1-Identifying the location and the Salary you’ll need to survive in your new city.
a– what are you looking for? Things to consider in choosing your future home: Weather, Cost of Living, Job Market, Nightlife, Crime, Activities, etc. (City-Data has tons of information on many of the cities in the U.S. From average weather, median age, median salaries of residents, top lists the cities may have made, etc. that you can find outside the forums on the main site)
b-Look up the cost of Rent using apartment websites, City-Data, Craigslist, or any viable resource. You may not know the neighborhoods, but you should be able to get a good idea what a typical Studio, 1bdrm or 2bdrm apartment goes for in most neighborhoods.
c-If you make 40K in your current city, what is the median salary for your career in the city you have chosen? How does rent in the new city compare to your current city? Does the increase/decrease of salary in the new city cover the increase/decrease of rent in that new city? Are utilities more expensive in that city? In the South, electric bills are higher during spring and summer. In the North, are you paying for gas? You’ll want to plug the new cities numbers into your current budget to get an estimate of what you’ll need to make per year to live to your standards.
2-Plan a low cost scouting trip
Especially if you’ve never been to the targeted city. Identify neighborhoods, apartment complexes, and other points of interest to visit while you are there. How is traffic in the selected areas during rush hour? Are the apartments you can afford all in high crime areas?
If you are happy with the city you’ve selected and are ready to plan the move, you’ll need to decide if you are taking all, most, some, or none of your belongings. For some, replacing things like furniture makes more sense than paying to store it or transport it. If unsure, you can just start the purge process and see what you have left over that you just can’t live without. The more you get rid of, the less storage space needed. Began selling or donating anything you don’t plan on taking. It’s also a good idea to began packing non-essential items you will not need, but don’t want to sell, donate or trash. The primary reason of tackling this early on is two fold. One, it allows you more time to sell anything you don’t want to take. Those monies can be put towards the move. Secondly, by starting the packing process early, you alleviate some of the stress of the move. Waiting to the last minute to pack just makes the move process that more stressful. Be sure to perform inventory on each box that you pack.
4-At this point you should have a good idea of what you are taking.
Determine how you are moving your things if taking them with you and where you are storing them. If storing them, do you want to store them in your current city, and return for them once established in your new city? Or do you want to move them to the new city and store them there? There are pro’s and con’s to both methods. Depending on where you live and where you are moving to, storing them where you currently live may be a cheaper option initially, saving you money up front. However, you will not have access to anything left behind, and eventually you’ll need to return to retrieve them.
5-If you’ve decided you are taking most of your possessions and that you don’t want to leave them behind.
How are you going to move them? Each person’s scenario is different, so there is no one right answer. You’ll need to assess how much you are taking and perform a cost comparison of renting a Moving Truck, Hiring a moving company, or using a service like Upack/ABF, Pods, Pack Rat, etc. Which is the most affordable for you? If using a truck, you’ll have to find a storage facility, while a service such as Upack/ABF, Pods and Pack Rat allows the items to remain in the storage container in the destination city for x amount of months. Each of these has pro’s and con’s. One may be cheaper than the other for shorter moves, while more expensive for a longer move. Read reviews and do some background on each service before committing to one. The cheapest isn’t always the best and could leave you with damaged goods. Now would also be a good time to figure out how much money it would take to get back to your “home” city. This is your exit strategy. Failure should not be an option, but in the event of catastrophe, you may be forced to look at your remaining funds and decide “do I risk being homeless and keep job hunting? Or do I pack up and head back home?”
**Whether you are driving a moving truck or your car, don’t forget to budget hotels stays, meals and gas as part of your moving budget.
Where are you going to stay in your new city while looking for employment? You have a few options. After finding one that best suits you, I highly suggest you find a second and third option to fall back on. It may be hard to calculate the monthly cost of temporary housing. My advice is to shoot high and make an educated guess.
Long term Hotels chains such as InTown Suites, AKA, Element by Westin, Hyatt House, Residence Inn, Homewood Suites, Staybridge Suites, GrandStay Residential Suites, Larkspur Landing, Chase Suites, StudioPLUS, Homestead Studios, Extended Stay America, Crestwood Suites, Studio 6, etc. Although cheaper than regular hotel stays, they can still be pricey. Rates can range from $147 – $260 a week. The great thing about these is, you can reserve in advance, and you can budget for them easily.
Subletting an apartment. You can usually find many of these on Craigslist. Whether it be moving for a job, the military, someone getting married, a couple buying a house, business that takes them away for several weeks or months, etc you get the point. There are circumstances where renters are not occupying their apartments and looking to recoup some of the money it’s costing with no one living there. So rather than break the lease, the renter will often get permission to sublet their apartment for a short time. Sublets may be as short as a few weeks or several months. The downside to this option is you will need to be in your new city to view the domicile. This option is best utilized a couple of weeks before the move. Make an appointment with the rentor based on when you are arriving. I would strongly advise against giving anyone any money (deposits, etc) over the phone to hold these rooms for you. You need to be on site to check everything out and verify the individual you are working with is not trying to scam you.
You can also use websites like roommates.com or Craigslist to find rooms for rent. Again, REMEMBER to exercise caution when dealing with people from these sites. Scams run rampant. Do not send anyone any money.
Hostels. Not all cities have Hostels, and you can usually only stay in these for a few nights. However, this can be a great option if you find yourself without shelter and not wanting to sleep in a box or in your car. Hostels typically run in the $20+ range for one night. This is much cheaper than a hotel, they have showers and you typically get 1 free meal. Conditions can vary. Some are clean and nice, others may be a little dirty and crowded with strange people.
YMCA. Like Hostels, the availability of these in some cities as well as the conditions may vary. They tend to be cheaper than Hostels, and like hostels, should probably only be used as a last resort.
Couch surfing. www couchsurfing.org For the truly adventurous, this could be a viable short time option for those not wanting to be with a large group of strange people in a Hostel or YMCA. Each host has ratings and reviews as this website host a large community of connected travelers.
Renting an apartment out right. If you are financially very sound and have stock piled a large sum of cash this may be an option for you. This is not a viable option for someone rolling into town with only a few thousand and no job. More than likely an apartment management company will not rent to you with no job. However if you can afford to pay several months rent on top of a deposits, and still have enough cash to live more than 6 months without work, this could be an option for you.
7-Picking a date:
When does your current lease end? how much money do you want to move with? When will you have it? How long will you be able to survive with no job with all the aforementioned expenses on top of your concurrent monthly expenses like car notes, cell phone bills, insurance, etc?
8-Make a list
of everyone that will need know about your change of address (friends, banks, creditors, memberships, Doctors, Insurance companies, Veterinarians, Dentist, domestic services etc)
9-Purchase a small lock box
to hold important documents (Passports, Social Security Cards, Birth Certificates, DD214’s, etc. ) that you will need on the ready in your new city. This will need to be accessible for job hunting but safe from theft.
These next few steps should be started on anywhere from 1-4 weeks prior to the move
10-What do you do with your mail?
Have the Post Office hold your mail. In your new city, you can rent a mail box at a UPS mail centers. The Post Office will not let you rent a Post Office Box without proof that you are a resident in that county. Since you just arrived, you have no way to provide such proof, therefore an option like the UPS Mail Center may be your only option. Once you have one of these, you can have the Post Office release your mail to your new address.
forward it to a trustworthy parent or relative.
11-cancel or setup any automatic payments from your bank account.
12-began packing up remaining items.
If using movers, put anything movers will not be moving aside in a different box clearly marked. Items such as cell phone chargers, toothbrushes, etc fall into this category– inventory and photos of essential items that are valuable.
13-if you are driving, have your car serviced (Oil Change, have all fluids checked, tires, etc)
14-Verify arrangements with any third parties – Movers, storage facilities, etc