Realistic budget for new immigrants


It’s my first thread here, thanks in advance for the patience to read this and any advice you can give us.

In January we’ll leave our home country and move to the US (New York, more exactly). We are 3, husband, I and a 5 year old girl). For few weeks we’ll stay at our good friends, but we’ll also need to figure out a rental and start our lives there.

What are we looking at, on a monthly basis?

  • rent in Queens / Brooklyn - I see it’s about 1300-1800 … we’ll prolly settle for the smallest at first.
  • food - I cook at home, so not much eating out. We already know few good ethnic stores, but I don’t know how much food / groceries will cost.
  • insurance - have no idea how much it will cost … .we’re solving all our health stuff at home, since it’s way cheaper, but we’ll need to have a family doctor and insurance
  • retirement - we’ll probably get an IRA, don’t know …
  • girl’s school - we are planning for a state school, don’t know how much it will cost on a monthly basis. She’ll probably get in kindergarten right now …

We don’t plan on getting a car, though husband dreams about one. I have no idea if we’ll get a job or make my web design business work, but we’ll need to figure out a way to make money soon, since our savings won’t last too long.

From your experiences … how much do you think we’ll need to spend to cover for these? Any advice?


I’m not sure what your citizenship status needs to be, but health insurance through the exchanges (Obamacare) should be heavily subsidized if you don’t have much income. If you have to purchase it outright you are looking at $1000+ per month. If you or your husband have a full time job lined up, usually healthcare is partially covered as a benefit.

Public school is free. Private school is anywhere from $10-25k per year.

Rent seems a little low for NYC, but I am not that familiar with the different boroughs.

We spend about $500 per month on food for a family of 4 (2 very young kids). Some spend more, some spend way less.

Hope that helps as a ballpark starting point.


It helps a lot, thank you :slight_smile:

My friend is telling me that we have a chance to get some health insurance for free or cheap, as we’re just getting our green cards now. Don’t know for sure, until we actually land there and see what we have to do.

We’re looking at a small one bedroom apartment, so the rent should be less expensive. Not to mention we’re not interested in Manhattan, so it shouldn’t be as steep. Again … we’ll see there :smiley:

Unfortunately we don’t have any jobs right now, we’ll have to start looking there as soon as we get to the US. I’ll try to push my web design business as much as possible, so that I can also take care of the kiddo.

Thanks again for the support, your insights really help.



You need some income to buy an ACA policy otherwise you will go on Medicaid.


Ohhh, good info, thanks so much for it. Am checking it right now.