Personal Finance


This post shows you how to buy groceries at Sam’s Club. If you’re new to the United States, you will need to find all the ways that will help you save money.

Get a $20 e-gift card by signing up using my link:

Sam’s Club is a membership club, meaning you can enjoy lower prices but you need to buy in bulk or in bigger packs of goods. You cannot buy a single 2-liter bottle of soda, you need to buy six! You cannot buy four pieces of paper towels, you need to buy a pack of 24!

If you prefer to watch, check out the video below:

Membership Fee

Sam’s Club has two tiers of membership: Club and Plus. The Basic Club membership costs $50 per year while Plus membership costs $110.

Basic membership is great if you think you will not be buying a lot of things from Sam’s Club. But if you anticipate spending at least $300-$500 monthly, then it’s best to opt for the Plus membership. the membership fee looks expensive but we pay for our membership fee through Sam’s Cash, which you can earn by buying eligible items.

Of all the perks listed below, Sam’s Club Plus membership is worth it because of free shipping and Sam’s Cash. We are a family of five, so we definitely shop a lot at Sam’s Club.

What to buy at Sam’s Club

Food items. You can buy rice, canned goods, soda, meat, snack items, chips, cookies, and almost all the food items on your grocery list.

Party supplies. Planning for a party? Get some paper plates, plastic cups, aluminum trays, and many more!

School and Office supplies. They also have school and office supplies such as paper, notebooks, post-its, and printer ink or toner.

Furniture and Appliances. They also have freezers, refrigerators, window air conditioning units, and more. Couches, shelves, gazebos, pergolas, and even yard slide and playground sets for kids!

Cleaning supplies. You can also get paper towels, detergent, dishwashing liquid, mops, floor cleaners, and fabric conditioner among others.

Fruits and Vegetables. They also offer oranges, mangoes, grapes, strawberries, as well as broccoli, cauliflower, and more.

And many more! Sam’s Club pretty much sells anything you can find at your grocery store.

Use Scan and Go

If you don’t want to wait in line for a long time, use Scan and Go! Download the Sam’s Club app on your Android or iPhone. You will essentially scan all the items you bought and pay on the app. You need a credit card for this to work! I don’t mind doing it because I don’t need to line up at the counters. As soon as I am done, the Sam’s Club app sends a QR code that an employee at the gate will scan.

Get a $20 e-Gift card when you sign up using my link!

Who doesn’t want some freebies? Get a $20 e-gift card when you sign up using my link:

You will need a car in most places in the USA, unless you live in major cities like New York, Atlanta, or Chicago. If you’ve just arrived as a visa holder or permanent resident, then you will most likely need to buy a car.

One big problem is that if you don’t have a credit history, it is difficult to buy a new car. So what do you?

Here are several options. I’ve saved the best one for last!

Unless you live in huge cities such as New York, Atlanta, or Los Angeles, you will need a car to move around in the USA. But it doesn’t need to be brand new!

If you want to save thousands of dollars, buy a used car! Read on find how much I saved and how you, too, can save a lot of money!

Why You (Most) People Buy a Brand New Car

Let’s face it. People want the smell of a new car. You open up the door, sit down and the smell of success hits you. Buying a new car makes you feel like you’re a big time! That you’ve made it. And you can move around in style! Different brands have different reputations, too! A BMW or Mercedes Benz will turn people’s heads and will give you a reputation that you’re either a big shot, or on the way there.

With new cars, you should also have fewer headaches with maintenance problems. The conventional wisdom says that since the car just rolled off from the lot, if you maintain it properly, it should last for a long, long time!

Why It’s Better to Buy a Used Car

Originally published in July 2019.

I am no stranger to moving to a different house. While I was growing, my father, who was an itinerant preacher, moved from one church to another every 1-3 years.

The longest time we spent at a parsonage (a house assigned to a church’s pastor) was six years. By the time I turned twenty, we have stayed at about 10 houses.

In 2015, my wife and I reduced our belongings, packed the essentials, and moved from Manila, Philippines to Nashville, TN USA as I started a new job.

So I do know about moving and packing things.

We’re saying goodbye to this house in a couple of weeks!

Disclaimer: The article that follows tells the story of how my wife and son applied for their Individual Tax Identification Number (TIN)s. It is not meant to be taken as financial or tax advice. This is only for educational and informational purposes. The reader is encouraged to do their due diligence.

After my first year of working in the United States, I had to file my income tax return. I had my Social Security Number, our HR Department withheld my tax every payday. All I had to do was to file my income tax. I decided to do it online through TurboTax. It was easy–all I had to do was upload my form W-2, which our HR provided.

There was a catch, though. I was taxed as a single person because I could not claim my wife and my son as my dependents. They did not have Social Security numbers and they couldn’t get it either. They are considered as dependents of a non-immigration alien. What that meant is that my wife cannot work at all.

I, on the other hand, was being treated as a resident-for-tax purposes.

Good thing, I got in touch with a few Filipinos who had been in the same situation as we were. They told us to explore the possibility of getting an ITIN for my wife and son. That’s exactly what we did in November 2016.

If you have family members who are dependents, but you want to claim them as dependents in your tax returns, then this information may help you.

Kids haircut in America costs at least $12, plus tip, it would be around $15-$18. Our son gets a haircut probably 8-10 times in a year. That would be about $120 to $180 yearly.

When I was a small boy, my father cut my hair. I know that I looked pretty good as a kid. But I don’t really remember what my haircuts then were like. As I progressed through my elementary years and my father got busier, I started going to a barber. I usually got a “flat top” or a “barber’s cut.”

When I felt like I had haircut problems in America, I started looking for the right barber. At about the same time, my wife and I decided that I could cut our son’s hair in the comforts of our home. That’s important tip for y’all out there. Always consult your wife in all important matters such as your child’s hair!

Like any good Overseas Filipino, I need a fast and reliable way to send money to the Philippines. For the past three years, the main way for me to send money to the Philippines is I have reviewed this remittance website in the past.

My main problem with Xoom, however, is their terrible, terrible exchange rate. They charge an upfront fee of $4.99 for USD to PHP transfers or $7.99 for USD to USD transfers from your US bank account to your recipient in the Philippines.

However, they also make additional money on the backend through their exchange rate. It’s the same criticism that has always dogged

Filipinos abroad need to know the best ways to send money to the Philippines. Same is true for Filipinos in the USA. We continue supporting our parents, siblings, and other family members in the Philippines.

The US dollars we earn can go a long way in the Philippines. A hundred US dollars can be converted anywhere between PhP 4,500 to 5,300. That would be helpful for a family in the Philippines.

That is why remittance services are important in America. You want fast and less expensive service. We live in Tennessee where there are fewer Filipinos. That is why we don’t have a lot of Filipino-oriented services compared to cities in California and Illinois.

I consider myself with a bit of tech savvy, so naturally I want online solutions that won’t require me to leave the comforts of home.

When you live in America, you definitely need a credit history, unless you are filthy rich or you can save for pretty much anything that you can pay for them in cash.

Most ordinary folks, though, will need a good credit history to avail of personal loans, credit cards, and other financial products that make life go round and round in the land of milk and honey.

So if you are a bagong salta, a newcomer, newly arrived immigrant or non-resident alien in America, you will need to build your credit history. Here’s a few tips and tricks to get you going.