Now that you are in the U.S., what's next? Where do you go to buy food? Where do you go to buy "normal stuff"? Where do you go to shop?

Coming to the States you’ll soon enough find out the common brand names such as Walmart, Target, Family Dollar, and so on.

The most common name you’d here is probably Walmart, which is the chain of supermarkets nearly everywhere. The price is among the cheapest and you can buy basically everything here. They also have sales and sometimes you can get very good deals. It’s used widely and is my favorite store (as well as nearly all my friends’). I highly recommend checking it out if you are students trying to minimize the cost of living. You can even print photos there. The only downside of Walmart is because it’s cheap, you can come across any type of people there. I personally haven’t ran into any situation in which I would be uncomfortable, but I have heard many complaints beginning with “The Walmart people….” Be prepared.

Target is a better Walmart. The price is higher and some people say the quality is better too, which means less uncomfortable case will happen. You may not see fresh food in Target though.

Dollar Tree/Family Dollar/Dollar General/etc are the other type of stores you can go to and buy everything with $1. However, this is only true in Dollar Tree. In other store, expect to see some products with higher than a dollar. This is heaven for decorations and cards – you can buy a pack of small bank cards for a dollar, or a good card for $1 there instead of spending $3 on a card in Walmart. However, there are certain things you don’t want to buy in Dollar stores, such as food (not-at-all), cosmetics, pads/tampons, and so on. The food in these stores are not replaced regularly so their quality is not trustworthy at all; but candies are okay. Pads/tampons here are cheaper but they can be from off-brand companies, so be careful. I use the pads from Family Dollar and I am alright, but many friends have said they may cause some reaction or can be of bad quality.

The last resort is Amazon. The Student Prime Student upgrade is free for 6 months and you get 2-day free shipping for products labelled Prime. Sometimes Amazon Prime can get you better deals than drive half an hour to Walmart.

Of course there are stores for specific purposes, such as Staple for office supplies, local groceries for fresher and better food, Book-A-Million or Barns and Noble for books, Bed Bath and Beyond for toiletries and lotions, etc.

For clothing, Walmart works, but I recommend going to the local mall for more choices and more discounts. There would be tons of clothing shops for you there. If you don't mind second-hand clothing, definitely check out Goodwill!! It's a mecca for used stuff. Even though you never know what you'd find in Goodwill, if you search hard enough, there would be nice things. If you don't want to spend tens of dollars on a winter coat, Goodwill can help you with a good one with less than $20.

Prepare your wallet and go!