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Cost of living in USA

Etats-Unis - ENG

Coût de la vie

Overview of the cost of living in the United States

Making a comparison of the cost of living between France and the United States would be too complicated. Expenses vary from one state to another and several factors have to be taken into account when judging the cost of living.

We can note for example that medical expenses in France are almost free or almost all reimbursed compared to the United States where this subject is very complicated. On the other hand, some consumer goods such as gasoline are much less taxed in the United States.

A few tips before moving to the United States: compare prices, don't hesitate to haggle and don't miss the great sales period. Don't forget that Americans are the kings of consumption, so analyze your purchasing capacity carefully.

You should also know that the price of a rent in the United States depends on the reputation of the neighborhood and not on the size of the property. To find out more about the cost of living in the United States, please refer to our table below.

Methods of payment

Most banks in the United States are open from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on weekdays and from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on Saturdays. You can easily find 24-hour ATMs outside each of the many banks in the US.

If you have an international credit card such as Visa or Mastercard, you will have no problem paying in most shops. However, fees are always incurred and can be very high in some cases. To avoid them, we advise you to open a bank account, especially for a long student stay in the United States. Please note that you will not always get a credit card but rather a checkbook.

If you are refused for X reason, try to carry cash with you at all times during your student trip. In addition, some shops and small restaurants far from the big cities only take cash.

It is possible to pay through "Travelers Cheques" but this is an endangered method of payment.

Telephone and Internet

Connecting to a telephone network is easy in the United States. The costs involved are similar to those in France. Here again, think about comparing prices before because the competition is tough!


If you use your phone, be aware that the costs will be quite high. We recommend it only for a short student stay in the United States. If this is the case, remember to unblock your mobile phone with your French operator before you fly to the United States for your student trip.

You will therefore have the choice to buy a mobile phone from the American telephone operators. The most popular are : AT&T Mobility, Verizon Wireless, Sprint Corporation and T-Mobile.

Public telephones are becoming less and less common. But you'll still find them in major train stations, hotels, airports and other public areas in the United States.

To make a call from France to the United States and vice versa, the numbers will depend on the state in which you are/will be calling. You will find more information on each state in our cost of living theme of the chosen state.

But here below is the general information on the issue:

  • From France to the United States: 00 + 1 + 3-digit regional city code + correspondent's number.
  • From the United States to France: 011 + 33 + 3-digit area code + correspondent's number.


You'll find free, unlimited wifi in almost every establishment in major U.S. cities. There are also many Internet cafes. So don't worry, you'll have plenty to interact with in France at low cost when you travel to the United States as a student.

The main providers are Comcast, Verizon and AT&T.


It is important to know that in the United States, tips are rarely part of the bill and that it is also the main remuneration of the waiter. Therefore, the amount of the tip is estimated to be between 15 and 20% of the bill. Leaving 0 to 15% means that you are unhappy with the service.

If the latter is included, it will be mentioned on the "tip" or "free" note with the amount. Tipping applies in hotels for porters and valet parking. (between 1 and 5$), taxis (10% of the bill), supermarkets when an employee helps you fill your bags (1$) and tourist guides (between 5 and 10$).

1 tenue d'été (H&M, Zara…)
1 tenue d'été (H&M, Zara…)
1 paire de basket de marque
33.29 €
Etats-Unis - ENG
45 €
103 €
Etats-Unis - ENG
84 €
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