As most of you may already know, the U.S. is a pricey country to live in and because of it, it is important that you manage your money cautiously during your stay. Depending on the location of the company, the size, and the current job market in that city, the salary range can vary from company to company, even if it’s the same exact position! So, it is very important that you are aware of the cost to live in in the particular city which you are applying to and that you do some research on the everyday expenses such as transportation, food, rent, and things like utilities. You should also plan ahead to be able to sustain yourself for some time before you expect to receive income from your first paycheck. You will probably not receive your first paycheck until two or more weeks after your program has begun, and that all depends on which date of the month you have arrived. With that in mind, make sure that you are prepared to support yourself financially until you have cashed in your first paycheck. Please remember that as per Regulation set by the Department of State, you may only be employed by the Host Company which you have been accepted to by the J1 Visa program. You cannot have a second job during your stay in the U.S.
We recommend that you open a bank account as soon as you have arrived in the U.S. Some banks may have different policies and you have to decide on the available options they provide you with. It is important that you look for the bank that best suites you and that you open the account in person. When you get there make sure that you bring things like: home address, home telephone number, unexpired passport, DS-2019, passport, birth certificate, and state driver’s license if you have one. Please remember to not keep money stored in a shoe box under your bed. Having large amounts of money stored in your apartment is extremely unsafe and you do not want to be caught in a situation where all of it has gone missing or it has been stolen. So, you should pay a visit to some of the banks upon arrival so that you can see which of them offers the best bank service for your needs. Often, it is better to open up a bank account that is known internationally and has branches all over the world instead of a local one. If you decide to travel even inside the U.S., you will more likely find more ATMs from that bank, therefore saving some money on unnecessary fees. If you are prudent about your money and follow a plan during your stay, you will be able to take advantage of the income that you are making and be able to use some of the savings for other fun activities such as traveling or even local sightseeing.