Hey anon, when it comes to the wages, this is what I tell everyone..
Don’t think of the minimum wage as GBP because it will sound low. The point of the minimum wage in $ is that it is enough to live on in the US like the minimum £ is in England. Truthfully you will have a lot more money to spend in America if you work in England all summer and then convert your wages to $s. The only difference is you’re working in England. If you pay rent in England however you will probably not be so much better off as the rent in America is so low you may aswell be living there.
The money you make over there will be lower than England but the experience is one of a kind. Saying that, I’ll tell you my experience..
I started on $8.50 an hour (which was quite generous). After two pay rises, I was then on $9.50 halfway in. I then found myself a second job – just because it was a completely normal thing to work 2 or 3 jobs in the town I worked. This job also payed $8.50 an hour plus tips. Because I was only a host, my tips were about $10 to $20 a night for a 5 hour shift. When doing this your money soon adds up. I had a good daily budget, I didn’t hold back on what I bought, I paid rent, I treated myself to real leather purses, new clothes and Pandora bracelets and somehow managed to live like a king whilst still saving (in my opinion quite whopping) $3000.
Now as for bringing money back I wouldn’t recommend it. If I’d have brought this back they’d have handed me £1500 back and then it really does feel like you’re working for nothing. So instead I spent some of it during my 18 days travelling along the East coast. I had a massive shopping spree in Chicago and then the rest of it went on the next part of my gap year which I’ll post about next.
I’d recommend spending every penny in the US. Or just keep it in your bank until you return to spend it, it just isn’t worth coming back to England with worthless dollars that you could earn instantly in England.
And if you want to earn more, try a server position. My friends would earn over $100 for every 5 hours they worked.