When taking the next step in your career means moving to a faraway city, don’t let the cost hold you back. Follow these tips to relocate affordably.
You’ve just received an offer for what could be the job of a lifetime — but it’s in another city, far from everything you know. Or you’ve finally decided it’s time to make the next move in your career, but the bigger, better opportunities undeniably lie elsewhere.
So then comes the big question: Can you afford to move? Check out a few tips to bring your moving costs down — and bring yourself closer to taking that big step.
You’d be surprised to learn how many people pull up their roots and move to a new place without a serious plan. Moving can be a difficult enterprise with hidden costs, and it pays to not only have savings in the bank, but also a ruthless plan for where you’re going and how you’ll get there.
This applies not only to the basic moving logistics (transferring utilities, phone service, medical records and so on) but also to figuring out where you’ll move and when. Simply pulling up stakes and hoping for the best might be good enough when you’re fresh out of college, but if you’re a mid-level professional with more obligations, a solid plan will literally pay off in the long run.
Of course, this doesn’t just mean making a checklist of everything your move will require and drafting a budget (although you should still do that). It also helps to know what life will be like once you get where you’re going.
Planning ahead will be one of your most powerful tools to save money on your move.
Prioritize and compromise
Now is the time for the tough compromises. Cost of living includes more than rent and utilities; you’ll also need to consider taxes, transportation, schools and overall quality of life. Also, realize all cities are not created equal — either financially or in what they have to offer.
If the weather is significantly different than what you’re used to, are you equipped to handle it? Do you want to live in the center of a major urban area or in the suburbs? Will that new job cover all your new costs? What do the crime rates look like?
Even a rough estimate of what your new life might cost can help you save a bundle because it will inform the choices you make later on.
Before you pack your possessions and sell all your furniture, research your destination. Find the affordable neighborhoods in the area. If you’re moving to an expensive city, check out outlying neighborhoods or even neighboring towns you could live in, provided the commute won’t prove too painful.
Go beyond what you find online. If possible, talk to people who already live in area you’re thinking of relocating to and ask for their insight and advice. Fold these results into your research and look at the hard numbers. This raw data will help you take an objective look at whether you can afford to relocate.
Reduce your costs — and possessions
Now that your planning is done, it’s time to pull off flawless execution.
- If you’re moving for business reasons, your move may be tax-deductible. Talk to your accountant or consult a professional, and keep your receipts!
- If you’re a homeowner, find out if your homeowner’s insurance policy covers moving insurance. If not, work that into your budget.
- Move at off-peak times, both in terms of the season (June, July and August are the most expensive months to move) and the day (weekends are more expensive than moving during the week.)
- Pack yourself instead of paying movers to do it for you. Use luggage, towels and clothing where possible instead of purchasing or renting expensive packing materials. Forage for cardboard boxes instead of buying shipping containers.
- Sell or give away everything that isn’t absolutely essential. Put the proceeds from those sales back into your moving fund. Be unforgiving. Anything without tangible utility or special sentimental value simply has to go.
- Use up or consume all your perishable and frozen food or other consumables before your move. Who wants to lug boxes of canned goods around?
Relocation can be scary, work-intensive and most of all, costly. But passing up on a great opportunity because you couldn’t afford to move is a path to regret. Run the numbers. Be bold. Stick to the plan. You’ve got this. (Click here to tweet this bit of inspiration.)
Jon Russo is the CEO of Areavibes, a website focused on helping people find the best places to live. AreaVibes is able to provide useful information for people who are relocating or looking to conduct a quality assessment on their own area.