PictureMy 1st car - a 1972 Plymouth Cricket
In North America, many of us grow up in cities/towns where having a car is a sign of adulthood. I remember teasing other kids who didn't get their driver's licenses as soon as they could. We grow up believing / thinking that owning a car is a necessity and a right. I wanted a car so bad when I got my driver's license that I bought a 1972 Plymouth Cricket was $200. I sold it a year later for $220.

I have lived in 5 different cities/towns in North America. My hometown - where having a car was needed. A small city - a car was also needed. A big city - where I had a car, but probably didn't need it). Another big city that was very transit friendly. And unfortunately, right now, I live in a city where owning a car is a necessity. Some American cities are unfortunately not bike / public transit friendly.

When I lived in Montreal, I was transferred there by a company that initially told me that the transfer was going to be only for a few months.  I did not move many of my personal belongings to Montreal (including my car). I inadvertently was trained to live without a car. Eventually, after a few months, it became clear that I was going to be needed for more than a few months - by that point in time, I decided to get rid of my car.  Let me explain how I felt that my way of life was actually IMPROVED and how I saved money.


 
 
Getting your first credit card in the United States can be daunting.

Its a tricky system. You can't get a credit card without having a credit history. You can't get a credit history without getting a credit card. 

Also, its nice to have a credit card for expenses when you first arrive; however, you may not immediately have a Social Security Number (SSN) which might cause problems with most banks. 

Keep in mind that a lot of foreign banks issue US dollar denominated credit cards, but most of the time this will not help you because it is still issued by the foreign bank. Your goal here should be to get a credit card and start building US credit history, which can help you qualify for loans, mortgages, cell phones, etc.

Here are my suggestions: