Aldi and Walmart are budget-friendly supermarkets for groceries. Target and Schnucks are other common options but they tend to be slightly pricier.


Ross, TJ Maxx, and Marshalls are great options for budget-friendly yet high quality clothing, personal care items, and room supplies.

Thrift Shopping

you can find trendy clothes and other items at meager prices at places such as Goodwill, Plato’s Closet, and Salvation Army.

Online Shopping

You can get almost anything online, from clothing to textbooks to electronics. Amazon has nearly everything. Bestbuy is known for electronics. When entering your shipping address, don’t forget to include your full name so the college mail room can identify the owner of the package when it arrives on campus. You will get a notification from the college mailroom when your package is ready for pickup.

Prin & Bills

The newest tool around is finally here!. Prin and bills has been one of the most worked on projects during the winter break. With the project being led by Adesuwa Dawodu a Junior majoring in mechanical engineering. It has been quite a hectic journey. Prin and Bills is a tool that has been designed to help students budget their money accordingly. It gives you a breakdown of your income statement, your prinbill amount and a suggested payment plan.With this tool we are positive many will be able to make better financial decisions.


All students enrolled at Principia College are required to have health insurance. If you don’t have your own health insurance, you will be automatically enrolled in the group plan provided for international students through Principia and billed for it through Prinbill. To opt out of the group plan and instead use your own health insurance, you need to qualify for an insurance waiver. Details of what is covered by the group plan provided through Principia can be found in this document


How do I utilize Health Insurance

Before using health insurance, it is important to familiarize yourself with what is covered by your insurance plan Your insurance plan may have “in network” and “out of network” providers for various services. Generally, insurance covers more of the healthcare cost within the network than outside the network. The insurance plan document will have information on how to find out if a service provider is within the network. Then the other concepts you will want to familiarize yourself with, which you will see in the plan document, are: To use your health insurance, a health care provider will typically ask for certain pieces of information on your insurance card. If you are using the health insurance plan provided for international students through Principia College, you can retrieve your insurance card from the ISO health insurance portal
Basics of Healthcare in the U.S:
Healthcare services in the U.S. is a very complex subject so this is a broad overview of things to keep in mind.
  • Dental services and eye-care/vision are typically outside the scope of general health insurance. That means that dental and eye-care (vision) services require either out-of-pocket payment and/or a separate insurance plan.
  • Mental health services are sometimes covered in the general health insurance.
  • Prescriptions are typically provided through pharmacies. The extent of coverage for prescription is detailed in your health insurance plan document.
  • Christian Science care is covered by some health insurance plans.

Emergency room Vs Healthcare

“Urgent” and “emergency” may communicate a similar message of an issue needing to be addressed “right away,” but there is a subtle difference. Urgent care centers or walk-in clinics are suitable for situations, such as an injury, that may require immediate attention but they are not severe enough to warrant emergency services. Emergency room (ER) services typically cost more and are best suited for severe circumstances.

Local money transfer options

Thanks to peer-to-peer (P2P) payments, sending money to someone else has never been simpler. You may request and receive money in a matter of minutes with only a few clicks on a smartphone. Here are the top six methods for sending money to someone from any location. An internet connection is all you need.
  1. Zelle
  2. Cashapp
  3. Venmo
  4. PayPal
  5. Apple Cash

International money transfer options

To send money internationally, you may either use the bank where you have a checking or savings account or create an account with one of the many businesses that specialize in doing so, such as;
  1. Western Union
  2. MoneyGram
  3. PayPal
  4. Xoom
  5. Wise (formerly TransferWise)
  6. Paysend
  7. Remitly
  8. Sendwave

How taxes work in the U.S

Taxes in the United States are a big deal unlike in many countries. You are taxed by the federal government and the state government this is a federal tax and state tax. Before you reach 5 years in the US you are considered a non-resident alien and after that, you become a resident alien. As you receive income from your employment you also get taxed this is income tax and your financial aid grant is also taxed. The tax is based on your annual income and it is withheld/ deducted from your income as you earn. The tax year begins on the first day of the year and ends on the last day of the year. You can reconcile your taxes early in the year, this means checking if you have overpaid or underpaid. This is also known as filing taxes or tax returns. If you have overpaid the government will refund you but if you are underpaid you owe the government. You have control over this in that you can control how much is withheld when you fill out your W-4 form. For non-resident aliens at Principia, we use Glacier software to help with tax processes, including reconciliation. ISPaSO holds tax filing workshops in February.

Prin & Bills Budgeting tool

Prin and bills is a tool created by ISPASO as a means of budgeting for Financial periods. This tool is for students having a hard time budgeting their money and paying off their prinbill. The budgeting tool does not require much information. Once you enter your name the next step is inputting the financial period you want. From there share your financial aid information and your income. Your income entails student employment and other income. Income includes payment during semester and during summer and winter breaks. Other income includes gifts,awards or family support. You are allowed to input the frequency you receive this other income. We then come down to the expense part where expenses include break housing fee, health insurance and other expenses which can be modified to your preference and frequency. Lastly you will input previous prinbill payments and the tool will be able to generate three tables:
1.Income statement- that shows your income and expenses
2.Your prinbill amount for the financial period- A breakdown of your prinbill and what it contains.
3.Prinbill payment plan for the financial period- How the tool suggest you move forward with the prinbill balance  These tables are as accurate as the information you have input. Using this tool will be quite beneficial as it gives you a plan according to what you earn. This leaves you with less to worry about if you use it religiously and stick to the plan.

Credit in the U.S

Credit is a major part of life in the US, and so having and maintaining good credit is essential.
Learn about Credit in the US