Cost of Living in USA on H1B or L1 Visa

How much Money can you Save in USA on H1B/L1 Visa? Living Cost ?

In Living in US by KumarUpdated : 454 Comments

One of the many drivers for many internationals to work in America on H1B or L1 Visa is the monetary benefits and savings they can make. The big question is how much money can you save in America ?   What are the typical expenses ?  How much is the cost of living in USA ?  Let me shed some light on these and give you some numbers for getting a high level idea.

In general, the net amount of money you can save is the total amount of money that you make minus the taxes and total amount of expenses that you incur for living. While you may make more money, you need to factor in taxes as well that a state can have to come up with nex expenses.

  • Net Savings = Income – ( Taxes + Expenses )

Let’s first look at the expenses that you would typically incur as an international on H1B or L1 visa.

Cost of Living in USA on H1B or L1 Visa ?

The below expenses are based on a big assumption that “You are married and living with your spouse, renting your own apartment” and  you are being conservative and not living an extravagant life with high end cars and expensive house rented.



Cost in USD ($)

Additional Notes on expenses

Rent ( double bed)


This can vary a lot by location you live. In bigger cities, this could be around $2500 to $3500 USD, depending on size and options.  In smaller cities, this could be like about $800 or less.


Typical car down payment, if you buy a decent small size car on loan. This can go up to $600 or more, if you go for BMW or more expensive cars.
Car Insurance


Car insurance varies a lot by driving record and place you live. You may pay double or more, if you live in big cities.
Car Gas


Average, if you have less commute. It can vary a lot by your travel. If you commute in high traffic cities, this can be as much as $250 USD.


If you have family plan with mobile carrier. This also can vary.


All the vegetables, snacks, etc. for cooking food. This may be more, if you cook more at home and your own country dishes…


Electricity + Cooking Gas + Water. This varies by region, in cold places, make sure you take where heat is included.
International Calling


Calling home and others in home country. This can be less now a days with WhatsApp and FaceTime
Eat Out


This varies by your food habits. Assuming you take a lunch box to office, this is just for eating out in weekends or occasionally.
Movies, shopping, other misc. expenses


This again varies. If you buy lot of clothes and other items, it will be very high.
Health Insurance (Optional)

100 to 200

This is optional as many of the decent employers give health insurance, so I will not add this expense for total calculations. This can be high as well, if you want a really good plan.
Total Expense



 You can even save more or spend more based on your lifestyle. I have not included any expenses related to your travel, buying clothes, other home setup things like Sofas, dining tables, chairs, etc.  Also, if you have kids, you will encounter some more expenses, which are not included in above.

Taxes you pay in US as H1B or L1 Visa holder

Taxes are a big part of your overall salary, you would end up paying anywhere around 35% as well depending on the state you live in and your status as single or married.

For example, If you make about $60,000 USD per year in USA, which is $5000 per month (Gross Salary).  For instance, if you live in a state like Wisconsin, your take home Net Salary  would be $3,600 per month ( approximate). See below from actual Payslip from Wisconsin state for someone making $5000 USD per month.

Pay Slip with Taxes in US for Wisconsin State

You can use something like ADP Pay Check Calculator to get an idea of Net Income that you will get after paying taxes. You can enter approximate numbers to get an idea. You can also read Taxes for Non-immigrant Visa Holders in USA to understand more.

Now that we know the Taxes and Expenses, let’s look at the savings.

How much can you save – Approximate Savings in State like WI ?

Based on above numbers, it comes out to below

Gross Salary  ( Per month)$5000
Net Salary   ( after taxes, per month)$3,600
Monthly Expenses$2345
Net Saving $1255

 All the above numbers are highly indicative and can vary based on state. Also, the take home or net salary varies by state with state taxes.

How can I estimate cost of living for other Cities or States in USA as H1B holder ?

There are two key things that you can look at to estimate the cost of living and how much you can save. As you can see from the above list, the biggest expense is Rent. If you check rental cost in a new city, you will get an idea. Also, next thing is to look at taxes in that state, once you have both of these, then you can use the numbers in above two tables and come up with your own living expense cost for any city in USA. In short, you need the below.

  • Rental Expense – How much is the average rent in a city
  • Taxes – How much are the state related taxes

The other expenses are pretty similar all across the US, except some insurance related things, factor in that aspect.

It is important that you understand the baseline savings that you can make, when you work on H1B Visa or L1 visa.  Just looking at 60,000 USD per year, without considering taxes and your expenses, will give you wrong perceptions about savings and your financial planning.

Did I miss any expenses ? How are your expenses living in US ? Share your thoughts in comments.

You can also read Cost of living in USA as Student on F1 Visa


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Comments ( 454 )

  1. VaraSatz

    Hi All,
    I work for a MNC company as Senior Associate Consultant and my company is planning to send me to US on L1 Visa. I will be travelling to Los Angles California .
    I have 6+ years of experience. And my company is offering me 70K USD per annum as US package.
    I am married with no kids. I will be travelling along with my spouse.
    Can somebody guide me if this is decent salary and help me understand tax policy and amount of saving i can make for a month?

    Thanks in advance.

  2. Irshad Nabeel

    Hi All,
    I will be relocating to NY office on L1 visa.
    Need your help to know how much salaray I should expect to spend a normal life.
    I will be staying with my wife and 1yr old kid.
    I heard NY is very expensive. What is the near by place to stay and commute daily for office.
    What is the avg. salary for an IT professinal with 9+ exp? How much I can save at minimum?

  3. Tom


    I have 5 years of experience (software) and my US company is offering me USD 85K salary. I am moving with my wife. office location is Sterling, Virginia. Is it a good salary? How much will i be able to save?

    1. Mrs.Kajal Vasoya

      Hi Tom,
      1.According to Virginia’s cost of living your salary is good but there is a scope to negotiate up to $90,000 can save probably $2000-$2500+ per month considering husband and wife, two people( no kids).
      3.As per my opinion, House rent is the only major expense which differs in each city. so I guess remaining expense like groceries-$500, car insurance-$100, mobile Internet-$60, Utility bills-$80 you can expect like so. the total living cost would be $3500 or less.
      if you want to know all the thing in details, you can check out my youtube channel (My121Cents) where I am sharing my experience and analysis as a first-time visitor(recent) in the USA.

  4. Irshad Nabeel

    Hi All,
    I will be relocating to NY office on L1 visa.
    Need your help to know how much salaray I should expect to spend a normal life.
    I will be staying with my wife and 1yr old kid.
    I heard NY is very expensive. What is the near by place to stay and commute daily for office.
    What is the avg. salary for an IT professinal with 9+ exp? How much I can save at minimum?

    1. Raghu


      I got H1b Visa, my employer is offering 80000$ at Virginia, in india i get 16lac per annum,my wife is Govt employee,i have 2 kids.(My daughter is studying best school in hyderbad,getting admission is really tough)
      I am confused,,,should i go for US and stay in india..
      How much can i save..if travel to us.

      1. Prakash

        Hi Raghu,
        if you are active, can I know How is cost of living in Virgnia & tax rules?
        What was your comparison outcome for India vs US?

  5. Viaan

    Hi, I would be working from Connecticut starting january. Im paid 74K$. Would that be sufficient and how much should I be able to save per month. Im okay living an average lifestyle. What is the tax there? In India, Im paid 14.5L per year.

    1. AS

      Welcome to US. If your office is in Stamford, Norwalk, Westport or wilton area than 74k is not good enough. CT Taxes are one of the highest one in US. Currently the taxes in CT is 6.35%. If you share the exact location I can help you in better way. I too work in CT

      1. Viaan


        Office would be in Danbury. Also would like to know how much I have to pay for house rent groceries and all the miscellaneous charges. Im not coming with family. Would I be able to save anything. What should be the ideal salary there?

        1. AS

          Danbury is one the costliest area. 1 BR Rent is Danbury will be close to 2000 USD. There are some cheaper options in Milford (Robert Treat), where 1 BR is close to 1300. You need to find some sharing basis. I dont know about your experience and technology so its hard to tell the exact amount of Salary. Groceries and all will be 300 for you i guess. But you must need car in CT as public transport is not much frequent and its expensive too.

          1. Viaan

            Hi AS,
            I have 9 yrs of exp and into Embedded Systems Development.
            I have made a rough calculation and the total expenses: rent, groceries, utility bills, mobile bill, internet and transportation are coming close to 3600 $
            The company is ready to pay around 78K now. Even with 78K, salary after taxes is coming to 4450 monthly. So, savings are coming to 850$ after all the deductions. I dont think for 850$, I need to travel this far away from the family as I have to pay for house rent and other EMIs as well.
            Can you tell me what should be the salary with which I can manage here in Danbury.

          2. Viaan

            Also would like to know how much sharing a beedroom would cost in Danbury and Milford. I see tje train takes 2hrs 45 mins to reach Danbury from Milford5( :15am. to 7:57, source google)

    2. Mrs.Kajal Vasoya

      Hi Viaan,
      Welcome to the USA.
      1.Salary depends on various factors, but after have look on your current salary in India you can expect more than $74k.
      2.because, as “AS” said Denbury is costlier, you can ask salary according to your job location. it is a different thing that where you will prefer to live for more savings but your company should offer you according to your job location living cost.
      3.According to me an ideal salary for such costlier area should be $85k to $90k.
      4. if you want to know more about very small – small tips and tricks, you can visit my youtube channel (My121Cents) where I am sharing my experience while moving to the USA as a first-time visitor.

      1. Viaan

        Thanks for the information Kajal.
        Yes, Im negotiating on the salary to match the location costs.
        121Cents channel is pretty uselful. 🙂

        1. AS

          Viaan, I would say go for at-least 90k. I think if you share with someone in Danbury , it should be at-least 850-1000 per month. if you stay in Milford it should be around 600 -700. Try other cheap states this place is damm costly with huge state tax. Car is must here.

        2. AS

          Danbury to Milford is close to 30 miles. Driving will be of 30 to 40 mins. You will get a decent used car in 10k. I am not sure about the train time. You can find it on google maps. You can also Car pool with people.

  6. Ganesh Didda

    Hi All,
    I work for a software company as principal s/w Engineer and by next year mid, my company is planning to send me to US on L1. My office will be at NYC.
    Currently I am in Bangalore and my salary is 19lac. I have 9+ years of experience.
    I am married and have a kid of 6 months old.
    Can any one please help me, sharing the cost of living in close by places in NY. Some of my colleagues are staying in NJ and they commute daily in metro. Is NJ cheaper than NY and is there any other place where I can stay with cheaper cost of living?
    Also, I do have an option to negotiate on the salary, please let me know how much I should negotiate to spend a descent life (not too much lavish) with a descent saving amount as well.?
    Btw, what’s the average US salary for an IT professional with 9+ exp (with skill set: MSSQL, HBASE, Python).

    1. As

      Hi Ganesh,

      Congrats on your move. Yes cost of living in NY is far expensive than in NJ. Lets say the rent of 1 BR house in good area in NY starts from 3.5 to 4k (Considering the house in NY downtown/manhattan/Uptown). Where as if you stay in Nj the same house with good community and amenities will cost close to 1800 or 2k. It can be even cheaper if you stay in edison which is like 1.5 hrs travel from NYC. I think you better go for negotiations with comp on salary. I think a fair amount for your exp skillset should be around 90k plus benefits.


      1. Ganesh Didda

        Thanks AS for your valuable comments.
        Can I ask you to help me in understanding the living costs in brief and how much I can save per year, assuming I was offered 90K.
        As I mentioned my family consists of myself, wife and a 6 month old kid.
        Considering my daily normal expenses in US and after tax deductions, if I prefer to stay in Edison.

        1. AS

          See savings depend on your expenses. See this way –
          for 90k After Taxes/health insurance premium it will be 2500/15 days (May be plus – minus 100) I am considering Health Insurance premium in this.
          Transportation if you live in NJ – cost 200/Month
          Grocery would be 500/Month
          Outside eatery depends on you. Close to $50/60 per visit
          Other household items – 200 per month(Again initially will be more for house setup)
          If no washer drier inside house than 40/50 per month
          Phone + Car insurance/Uber if not buying car will be again 200 I think per month saving will be 1000 at-least and than rest is on you

        2. Mrs.Kajal Vasoya

          Hi Ganesh,
          living cost and relocations expenses are vast points to elaborate, if you want to know them in details you can visit my youtube channel (My121Cents) where I am sharing all the small but important things regarding get settled in the USA with family. As a first-time visiter, I had the same set of questions in my mind. so if you are interested you can check this out. I have moved in the US recently. So trying to help people who are on the same journey as like me.

      2. Confused

        Hi AS,

        I have one query regarding edison living expense, I am being offered $65K there.
        I would be moving with my spouse there. Could you please help me with expenses.


  7. Kinshuk

    Hi Folks,

    My company is sending me to Houston, Tx on L1B. What could be the $ salary for a person like me with ~10 yrs of exp ( Senior QA level). Also is there no income tax in texas.?
    The big question is how much i will be able to save considering a family of 3(me, wife & 5 yr old son).
    lastly what is approx cost of education for a 5 yrs old.

    A quick help will be really appreciated.

    1. Mrs.Kajal Vasoya

      Hi Kinshuk,
      1,You can expect $75,000-$80,000 for in Texas as there is no Income Tax .
      2.Your saving may depend on your lifestyle. But normally you can save $15,000 -$17,000/year with family
      3.The cost of education : pre -school fees depend on how many days/per week you choose to go. Generally, you can expect $500-$700 per month.

      Texas is comparatively less costly than Oregon and California.

        1. Mrs.Kajal Vasoya

          you are welcome …..if you are visiting the USA for the first time and want more info for getting settled smoothly , you can visit my youtube channel(My121Cents) . Recently started to share my real life experience as a first time visitor.
          Thanks and Welcome to the USA

  8. Maverick


    My company is offering me a package of $73000 pa for Phoenix, Arizona on L1A. I have a total of 9+ years of experience and my current salary in India is around 14Lacs pa.
    I am planning to move to US with my wife.
    Is it a decent package?
    Please let me know average monthly expense in Arizona.
    P.S.: I am living a lavish life in India.


    1. Mrs.Kajal Vasoya

      Hi Maverick,

      Your package is decent for Phoenix, Arizona because Cost of living in Phoenix is 27% cheaper than Oregon and 46% cheaper than California(bay area)especially housing, Food and personal care.

      You can expect $2000-$2500 monthly expense.If you want lavish life than it could be $3000.
      Hope you got your answers now. If u know more about relocation expenses and small small tips while settling down in the USA for the first time . you can visit my youtube channel (My121Cents)where i am sharing my experience as a first-time visitor.

  9. Confused


    I am currently working with a pay package of 30+ in India. My wife earns about 10+. We are planning to move to US as my current company is offering me L1B to Seattle,WA with 130k+20k. My wife will be accompanying me with L2 and try to get a job there after EAD. I have done some research and know that I will be able to live comfortably with the salary I get. My question is, how easy/tough it is to get a job with L2 EAD for my wife? She does not want to sit home and I also do not want to ruin her career with my move. She is a Software Engineer in here and has 4 years of experience in same.

    Thanks in advance.

    1. administrator

      Getting job on L2 EAD is like getting any other job. There are no visa related restrictions or sponsorship required for her, so it should be relatively much less restrictive than normal H1B or L1 situation.

      1. Confused

        Thank you Kumar for your response.
        Do companies distinguish among people who are here on L2 EAD? I mean would a company be apprehensive that she has an L2 visa and might not want to hire her?

        Thanks again.

        1. administrator

          No, should not be. There is no where you mention about your visa status, when you apply for jobs. Usually, if you need visa sponsorship, you will tell it upfront that you need sponsorship. With EAD, that is not required and it is an advantage.

          1. Confused

            Thanks a lot, Kumar. Your responses have helped me a lot in planning my move. I’ll just have to check the job scenario in Seattle and take a call accordingly.

    2. Mrs.Kajal Vasoya

      Welcome to the USA , I recently moved to Oregon nearby Seattle.I have started sharing my experiences as a first time comer in the USA, through youtube. In that, I am sharing all small tips and tricks to save money while moving to the USA.My intention is to help people who r coming here for the first time . My youTube channel name is MY121CENTS . I can understand the pressure and stress while moving with family.If you have any question regarding getting settled with your home , feel free to ask.Thank you

  10. AVS

    I have lived here for 10 years now. For a family of 4 ( two teens) , the cost of living in New Jersey is approximately 5 k per month. Rent for a decent 3 bedroom apartment/home is 2.4 k including utilities, 2 cars EMI is 600, auto insurance is 250 for two drivers per month. Groceries around 600 k ( if you partially starve you can make do with 300). Lifestyle, eating out clothes, movies, games, gifts etc 300 per month, gas 150. Travel to india apportioned monthly ( once in two year travel) is another 250. I am not including vacations . Now if you cut to a completely different scenario, you can all the above in 3.2/3.3 k but think of what kind of a live you are going to live!. There are rickety 2 bedroom apartments available for 1300 bucks. You will not live the american dream and good life.

  11. Brajes

    Hi ,
    I ll be travelling to houston,TX soon. my salary is 65k, please let me know if this is sufficient for 2 people.
    what would be the taxes and rents. kindly suggest.


    1. Mrs.Kajal Vasoya

      Hi Brajes,
      welcome to the USA. I recently move in the USA .monthly rent in Houston, tx for unfurnished one bedroom apartment is around $1200 and furnished will cost you around $1800.Seven U.S. states currently don’t have an income tax: Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington and Wyoming. but it is better to check it online for surety.I am trying to help people who are moving first time in the USA by sharing my experiences through a youTube channel. if u have any kind of queries regarding getting settle your home with your spouse. you can check out my channel its MY121CENTS.Thank you.

  12. ibni_rashid


    I got an offer of work in New York hotel with 4400$ salary. I will be accompanied with my wife and two kids. Will there be any savings. kindly give detail

  13. Venkat

    I am coming on L1 VISA to Sunnyvale with my wife and two kids (8years and 2 years), wife will be home maker.
    I am earning 30L in India with a luxury life in good high-rise apartment and car and other luxuries. Saving close to 15L in India.

    I got an offer for 160K (All inclusive, before taxes), I am planning of 3-4 visits to India in a year.

    Is it wise to accept this offer? Can I save at least as much as I am saving here in India?

    Main reason for coming to US is to show to my wife and kids and peer-pressure(all from my batch have already visited US), otherwise I am comfortable here.

    Please suggest what to do?

    1. ru

      Wow 160k, you should take it, you can live in luxury

      Are you going on l1 or h1, are you sent by an Indian company.
      I have an L1 with Indian company but reluctant to go as they pay only 75k gross and that too have to stay in San diego CA.

      1. Venkat

        Yep.. L1 from India to BayArea. Thank you for your reply.
        Will wait for some more replies from people who are actually living in there..

    2. Raajnaamhaimera

      How much is the base salary and what’s the variable component? 160K is a good salary as compared to 30 LPA in India. I am earning about 28 LPA including 10% variable in India and the US equivalent for that is about 110K + 10K variable in CA or NY.

  14. SAK

    I have got h1b and currently I am earning 15L through ITjob and make additional 10L in a year through my business.My family consists of me+my wife+mom+2kids(one is 5yrs,another is 2yrs)
    now I have got h1b through an employer and got a offer for 63$ per hour on a contract job in florida(for over 6 months).I am confused whether to take a job in USA or not..Pls help me decide on this

  15. amit

    I have good experience in management, i want to move for US, i stablished my own business fr last 12 years. But now i am trying for H1B, Is this a good decission of not ? I must want to go US. please help me, how can get sponsors?

  16. Ammu

    My husband has got H1B Visa and we are planning to travel to Lansing,MI with our daughter ( 3.8years ). His salary will be 70k$.I will be on dependant visa and will not be working…..In india I am working as sr.embedded software developer with a CTC of 8LPA.IS it a good choice to quit my job and travel to US? How much we can save per month during the stay in US? What will be the avg expenses for my daughter’s education?Is it really difficult to find a H1sponser once I am in US

    1. Ramesh

      Why US? Any particular reason for moving out of India ?

      70k$ , 30% tax which makes in hand = 49k assuming two depends let’s take 55k to be in hand salary.

      Yearly expenses : 24k on the bare minimum side and 36-40k on decent size.

      What’s left as saving ? 15k (10lc INR )

      What’s not covered .. your emergency funds, travel to India for 3 people .. may be pay money to get h1 sponsor…

      Now assume two are working with 70k$ … Then you might be able to save 60k (39lc)

      But you child will not get time of both the parents nor his/her grandparents… Some care taker need to be hired which adds up the cost.

      My suggestion to every reader would be stay in india … Enjoy independence… Try to improve ur nation in what ever little you can or atleast see your near and dear once enjoying your comapny .

      Contact me to have a friendly discussion over this …topic

  17. Aditi


    My husband has got H1B Visa and we will be travelling to Texas with family (2 kids one 11 years and the other 2 years old). His monthly income after taxes will be $4000. How much will I be able to save?

  18. sds


    I am in India and I got h1b Stamped, planning to travel in next few months.
    I will moving with my family( wife and two kids, 6.5 year and 3 years old)
    I currently earning 35L per annum.
    How much salary should be equivalent to this in Virginia.
    Definitely I am expecting to save money better than India.

    1. Ramesh

      Physiological I feel you would like to save 30lc iNR per yer.

      Post tax and expenses around 45k per year you should save.

      Means 3500-4000 $ per month you should save.

      Let’s add expenses to this … Assuming 35lc inr India you have decent life style so would expect life style to improve so your montly expenses might come up to 3000-4000 per month

      So 6k-8k you should earn … Let’s add tax to it …

      Maths is getting hard ! For me .. assume 10k -11 k what it comes out to be before tax ..

      So we are talking about yearly of 120- 130 k


  19. Moorthy

    I am planning to move to Burlington,MA soon from india with L1B. I am a bachelor. I have been offered 65K dollar per annum. Could you pls give me a fair estimate on savings and expenses ?


  20. mittal

    Hi Guys,

    I am planning to move to san jose ,CA.
    What could be the average expense and tax for 100k salary for L1.
    Some website shows 22k tax and someone mentioned around 40k so please guide what would total tax on 100k for 2 dependent.
    I will travelling with wife and kid (less than one year)
    I heard it is very expesnive and hard to save in such salary.
    What could initial cost of setting up home (Bed/TV/Sofa/Kitchen) ?
    Any additional advice appreciable.
    Rent for 1 bhk ?

    1. administrator


      You can go to any online calculator and do this yourself. Set state as California, deductions as 3 (you, your wife, your kid) and filing status as married filing jointly.

      As for the rent, go to and look for apartments in and around San Jose.

      For furniture, you can start off w/ second hand stuff sold on craigslist. Lot of them is good (people sell it for dirt cheap when relocating) or buy from Ikea.

      Bay Area is expensive in general, and when coming on L-1, you would be stuck w/ the employer. Your wife can apply for EAD and can add to household income. If the child has to be sent to daycare, then those expenses also add-up.

  21. Abhayankar

    My Wife has got an offer for $62K in Virginia (as a chiropractor) I will be joining her during my MBA by end of the year. Will we be able to manage 2 possible senarios:
    a) My wife + me + 4 year old son (Cost for our living(rent food utility car gas etc) son’s education medical etc
    b) My wife + 4 year old son (Cost for our living(rent food utility car gas etc) son’s education medical etc and me living and spending separately in another state (based on MBA offer)

    Can you suggest which scenario is possible to afford with the $62K

  22. Pooja

    I wish to pursue advance diploma in HR in usa. I am single. What will be my living cost in usa if i live in college hostel? What are kob prospects for HR professionals there andcsalaries?

    1. administrator

      It varies by school. The admission letter will list the exact fees or you can check the University website that you are applying to get those details. I cannot advise on the prospects, you will need to your research…

  23. Vinay

    Hi All,

    I hold a valid H1B visa which is already stamped. But, my current employer is not able to identify any project for me @onsite and its been 8 months since my stamping.Frustrated with this, I started taking up interviews and to my luck I have cleared an interview and got and offer of14L per annum pkg in INDIA. Now, my current employer is asking me to travel on a temporary project to NewJersey and later I will be moved to charlotte for a long term project for $66000.
    I am in a confused state . Can you please suggest which option is better? Onsite or offshore?

    1. VJ

      People go to US for 3 reasons
      1) To spend few years in US , save some money and come back
      2) Go for GC and try to settle down permanently
      3) Just to explore and visit US

      If 3 is valid for you can go, if your goal is 1 or 2, then currently offshore option seems better.

    2. Ramesh


      66k is as good as 14lc
      .. what’s gaureente comapny will not call you back ?

      Switching job is us? What’s your profile look like if its neash technology or something like that you might end up on better Job… Else I don’t see things improving drastically.

      If 14lc offer comapny is good and you see long term potential then go with it …

      Think long term and you should be able to get your answer

  24. Ramu Chacha

    Can a family survive with salary of 62K in California area? I am not going to the US to save, I just want to see the place and roam around for 3 years, so saving is not an issue. I am just worried if I would be able to travel and manage occasional medical expenses. Has anyone achieved this feat yet 🙂 Also, the visa is H1b so I will change later if I have to.

    P.S.: I am going for sure, just wanted to know if I would have to beg on the streets in addition to working in office 😀

    1. VJ

      It depends on what part of california you are going to. If it is bay area, then it will be really difficult to roam around (roaming around too needs money). One more factor is whether you will be alone or with family.

      1. Ramu Chacha

        Thanks VJ, I will be with family and possibly admit my kid to some pre-school in 6 months and then send him to school. Total in hand salary would be around 3700 PM I guess. So below is what I am looking at.

        2000 – Rent + Utility
        500 – Food + Household
        500 – Kids Education and wife + my occasional shopping
        50 % medical – 300 $

        I now have only 400 % to go to office and and save for travel. Is this accurate?

        1. VJ

          Preschool of kid alone will cost you around 600.
          Rent + Utilities in bay area can easily be around 2500 (for 1bed room apartment).
          If you are a software engineer, then the average salary in bay area is around 100K. So you can negotiate on your salary.

          1. Ramu Chacha

            Thanks much! It is a take it or leave it situation, no room for negotiation. I will see how it goes once I land. It could be anywhere in CA so I am hoping some areas would be cheaper than the other and possibly I can have a longish commute to save on rent. If all else fails, change job after 6 months.

    2. Ramesh

      No you won’t have to beg for sure !

      Weather you will save to go around and see different places ! Not sure..

      You said your just going for 3yrs .. and at the end you said you can change comapny ! Which makes me feel you will stay long term !!

      And anyways you made up your mind !! So don’t listen to anything 🙂 and go ahead and enjoy …

      Life does give you second chances just in case if you feel like coming back to india

  25. Rana

    Can you please tell cost of living in Pennsylvania. With minimum of how much salary, a small family (husband, wife nd 3yr kid) can survive.
    Thank you.

    1. Pkan

      I am working out in Philadelphia and staying in the suburb PA with my wife (30 mins by train).

      1BHK rent – 960$ (some ppl pay 800$ in same apartment)
      utilities – 50$ internet (company pays) + 40$ electricity +80$(heat+water+apartment charges)
      Groceries – 250 -300$
      Mobile bill for 2 lines- 60$
      Train pass – 140$
      eating out – 100$

  26. Saty


    I am expecting L1 offer of $70000 per year (with out Tax deductions) and location is San Diago, CA.

    I am married, have 4 year Kid and my wife is housewife

    Please advise if this is manageable Salary. and how much i can save in a year ?

    1. Navneeth

      Hi Saty,

      I have been living in San Diego, CA for 4 years now. You can survive with 70k here with your family but savings could be a bit difficult. It depends on your life style as well. So good luck.

  27. Chimsu236

    Is 73k in Reno, Nevada good package..I am going with my wife. Can you tell me if I can save enough there? What is the cost of living in Reno?

  28. Bipin Dash

    Hi ,

    I am getting 60k$ per annum from my employer.I am going to riverview florida.
    I am bachelor.Could you please let me know how much I can save ?In india I have 16k $ per annum.


  29. Amit Joshi

    I completed my Civil Engineering Diploma in 2007. I have 11+year experience in civil engineering and management, Now I want to move to USA, but i want job in management sector please suggest me the best sector for me….management or engineering and the best package in?

    1. administrator

      Amit Joshi,
      If you plan to work in US, you need to find a work visa ( H1B Visa ) sponsor. For this year, the H1B quota is over. You will need to find a company that is in US or MNC that can sponsor you H1B visa for next year quota and apply through them.

  30. Suhail

    HI ,

    I am planning to move to BOSTON,MA soon from india with H1B dependent wife and 4 yr old kid. I have been offered 60K dollar per annum. Could you pls give me a fair estimate on savings and expenses ?

    1. Pravin


      cost of living in Boston & suburbs is expensive as compared to other cities. Based on current rental market 1BHK is around $1400- $1800, Car Insurance is expensive and for rest of the expenses i would say would be more or less as per the detailed expense shared

  31. @T..

    Hi, I am working in India as a Software Performance Tester. I am getting 10Lpa for my current role. My exp is 5 years. I am 2010 Btech passout. I am single and currently planning to go to US for MS. to be specific I am from an average private college with an average grade(63% along with a few carry overs) for my B_Tech. Please let me know some benefits/drawbacks I might face monetarily in both short term and long term. I am a sharp minded person and was distracted a lot during my education and initial years of caarrer and made it till now with almost zero efforts.

      1. T

        My motive towards study in US is career and money oriented. So i think i will get a reservation under student visa for 3 years(last year of my stud+OTP) correct me if i am wrong about staying in student visa category during my OTP period.

        1. administrator

          It is OPT. There is nothing called reservation. You will need to complete your course and then apply for OPT…Most of the times OPT gets approved, but you need to find a job to retain your OPT within certain amount of time. You need to be clear that, if things do not work out, you may have to return with H1B lottery…be aware of the fee you pay and other circumstances and make an informed decision.

  32. Rohan

    Thank you for detailed breakup in the cost and all these member comments are also very helpful. I am trying to understand for L1 visa job that I have been offered 120k plus bonuses is good enough money for a couple in New York ? We don’t have any children and we don’t have any liabilities in India. However we are very outgoing and like to enjoy to the fullest. With this job, will we be able to have a same life in the states ? Especially NYC as the city in itself is expensive. We also want to stay in the city and enjoy the city life, I understand the rentals can be high. Can someone give us a clear picture?

    1. Ana

      I am having two opportunities…one in Plano Tx salary will be 103000 and other in Fairfax VA having $ 145000 offer . Can you please suggest me which place is better if we campare savings ,cost of living as well as in future if I want to buy house there ?

    2. administrator


      I think it is a decent salary. Not handsome, but decent. Advantage of being on L-1 is that your spouse is eligible to apply for L-2 EAD and can add to the family income. I am not from NYC, so cannot give a more detailed breakdown.

    3. Kunal

      I am coming to Little Rock, Arkansas (US) for 1 year. My company offered me USD 80K per year. I am married with 4 year Old Son.

      Will 80K is sufficient for Little Rock, i just want to live a simple life there with a common basic necessities.

      Can someone just give me an average cost about, schooling, grocery, other utilities like gas, cable, internet, water, electricity and all…

      this way I will get some idea about the average cost i have to spend per month.

      Also what will be Income Tax rate on L1-B Visa, if my stay in US will be more than a year.

  33. Amit Joshi

    I am amit joshi (33year age) from rajasthan, I have my own construction company, 12 year experience in engineering and management field, I earned approx 30-35 lacs yearly, now i want to migrate to US, but i am confuse for the field of job i did diploma in civil engineering but i want the job in management, i got many jobs of project management but did not applied
    please suggest me for the field and minimum salary…

    1. Curid

      Hi Amit

      It is not possible to migrate to US with construction/civil experience. Except for technology jobs, it is nearly impossible to find an employer who will file a H1b visa as there are enough American workers available for those jobs.

      You should look for other countries, may be.

  34. Rinku


    I am having around 13 K annual income in India. I have H1-B visa and would be travelling to Houston, tx on 78K annual salary along with my wife and 3 year old kid for 1 year.

    Need you help and suggestion on cost of living or an average monthly expenditure (including school fee of my child).

    How much i will be able to save on monthly basis.

    Thanks in advance

    1. VJ

      Your approximate income/month after tax = $5000
      House Rent + utilities = $1500
      Kids school – $500-$1000
      Groceries etc = $500- $800
      Medical insurance – depends on your employer(if employer doesn’t provide insurance, then around $1000 for family)
      Rest depends on your life style.

      If you are not extravagant, then you can save around $1500-$2000.

  35. Deepu

    My company is offering me L1 visa with 75K for Hermitage, Tenneesse location. I am married (houese wife) and have one year old boy. Will i be saving any money with this salary if i accept the offer.

    My current salary in India is 13 L.

    Please suggest

    1. Curid

      Irrespective of savings, people have desire to go to US anyways. Why question then.. Lol.. Will you skip the offer with an advise from a stranger in a public forum? What ever advise you get, you will finally decide to go to US, why bother asking then.

  36. Om

    Hi All,

    I would need your suggestion to take my decision. I am currently earning 16 Lac/Annum in India & working as IT manager. My company has offered me USD 76K salary in L1A & Phoenix (AZ) will be my location. I will be coming here with my wife (not working) & son (7 years old)
    Please suggest on following –
    1) Should I take this offer of US? If yes, how much can I save?
    2) Is 76K proper for my experience level of 12 years in IT? Should I ask for more? If yes how much?

    1. administrator


      76K for 12 year experience looks on the lower side. Although your son would be able to get public education for free, yet there are lot of other monthly expenses like rent, cable, gas, insurance etc which will keep your monthly savings to minimal.

      In addition, b/c this is L-1A you cannot change employers/job. See if you can get a better salary.

    2. VJ

      You can get around 1 lac/annum in arizona based on your experience. But the indian companies always tend to be on lower side of salary. you can negotiate with your employer. if you get 90k, i think you can accept.

  37. Mani

    My husband is working in Spokane, Washington state and his income is 40,000USD per annum. We are planning to move there as a family with 1 year old kid ( J2 dependent visa) and my mom ( B1 visa).
    Please share the cost of living and possibility of saving in this region.

    Thanks in advance.

    1. administrator


      I don’t know the expenses in Spokane, but 40K for a family of 3 would be too low. You may survive but there won’t be much of savings.

      How much is your husband able to save there now as a single person?

  38. Anonymous

    I have 5 years of experience as a java Developer and my current salary is 6lacs/PA, A consulting company named Tech Brains Solutions inc had filed for my h1b, on LCA salary mentioned is 60k USD, i am awaiting for my visa interview in couple of weeks, they have asked me to sign a contract of 2 years and if any thing happens in between i wil hav to pay fine of 15K USD,

    the consulting firm is based in NJ however i dont know which state i wil be working in as i wil be sent to work for other clients

    should i take this oppurtunity and come to US would i be able to save a lot of money atleast 1.5lac/month???

    and what questions should i ask my employer or things that i should know beforehand… please guide me as i m really nervous about it


    1. Vj

      Are you single or having a family? A lot depends on that? Even if you are single. It will be almost impossible to save 1.5 lacs/month. A big portion will go into taxes. Accomodation and medical. Then comes your internet, phone and car expenses. It depends on your life style too

      1. Anonymous

        I am single and live lower to moderate life, after all my expenses i should be able to save atleast 1 lakh ?can i? otherwise whats the point of going so far away from family…

    1. Amit

      A single bedroom in multi bedroom should cost you around $600 -$900 in NJ. The above table does not include medial costs. Usually some companies take around $100 per month for Health benefits premium from paycheck pre-tax. Usually lower the monthly premium more the Deductible. After tax + medical premium you are looking at take home pay of $4600 per months.

      You can save anywhere from $1500-$2500 depending on your life style. Look good on paper but not in reality.

      – Amit

      1. administrator

        Great point on health insurance, I missed that. I have added that iteam as an optional expense to the above table. Thank you !

  39. rahul

    Reposting –

    Hello Experts,
    My company transfer from Delhi to NYC/Manhattan being offered 120k+18bonus. Married with no kids.
    Could someone please give us an updated breakup for cost of living and money we can save.
    appreciate your help in advance


    1. administrator

      The above table in the article lists everything itemized. Just consider Rent as about 3000 USD, if you plan to stay close to the NY city. If not, that can come down to 1500 USD as well.

  40. Vishnu

    Hi All,

    I will be getting a job in Santa clarita CA in L1 visa with 60k salary before tax.
    Can anyone guide is this advisible to come to USA with my wife & 3 kids.
    My salary in India is 7 LPA & living in chennai.
    I am confused a lot to take this decision.
    Can I save any money if I move to USA with my family.
    Pls guide me.

    Thanks in advance

    1. administrator


      60K for a family of 5 in CA is pretty less. CA is one of the most expensive states to live in and has one of the highest tax rates.

      I assume when you say L-1, then your current Indian employer is the one sending you to US. Can you negotiate the salary w/ them?

  41. rahul

    Hello Experts,
    Took me really long to read all 249 comments – was very useful, my company transfer from Delhi to NYC being offered 120k+18bonus. Married with no kids.
    Could someone please give us an updated breakup for cost of living and money we can save.
    appreciate your help in advance


  42. Prem

    Hi my present company offering me l1b with 120k to move MA or NH.right now my CTC was 18 lak and I have a kid of 1 year. Can I how much I can save if I live in nausha NH.

      1. Prem

        Hi Sourabh,

        Thanks for quick reply.Can I know how much I can save monthly if my company pays me 90k? It will be more helpful for me while discussing with my company.Thanks you Sourabh in advance

        1. administrator

          Don’t know as I have never lived there. Maybe there are online calculators available that can help you with this.

  43. Sac

    Any idea what will be in hand salary for 170000 USD in NJ
    we are trying to migrate just to have feel of US for couple of years
    Family with 1 Kid


    1. AA

      ADP Tax calculator is quite accurate for this(except medicare which varies from company to company):

      1. Sac

        Thanks AA, i tried it but i am quite unaware about W4 and other exemptions in taxes , so wanted to get rough idea about how much you end up giving as Taxex+medicare +etc….

        1. administrator

          In the link above, select NJ, set state/federal filing status to Married, number of exemptions to 2 (your wife and child) and it would give you the take home salary.

  44. Gocooleshwar readdy

    Need some urgent Tips to save maximum per diem for my US visit .
    Hi All,

    This is chitresh from TCS Hi tech city Hyderabad. TCS is sending me to New Jersy for Johnson & Johnson Project. I want to save maximium per diem allowance. What should I do?
    I have already done the following things:

    1) I have packed 7 kgs of Rice , 7 bottles of Pickels and 2 dozen maggy noodles.
    2) I have packed 2 dozen of medimix bath soap.
    3) 6 tubes of shaving cream.

    How much does a hair cut costs in America?
    Without taking bath, how many days I can go on? I hope this will cut down my consumption of soap and shampoo.
    My colleagues told me visit Mac Donalads for Lunch and dinner. Is it cheap?
    Whether pirated telugu movies are available in New Jersy?
    Can I access at client site?
    Can I get curd rice and rassam in new jersy?

    What else I need to take with me?

    1. Ramesh

      Are you serious ? With this .. Your trying to save soap by skipping bath ? And coming here you want pirated movies also ? I am speechless after reading this comment from you

    2. Varun

      Why don’t u buy a packet of bread for 3 dollars instead of going to mcdonalds. U can survive for 2 days on 3 dollars. Come on man. Give us a break. What’s wrong with u. Americans laugh on Indians because of this kind of mentality.

    3. sabarish

      I’m assuming this wasn’t seriously posted. But nice to read how not to live a life. Living in US from India or elsewhere is a way of upgrading your living . Not the other way around 🙂

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