone regardless of the visa you are having, the schooling is not that expensive, there are few expenses that incur related to children learning and entertainment, the school last for 12 years that includes school and after 10th grade its high school

Cost of colleges / university education in USA

Studying in college or a university is so expensive that even US citizens sometimes take loan to get their children educated. The study for in state residents is somewhat less costly for everyone living in states as a citizen otherwise he will be considered as international student. The instate fee can cost be up-to $5,000 per semester (4 months) however for international students or people from out of state it can cost up-to $10,000 per semester (4 months).

The cost of study will be different for graduate students doing masters or PhD, we will discuss it in detail as well in other ection but these students can work and they also get findings, teacher assistantships, research assistantships that pays their fee but also student earn money as well.

40 thoughts on “USA Living Cost

  1. Adeel Ch Reply

    i am a US citizen, i was born in USA.
    after 3 years of my birth i came back to Pakistan with my family, after that i never went to US. But now i want to go to US to study for my better future, but i dont have any known link in USA for any kind of support.
    i want to go and live for an year to become in instate resident of any state so that i can take admission in a good university of US (as hostels are too expensive to pay)
    i need some help from you guys, so that i can find helpful Pakistani community to give me a moral support there.
    i shall be very thankful, if someone can help me for this.
    Kindly do reply if any Pakistani(living in USA) reads this.

  2. admin Post authorReply

    US citizens have to pay very less fee for university if they are residing in any particular university for more than 12 months. Means if you are living in California for more than a year and a US Citizen then you will be instate student and fee will be less. But in your case you will have to pay out of state fee that is more than double of the normal fee. around $8000 per semester.
    Fees and other costs depends in which area you have already studied and are looking to build your future?
    There are many pakistani’s ready to give moral support… where ever you go … you will find smiling Pakistani’s welcoming you….

  3. Adeel Ch Reply

    Hello, I am in US now. I reached last night in NY. This state seems to be very expensive and house rentals are very expensive here plus food are very expensive as well here.
    Can you please guide me that which state will be best for me to live(cost is the main issue). Thanks

    • admin Post authorReply

      Welcome to USA and Thank you for contacting PakistaniInUSA. NY city is no doubt one of the most expensive city in the whole USA however where you want to settle down completely depends upon what set of skills you have. If you are looking for some general labor work then big cities like NY are better as making money in smaller towns is difficult with basic set of skills. If you want to move to some less expensive place look for small town. Small towns in every state has low rent and low living cost however you will making less money there. Thanks

  4. Ali Reply

    Hi. I am serving as a Civil Judge here in Pakistan. I am 28. But, i want to move to USA and settle there. At present, i do not know anybody there. I have 5 years B1/B2 visa. Infact, i want to get masters degree in law and want to start my legal career in USA. I know it costs me much to get the master degree from usa. In fact want to know about the propects about the educated people from the developing countries like Pakistan. I have also a professor of Law with 4 years teaching expereince. Is it possible that i could get a good job there at the start of my career in usa?

    Your co-opertion will be highly apprecaited.


    • admin Post authorReply


      Hope you are doing great. Thank you for contacting I do not want to disappoint you however still would like you to know what the situation is in real. First of all the B1/B2 is simple visit visa and you can not work on it. You can only work in USA if you are a student (Part time work) or got a job (H visa) or is sent by any Pakistani company to work in their office (L visa) etc. There are very very few chances that if you come and get a job a company will sponsor you. Mostly people who have studied from USA get either jobs where employer sponsor them visa or they join recruitment companies which apply for H visa and arrange the employment as well however the recruitment companies takes more than half of your salary still if there is no choice, recruitment company option is also good.

      In your case, if you are looking for a job related to law in USA I think it will be difficult as Pakistani and USA law are very different (I am not in this field so cannot compare it completely) such jobs also require license for which you will be needed to pass some tests or degree etc (you need to search online about this for complete details)

      So there are two ways, one is to take admission in some of the USA university and come on student visa, this path is expensive and I am not sure if any university is offering any funding for Masters degree in law (You can search online if any university fund this program, for more details also visit studies in USA) If you come as a student then there are very strong chances that you will settle here easily.

      Second path is to contact any recruitment company to see if they are ready to take you i and arrange an employment + OPT or H visa for you.

      Hope this helps
      A Pakistani in USA

  5. Saleem Reply

    I have gone through the overview which has given me some sort of basic information. I am 50yrs of age and do business (Medical furniture mnfr / mchanical engineering works) in Pakistan and expecting immigration papers for my family soon.

    I cannot settle there due to business activites we have here in Pakistan. I have never done job in my life and if I stay there dont know what kind of job I can get to matchup the kind of life we are living here. So the best option is to do business.

    Can you suggest me type of business that can be started in USA. Which state is better where weather is temperate?


  6. Kayani Reply

    I’m nearing the end of my high-school in Pakistan. I have an on-going immigration process to the USA but it will be completed possibly next year. But I want to go to university in the US. I plan on paying for the education with work-study programs, fin aid and student loans and I plan to initially apply as an International Student and then after the immigration, change my status. I would like advice on where to apply for good affordable business or engineering schools and what would be the best way to manage the costs.

  7. nawab usman Reply

    hey! i want to kne tht i am going to apply for a student visa for USA..can u tell me type of visa which i am going to need there..and is it possible for student to work part time for my expenses..
    need yr kind reply

    • admin Post authorReply

      F1 visa and yes you can work, after completing the studies you will apply for OPT and can search for the job within the time OPT is valid, its time is either 12 or 29 month depending upon your filed. Usually during this time people get job. You will need an H visa (work visa) which will be issued by the company which hires you on the basis of which you will be able to work and stay in USA.

      Some details are in below mentioned link

  8. kamran Reply

    this site gives me what i was looking for long tme
    i am unaware of how much expenses occured on moving to usa including immigration process as money is the only issue i have but very slightly
    currently i am doing master in commerce from punjab universty but i love american railroads and my plan is become a conductor or enginer(driver) on railroad .but first i have to finish my studies and then work here for atleast 2 yrs to earn some money till my father retires in a year
    after this i am planning to move to usa to work on american railroad preferably on class 1 but i think its not possible to just come here and get employeed even though i fullfilled all the requirements of job
    i am thinking to come to usa and do some jobs that gave me enough to earn simple life for atleast a year and to understand the system of usa then to move towards railroads now i want to know that how much money minimum you suggest should i bring with me when i first comes there and when i look for small job what should be the minimum salary i should get as i own master degree but its useless in america
    and i have no relatives in usa so what diffiuclties i can face when arriving usa first time

  9. Arsala khan Reply

    I want to go to us to do software engineering in a good university how much it would cost to go us from pakistan and study in us

  10. Nadeem Anwar Reply

    Salam, I am unemployed, I am looking for a work in USA, if someone have any requirement of person please give me a opportunity ( I can work anywhere office, restaurant or shops) I am graduate in (B.Com) now in Dubai UAE,
    Looking forward to hear from your side
    Thx and waiting
    Nadeem Anwar
    00971 50 3823067

  11. Muhammad Tariq Reply

    As salam O alieQum,
    I am a student and i am doing DAE in computer information technology , it ll be over in couple of months.. i want to move to USA for further studies , i want to know that how much i ll have to pay for study at start [ admission in community college / visa / passport + include all the required things ]
    I’ll very thankful.

  12. Zeeshan Reply

    I am a Chemical Engineer with more than 09 years of experience in a Leading Multinational Company, presently working in Saudi and got some good responce from a reputable US company,have already gone through phone screen interviews. I would like you to let me know about the possibilities, is it really possible to get hired from an American co. while living in Saudi or what do you think is the rate of hiring ? Thanks in advance for your answer.

    Best regards,

    • admin Post authorReply

      Dear Zeeshan, in engineering field response is mostly good, best of luck, I am sure you can make it.

  13. Asif Khan Reply

    Hello dear all readers, I am from Mardan but living in karachi for study and work i am supporting my family . As all of us know that there is nothing in Pakistan . I want to move UK or USA or any other good country where i work and maybe i will study as well. But i am not strong financially is there are any good persons around who read my this post? Any one can give me Qarz e hasna i will return it to them once i got job there? I am ready to work with any company who want to hire me there? or who want to invite me there for job? i have worked experience as a assistant accountant and other related work. Best regards Asif khan

  14. aisha Reply

    What is a decent salary package to live in usa for a family of four member???

    • admin Post authorReply

      Decent salary package to live where in USA? USA is HUGE and cost of living drastically changes if you change cities or states. In San Fransisco or New York city, it should be 100k+ per year and if you are in a small city like in Christiansburg Va even 50+k is more than enough.

        • admin Post authorReply

          Dear Aisha, new jersey is expensive state to live however rents in different areas can drastically change because the area with good schools have much higher rents than others. The areas with lower rents aren’t very good, bad roads, trash on streets, crime etc.
          Grocery etc is also expensive if compare to other States however there is no Tax on clothing in New Jersey as far as I know

    • admin Post authorReply

      Dear Aisha, HSMP is UK Highly Skilled Migrant Programme, it has nothing to do with United States.

  15. Ali Reply

    Hi, i must appreciate your input. Need to seek your guidance. is it possible to apply for buizniss visa during visit visa in US. if yes….what is d procedure.


    • admin Post authorReply

      Dear Ali,
      You would need to come back to Pakistan to get any US visa processed

  16. Soban Reply

    i am in class 10th and next year probably in june i am going to usa.
    please tell me about there educational system and after doing my matric what type of study i will do there e.g O/A levels. Also tell me about there school/Colleges fees.
    Also guide me for my study there.
    Thank You!

  17. Inaam Reply

    Respected sir,I passed my F.Sc (pre-medical) from Pakistan now I want to study in (USA )medical college but I can’t afford the expensives so please kindly guide what I should do?I have to study there for my good future so please reply me !!

  18. Rehan Reply


    i am currently in pakistan. I have done MBA (I.T). Currently i am doing job in very reputed Organization around 2 more than 2 years as a Sr. Manager. I have been working around more than 9 years in different companies in Computer Hardware & Networking fireld.I have done few Microsoft certifications (Around 12) too.
    These days i am thinking about moving. So is their any possibility for me to go to america for better future.


    • Admin Post authorReply

      Dear Rehan, I am not sure about that, most people who move to United States on work visa are usually via company transfer from Pakistan office to United Sates office. Its easier for companies to bring an employee this way. The other work sponsorship is very lengthy for companies so they are usually reluctant about that unless they are unable to find anyone in United States to fill that position. You can try to look for a job and apply to see, you never know when an opportunity strikes.

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