How to Prepare for a Big Move on a Budget

Congratulations! After years of dreaming of moving to your favorite city or out of your parents’ house, you are finally ready to go through with it.

The only problem is that deciding that it’s time for you to leave your familiar home is a lot easier than actually leaving it. Not only do you have to find a place that fits your budget, but there are quite a few things to consider before spreading your wings and venturing out into a new life. 

Before you start worrying about all the things that need to be done before the moving trucks arrive, take a look at our list of the most important things to consider before moving out. It may seem overwhelming now, but with preparation and a few smart tips, you’ll move with less stress and more confidence. 

Determine Your Housing Requirements

It’s important to determine what your ideal living space should or shouldn’t have before starting your search. How close would you like your apartment to be to your job? Do you need laundry in your apartment, and if not, how close is the nearest laundromat? How close does it need to be to pubic transportation? How many roommates are you comfortable living with, if any? Would you rather spend a little more on an apartment with more space, or would you rather save money and make do with less space? These are examples of important questions that you should have the answers to before apartment hunting, so that you are only looking at places that could realistically be your new home, and not wasting time on anything that doesn’t make the cut.

Create a Realistic Budget

Gone are the days where you could splurge on a designer handbag without having to consult your budget and monthly expenses. Now that you’re moving, it’s time to create a weekly or monthly budget and make sure to follow it closely. The last thing you want is to be unable to afford your rent, food, or anything else important and be forced to move back home or in with your parents. The key to creating a budget is to take your weekly or monthly income and divide it appropriately between all of your expected monthly expenses, while still saving some wiggle room for going out or potential financial emergencies. Create a rough draft for your budget based on how you spend your money now, and revisit it after a few weeks of living on your own so that you can make adjustments accordingly. It may not be the most fun activity in the world, but you will feel a lot calmer knowing that you can afford everything you need without having to get a second job or reach out to your parents for money.

Do A Deep Clean

This is not rocket science; the less stuff you have to move, the less expensive it will be. So if you have something that you haven’t used in more than a year (besides sentimental items and heirlooms) get rid of it. Sell it on eBay or donate it to Goodwill, where someone can get better use of it. Use this move to do a deep clean of excess stuff. Not only will it be less expensive and easier to move, but it will feel liberating to get rid of unused clutter.

Use the Right Searching Resources

Searching for an apartment, especially in a big city, can be tough. Before you even open a web browser, be sure to enlist some help. Your parents, colleagues, or friends who have made the move can provide great insight on what are the most important things to consider when looking for a place to live. Even message boards on sites like Reddit, can be incredibly helpful for getting neighborhood data and tips on the city you’re moving to. Information like crime, laundry services, distance from public transportation and potential apartment brokers fees are all good things to know about beforehand. If you want to avoid having to pay a broker’s fee (most common in NYC), look for no fee” apartments, where the broker’s fee is paid by the owner of the apartment as opposed to the future renters. Websites like RentHop specialize in no fee apartments, but there are plenty of other apartment finding websites that have the same search capabilities, or will indicate if an apartment has no fee. Otherwise, popular websites like Zillow and Streeteasy offer safe, verified apartment listings where you can tailor your search to your needs and area of interest.

Get Creative When Buying Home Goods

As nice as it would be to have your apartment look like the pictures on your Pinterest board, you’ll need to budget when buying furniture, appliances, and other necessities for your new place. First, take inventory of everything that you are taking with you or that you or your potential roommates are contributing. Once you know exactly what you need, consider consignment shops, discount furniture stores, or garage sales when rounding up the rest of your necessities. Craigslist also has a ton of used furniture that is inexpensive and some sellers will even deliver it to you.

Look Out For Clever Money Saving Hacks

Now that you’re living in your (likely more expensive) dream city, make sure to keep an eye out for any penny pinching tips you can find. If your utilities aren’t included in your monthly rent, try and find ways to bundle or cut down your bills. If you are living with roommates, make sure to discuss how all of the bills will be divided so that there are no nasty surprises once the first bill arrives. There are plenty of great resources on the internet that can help with problems like how to lower phone bills and avoid large cable fees.

Save As Much As You Can Before Moving

As you will soon learn, there won’t be as many opportunities to save money once you officially move. It doesn’t have to be a lot, but by throwing some of your daily coffee money into your emergency savings fund you’ll save yourself from worrying in the future when something breaks in your apartment or some other apartment emergency happens.

Don’t Feel Discouraged When Asking For Help

Just because you have moved out from your home town or from under your parents’ roof does not mean that you won’t need help from time to time. This doesn’t mean that you are incapable of living on your own or without the guidance of a parent. Realistically, it is sometimes smarter to ask for advice when it comes to particularly tough subjects, like dealing with a difficult landlord or fixing leaky pipes in your bathroom, as opposed to tackling these things entirely on your own. No matter how far away you move, you will grow to feel thankful that you have a support system you can lean on when you need advice or an extra set of hands.



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Brooke Schuldt

Brooke Schuldt is a freelance writer interested in fashion, beauty, lifestyle and feminism topics. Her work has been featured on various print and online outlets, including Parents Magazine,, Ed2010, and Deux Hommes. When Brooke is not focusing on her magazine career goals, she can be found knitting, teaching herself French, or updating her personal blog. Her bucket list includes traveling around the world, a shopping spree at Kate Spade, and writing a New York Times Bestseller.

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