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Working in USA has it pros and cons. When 1 USD = 47 Indian Rupees, USA gets the upper hand right?.

You might even say “Wow that’s lot of money” when you get to know how much I made in my first job as software engineer.

Typical Entry Level Software Engineers fresh out of college are paid from Rs10,000 to 25,000 per month in India. That’s about $212 to $532 per month. If you say that salary to some entry level software engineer in USA, they would be like – That’s impossible!

Salary vs Affordability

Just comparing the salary alone, we can look lifestyle, both United States and India has to offer. I’m going to use Transportation as an example.

  • India – Different modes of transportation options exist that caters to one affordability. If you can afford to pay for a motorcycle and pay for Petrol (called as Gas in USA), then you can get to own a motorcycle. If you cannot afford to pay for petrol, then you use public transportation.
  • USA - Public transportation is not well-developed as in India. If you happen to live in the place where there is no public transportation (buses, metros, subways) are forced to have a car. It doesn’t matter if you can afford or not, rich or poor, you have to buy a car. Everyone has to pay about $2.78 for 1 Gallon of gas. It doesn’t matter, how much money you earn, everyone have to pay the same for Gas, insurance and car maintenance.

Unlike India where you have options, in USA you are forced to earn certain amount, just to get along with your life. Do you see the difference in lifestyle and affordability? So, the moral of the story goes like this – to save little money, you have to make lot of money.

My Salary

When I started with my first job as Entry level software engineer, I was making decent money similar to what an entry-level software engineer would be paid. I was sharing a rented home (not apartment) by the beach with swimming pool. Driving brand new Acura.( Don’t ask me why I got Acura instead of BMW)

Monthly Expenses

I was enjoying my stay by the beach and spent lot of money in travel. But, I made sure I was saving at least 25% of my income per month. I had a budget and tracked every penny I spent. I didn’t have any education loan payment to make, so 25% savings per month was huge.

But, not everyone can get to save that. Not everyone can afford to save 25%. You might have to pay huge education loan and maybe you have credit card balance.

If you know what you spending and track your expense, you will be able to save lot of money. But, life in US is always tempting and without self-discipline you are not going to save much.