Living in America 2013

(382 Posts)
smartieknickers Wed 30-Jan-13 22:31:40

Howdy y'all! I was a long time lurker on the Living in America 2012 thread and in the spirit of my new year's resolution to 'get involved in more stuff' I thought I'd start a new thread, what with it being a month into 2013 and all that... So who's with me? grin

Link to previous thread

Brief introduction: I initially moved from Scotland to Houston, TX with my DH and DS (now 2) in 2011, but we moved to Dallas in September last year. We never really felt quite at home in Houston but for some reason we really like life in Dallas, even though it's pretty similar in a lot of ways. We have just today finally dispatched with the last of our Christmas visitors (we've had parents and in-laws here back-to-back for 5 solid weeks!!) so I'm feeling like I deserve a large wine and a medal

Welcome to America yellowbrickroad! In our experience renting houses and timelines was pretty similar to UK

Want want2b said about visas etc. we're married so I'm here in the spousal visa (H4) attached to DH's H1B visa - I can't work on this. If your DP only had a 9month contract he'd more than likely be on a H1B too so it would be up to his company to extend the job and visa beyond 9months. Also children don't start school here til 5yrs old so you wouldn't need to rush any decisions

Want2bSupermum Fri 08-Mar-13 19:10:00

Welcome yellowbrickroad Take a look in TK Maxx for hairdryers. I got my ion one for $30 from there and it was $150 everywhere else. It is an amazing hairdryer and still going strong 7 years later.

mamasr Fri 08-Mar-13 21:59:00

Thanks for all those replies! I shall look into it a little more. I cruelly had a 5 year student visa in 2006 but I ended up only actually staying in USA for about 6months due to family reasons so will need to check if I'd be granted another - if not I'm sure I'll be able to occupy my time not working just thought it would be a handy way to meet people whilst earning a little bit of money! Will be watching the thread out of interest & hope I'll be able to move over at some point!

mamasr Fri 08-Mar-13 21:59:38

Not cruelly *actually!

Fresh n easy is the place for bacon smile Trader Joes has nice sausages.

boo, I like fresh and easy bacon.

maybe I'll have to try it again, was very unimpressed with it before! I like TJ's sausages, but none of them come close to a proper British banger!

I'm missing home at the moment, not so much the UK (chance would bea fine thing, I'll 25degrees of sunshine over snow any day) but all the people who reside there

No true, I like the hoffbrau ones a lot though.

I think we can get frozen Brit style sausages here, we used to be able. We are happy with the TJ ones though.

I miss Thorntons though, but it is probably a very good thing I can't get it here.

Costco has Irish sausage in for St Patrick's day.
Also Marks and Spencer has free shipping to US and Canada right now, no idea how long for. But I'm getting new bras at last, and added knickers to the order too grin

So here's a question, I've been sniffing around the credit crunch threads as after a year of spending every penny then horrifically clearing out our entire savings on tax, we need to start being sensible.

Where would you go for the equivalent of aldi/lidl etc? I think the TJ debate was interesting, I think they are cheaper than Ralph's where are, Vons doesn't seem much different. I tend to only go to Costco every six months for wipes, bog roll etc - anyone done a calculation to see if other stuff (food?) is cheaper?

I'm wary of animal standards so do tend to buy more expensive meat but much less of it. But I get totally tempted and influenced by the farmers markets for veg (though if you go to the right ones I dont think they're any dearer than Ralph's)

Any thoughts or tips?!

rootypig Wed 13-Mar-13 06:29:52

Brow have you considered CSA (community share agriculture) for veggies? we did that in Santa Cruz and am sure it was much cheaper but then, you can't choose what you get (though do get a few days advance warning of what to expect).

Kungfutea Wed 13-Mar-13 10:52:35

If you have a Chinatown near you, go there to shop for fresh produce (wouldnt get meat there - although it definitely looks fresh - but do get fish). It is sooooo much cheaper than in the regular supermarkets. We got whole papayas for 60 cents each last week!

our chinatown doesn't really exist unfortunately, we do have Little Tokyo which is a schlep away but I live right by Little Osaka - they don't seem to have a market as such, the supermarkets are fairly cheap but I have NO idea what to do with most of the stuff (would love to learn), it very much caters for the Japanese community

Will look into CSA, thanks rooty

Any thoughts on Costco v anywhere else? We live right by a Smart and Final, must go there more often for pasta, cheese, bread (bleurgh) and other staple itms in bulk

We did some calculations and found a few things cheaper at Costco, but I don't do the whole shop there.
Each area is probably different, but for us.
Milk is cheapest at CVS (handy for us as it's pretty close)
Greek yogurt at Costco
Bread Costco
Granola bars Costco
Eggs, I wait for a sale at Safeway (I go there on the same day as Costco)
Pork chops taste better from Costco and are similar price to Safeway sale price.
Ground beef I get Costco and bag it all and freeze, same with pork chops.
School lunch box drinks and a few other bits for Dd are from Costco
Once a month we trek to Winco, they are cheapest on boxes of cereal, canned foods, pasta sauce, pasta, rice. Most dry goods actually. They have a nice veg section at the one we go to, we always get lots of apples carrots etc. Their free range eggs are cheap too.

Oh Smart and final nearest to us is dire. I drive past and go to either Safeway or Cost less food company I only get fruits and veg at cost less, the rest I can get cheaper at Safeway on sale.
Get a CVS card and a Safeway card, they help a lot. CVS gives you extra bucks back on what you buy.

I do CVS but never thought to buy food items there - do all toiletries/medicines/vitamins

Never heard of Winco though, need to check that one out! Especially as I always buy free range eggs and as we get through so many it can often cost us $7-8/week!

Our CVS sells Crystal milk, thats why we buy it. Hormone free it's usually about $3 a gal where at the normal grocery store it's closer to $4 or over for a gal, store brand is cheaper buy we've had trouble with mucus in it and I can't bring myself to buy it again. It was gross.
So Crystal or Lucerne for us.

Kungfutea Thu 14-Mar-13 01:03:33

Mucus in milk??? Ewwwwwwww

Kungfutea Thu 14-Mar-13 01:10:01

We also have Aldi not too far away. It's hit and miss as to what they'll have and not as good as Aldi in Europe but still pretty cheap

Want2bSupermum Thu 14-Mar-13 04:16:07

The problem with costco is that you have to buy so darn much of the food. We buy our meat there as DH is picky. Obv we have a lot of pork products and the only pork we buy is loin that DH cuts into chops. This really cuts down on the price as we get 25-30 chops out of a loin (cut them thin) for $20-25. All of our meat is frozen and kept in the chest freezer in the basement.

I limit the selection of fruit in the bowl. Right now we have apples ($1.09/lb) and bananas ($0.46/lb) from costco. I picked up an orange and 2 pears from the supermarket. I only buy grapes when 99c/lb and melon when on offer. Sweet potato is $0.69/lb and I buy the bigger ones so I lose less when I peel it. I buy a lot of my veg frozen from TJ. It is a lot cheaper than buying fresh.

I spend $50/wk on food for DH, myself and DD. If you write a list and only buy what is on the list you surprise yourself at how much you save.

Meh no winco in LA sad

mamasr Sun 17-Mar-13 22:43:23

Things have moved a bit quicker than I first thought and it looks like instead of LA we're very likely to be moving to NY.. DP is yet to have a interview but from exchange of emails its just a sort of formality. Are there any of you in NY?
We have to sort out our own visas as the job is something DP is applying for rather than an office transfer etc. It's a 9 month contract starting this time next year and I know I wont be able to get a visa to work but hoping DS & I can get one on the back of his!? Has anyone any experience in sorting out their own visas?

Double check they won't sort the visas out and what else they're offering for the relocation.

My DH applied to a totally new company too and we have other friends who have too (different companies) every company paid and organized at the least visas, flights, shipping of stuff, accommodation for at least a month and car hire...also get them to confirm at least subsidy of healthcare

Good luck! Exciting times

Kungfutea Mon 18-Mar-13 00:20:32

I'm not an expert but your best bet is probably to get married, at least on paper. Otherwise, which visa were you thinking of applying for? If you're married, your dps employer should cover the costs and a lot of the hassle as you'll be your dps dependents.

Be very careful regarding working conditions and health insurance. Annual leave here is pretty paltry in comparison with uk. Health insurance coverage can vary greatly. Look very carefully at co-pays, deductibles and coverage limits (not sure if that's still legal). Also check if you and ds will be covered if you're not married!

Good luck! We're in NYC and love it.

Kungfutea Mon 18-Mar-13 00:21:50

Ah, sorry, saw that you have to sort out your own visas. Is it an H1b? I dont think you can work then.

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