Money and budget United States

Money and budget United States

Money, banks, exchange


In 2019, the dollar ($) was worth around € 0,90. So we had about $ 1,15 for € 1.

Cash and change

- To immediately havecash, for example to take the bus or pay the taxi when leaving the airport, we advise you totake a few dollars changed in Europe and then withdraw some once there as needed with an international payment card.
We find ATMs everywhere (called ATM for Automated Teller Machine or cash machines), even in some small grocery stores, hotel lobbies or small shops! That said, avoid withdrawing small amounts all the time, as a fixed commission ($ 2-3) is taken from each transaction in addition to the one applied by your bank.

- The change, him, is difficult in the United States, or quite disadvantageous.

Travelex Prepaid Card

The Cash PassportTM prepaid card (which replaces travelers' checks) works like a bank card. Provided with an identity document, all you have to do is go to a currency exchange agency and load the desired travel budget in dollars on the card. It can also be ordered online before being collected at an agency on presentation of identity documents. The user can then reload it at any time from the site anywhere in the world.

Once abroad, it can be used at 32 million merchants and ATMs.

Payment cards

In the United States, we talk about plastic money, or simply plastic. It is the simplest and in principle the most economical way to pay. Card payments are accepted almost everywhere, often without a minimum amount. Always keep your passport (ID in English, pronounced "aïdi") with you. The most popular cards are MasterCard, Visa and of course American Express, which charges very low commissions.
In the USA, a payment card is an essential tool, not to say compulsory, if only to rent a car or book a hotel room.

In some drugstores or supermarkets, as soon as you present a payment card, you will usually be asked: "Debit or credit? ". If you don't have an account in the United States, the answer is “credit”.

- smart cards ("Chip cards") have finally come into force in the USA, so you enter the code for each transaction instead of signing as in time. More and more, billing is done on iPad, with invoice sent by email (insist if you want a printed receipt).

Budget in the United States

The prices displayed (in restaurants, hotels, shops, etc.) are always without TAX, which varies from 9 to 15,5% in the hotel industry and from 2,9 to 7,5% in other sectors (restaurants, shops, etc. except museums), depending on the country and the type of product or service .

Add to this possible local taxes voted by municipalities and / or counties. In restaurants, you will also need to add the tip (or gratuity), that is to say the tip (see below).

In short, keep in mind that at the cash desk it will always be more expensive than the marked price.

  • See also the cheap United States


The prices are generally mentioned exclusive of tax, so always add 9 to 15,5%!

En AJ or YMCA / YWCA, a dorm bed costs around $ 25-40 a night per person, and a private double room (with shared bathroom) around $ 50-80. In the motels, counting well $ 80 to 120 for a double room in season, more often in fact $ 120-150 $ 100 a double, but the more chic go up to $ 200 (the average being in the $ 160-180).

The prices of the nights vary according to the season, comfort and period. La high season roughly starts in May and ends in September. In low season, the tariffs decrease by 20 to 50% and sometimes even more.

- Cheap : up to $ 100 average prices: 100-150 $ classier : $ 150-250.

Le continental breakfast (light, therefore) is sometimes included in the price of the room. If not, count $ 10 to $ 15 to take it outside.

In large cities, the hotel parking is generally paid (from 8 to 25 $ approximately for 24 hours).


You can eat inexpensively in the United States, but this “cheap” rarely rhymes with healthy food! As soon as you want to eat a little thinner and above all more balanced, the bill climbs quickly, especially in the evening.

The following forks correspond to a simple dish, generally generous enough to be able to do without something else, except in a little chic or gourmet restaurants.
Don't forget to add the tax
(5 to 10%) and the tip (around 20%): in the end, it is therefore 25 to 30% more ...

- Cheap : $ 12-25.
- Classier : $ 25-35.
- Very stylish : over $ 35.

Taxes and tips


The prices displayed in stores, hotels, restaurants, etc., are EXCLUDED OF TAX (S). This is added by merchants, restaurateurs and hoteliers at checkout and varies by state, county, city and type of purchase. In hotels, it fluctuates roughly between 4 and 15%; for everything that is restaurants, clothing, car rental, etc., it varies between 0 and 8,75%, without counting any local surcharges.
Only food products sold in stores and pharmacies are not subject to it.

Tips (tip or free)

In restaurants, waiters have a relatively low fixed salary, most of their income comes from tips. Here is all the genius of capitalism: to leave to the customers, according to their degree of satisfaction, the care of paying the wages of the waiters! In short, the tip is therefore an institution from which you must not depart (except in fast food restaurants and self-service places). An oversight will make you pass for a total redneck and a notorious stingy!
The tradition is to leave 15, 18 or 20% (15% being the minimum of the minimum!), Calculated on the price excluding taxes. Americans, of a generous nature, easily giving 20 to 25%. In short, keep in mind that with the sales tax plus the tip, here you are at 25-35% more than the displayed price, if not more...

If you are paying by card, don't forget to fill in the “Gratuity” box on the receipt yourself, or to cross it out clearly if you choose to leave a cash tip. Otherwise, the server could take care of it itself, which you will not see until your return, by going through your account statement (by the way, in the USA, 1 is written I, without "head", so be careful so that your 1 is not taken for a 7 which is written without a horizontal bar!).
It also happens that the service is automatically added to the total, after the tax. Check your bill carefully.

In bars, the bartender expects you to leave him a little something, say $ 1 per beer.

About the taxis, it is customary to leave a tip of 15 to 20% in addition to the amount on the meter. There, beware of the insults of a disgruntled driver; he will not hesitate to point out your forgetting to you sharply.

Finally, provide $ 1 or $ 5 bills for all the odd service jobs where tips are expected (porter in a somewhat fancy hotel, for example).

Shopping and souvenirs

Note: the prices displayed are always exclusive of tax (add 5 to 10%) depending on the purchase and the states.

Some purchases remain attractive in the United States, despite a sometimes less favorable exchange rate. Here are some ideas for items to bring in your luggage.

- To relive the emotion of the Old West, you will find cowboy shops pure juice in every major city.

- The derived products : you will quickly notice this typically American practice.

- Indian handicrafts.

- The jeans.

- Casual ready-to-wear.

- Sports and leisure shoes and clothing.

- Beauty products (cosmetics, make-up).

- Typical American “food”.

- smartphones, cameras, computers... We only recommend this type of purchase if you are a specialist. Back in France, in the event of a problem, the guarantees are very difficult to apply. If you buy an electronic device, make sure it can work in France.

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