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Tinjana

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Tinjana, on 16 Jan 2017 - 07:56 AM, said:

 

Just taking it a day at a time at this stage...

That is the best strategy.

 

Moving here is like trying to replace all your CD's that were stolen. If you try to replace them all at once, it will lead to endless frustration and big expenses, but if you bide your time the collection will be built up again.

 

Don't be shy to visit thrift stores like Goodwill - people from all walks of life shop there! At the Dollar Store/Dollar Tree you can for example buy crockery at $1 apiece. It's not going to last you forever, but it does not matter. It's cheap and for now that's all that matters. At Goodwill you can find expensive clothing marked down to very affordable prices and very often the tags are still on them which means it's brand new. And they have crockery, cutlery, furniture, etc.

 

Check out your local Craigslist for bargain offerings and even free ones.

 

Best of luck! :)

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Tinjana, the Missouri DMV website should give you quite a bit of information about the requirements for licensing a vehicle, as well as getting your driver's license. (you will have to do the full driving test etc to get your license, but the sooner the better, as it is your easiest form of ID - until then, you will have to carry your passports around).

 

Try Carmax, Carfax, Autotrader etc. Also, if you know what you want, try the website of the dealership - e.g. Toyota, Honda etc. Best to buy from a dealer - stay away from private sellers - simply because they are used to dealing with all the ins and outs of titling, registration etc, while you are not.

 

As SJ27 notes, laws differ from state to state (e.g. in Georgia, I HAD to have a GA license to title a car in GA - and had 30 days to do it after buying the car, but in CA and in CO I could do it without a CA/CO license). Also, not all insurance companies will accept a foreign license, but you will find those that will - but you may well pay a higher premium initially (I did) until you have your US license. Mostly, car insurance is paid 6 months at a time.....

As for Cellphone - what you have through AT&T is about par for the course, given the different rates by the major carriers. There are '2nd tier' carriers, but not sure what coverage/service would be like where you are, so maybe good to stick with what you have for now (I started off on an AT&T plan similar to what you have, and some years down the line am now with T-mobile - mostly because of coverage, but also you get free texts, and free data roaming when/if you travel back to South Africa. To the best of my knowledge, none of the other major carriers include South Africa in their free international roaming network).

Good luck with everything - this is the 'easy/honeymoon' period, in the grand scheme of things - everything is new and exciting.........expect a few more really hard 'dips' before things start to really feel better in the long term - but stick with it.

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That is the best strategy.

 

Moving here is like trying to replace all your CD's that were stolen. If you try to replace them all at once, it will lead to endless frustration and big expenses, but if you bide your time the collection will be built up again.

 

Don't be shy to visit thrift stores like Goodwill - people from all walks of life shop there! At the Dollar Store/Dollar Tree you can for example buy crockery at $1 apiece. It's not going to last you forever, but it does not matter. It's cheap and for now that's all that matters. At Goodwill you can find expensive clothing marked down to very affordable prices and very often the tags are still on them which means it's brand new. And they have crockery, cutlery, furniture, etc.

 

Check out your local Craigslist for bargain offerings and even free ones.

 

Best of luck! :)

And make a beeline for your local IKEA. It's not just furniture, as many South Africans seem to think. They have a lot of stuff at cheap prices too - maybe not always quite as cheap as dollar tree, but stuff like this is a start http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/90247709/ and a lot of accessories like rugs etc are really cheap.

Also keep a look out for the discount stores - not sure what the ones in your area are but places like Home Goods, Marshalls, Ross, Century 21 etc will often have the same stuff as the major stores for way less as well as a lot of other good priced stuff too.

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Hi Tinjana,

 

Great to hear you've arrived safely and that you're starting to settle in.

SJ and the others are more than right. Everything does seem excessive and expensive at first. But they they have already said, once you're earning dollars it'll start making more sense and feel a little more natural. The US is a highly inflated market, but that doesn't mean there isn't value or good deals to be had.

 

On the phone side, sadly the same rings true. AT&T aren't exactly cheap, but there coverage is good and they're not even nearly as bad as Verizon which I have found rather a rippoff!

 

If your T-Mobile coverage is decent in your area consider migrating. You even get to keep your number. You should be able to get a 2-line family plan for a little over $80 bucks per month, with taxes probably closer to $90. That'll come with unlimited text and talk and 2GB of 4G LTE per line. That's already a saving of about $10 per month. Not much I know, especially considering you'll be losing a couple GBs in the deal, but there are bigger benefits to be had on T-Mobile.

 

Firstly their packages come with Binge-On data, which means you can watch things like Hulu, Netflix and a bunch of other video streaming services using your LTE data and it doesn't come out of your existing 2GB plan. Basically, a ton of free data for video streaming. If you're a cordcutter (ie. not interested in Dish or Cable TV) and watch Netflix and Hulu etc. you'll be saving huge on an streaming internet bill, basically anywhere between $30-$80 per month! And your unused data rolls over too!

 

Then there is their little-know Modem Router deal. Which means as long as you remain a T-Mobile customer and if you are considering getting cable internet, you qualify for an amazing Cell-Spot Cable Modem router for only a $25 once off refundable deposit. This will save you having to by one outright for anywhere between $60-$140 or rent one from your cable company for $10-$20 per month! Again, these all add up over the course of a year saving you hundreds of dollars.

 

Another T-Mobile Plan benefit is their international network roaming program which lets you piggyback on networks like Vodaphone when you travel overseas, paying only local rates for phone calls and you get free unlimited data and text thrown in too. The data is throttled and slower but still better than nothing or paying a small fortune! I used this when I was last back in ZA and it saved me the hassle of getting a pay-as-you-go sim and having to go through the ball-ache of RICA. Again.

 

Like I said there are benefits and value to be found if you know where to look. Saving even $10 on your cellphone bill a month will almost pay for Hulu or Netflix or nearly and entire annual Amazon Prime subscription, which gets you access to Amazon Prime Video and Music and free two-day shipping on all your Amazon Prime orders!

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Welcome to the US, Tinjana! I hope you settle in soon.

Take it day by day and don't be afraid to ask for advice. YOu don't have to take it if it doesn't suit you, but it might give you a start.

There is a South African group near you on Facebook. (Many people are willing to help you find your way around.)

https://www.facebook.com/groups/279318005415416/

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Thank you everyone!

We now have some administration issues: social security office says there is a mismatch with information the dept of homeland security has... said either our names were entered incorrectly or our immigration status changed? Don't understand how this could be.... the big issue is that my husband's employer won't let him continue training which equals loss of income until it is sorted out!!! They said it could take up to 4 weeks - now we are really 'moedeloos'!

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Thank you everyone!

We now have some administration issues: social security office says there is a mismatch with information the dept of homeland security has... said either our names were entered incorrectly or our immigration status changed? Don't understand how this could be.... the big issue is that my husband's employer won't let him continue training which equals loss of income until it is sorted out!!! They said it could take up to 4 weeks - now we are really 'moedeloos'!

Did you ever have SSNs before? I presume you've been to a SSA office in person with your stamped passports?

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We applied from South Africa through the US consulate and they process them in London....

For your SS numbers??

I've never heard of it being done that way. Anyway you're going to have to sort it out at a local SSA office with your passports and stamps.

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