THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS. PLEASE SEE MY DISCLOSURES. FOR MORE INFORMATION.
It’s no secret that moving is expensive.
The cost of hiring a moving company alone can rack up a huge bill.
And many times, we don’t have the money to pay for these moving expenses in the first place.
Does this mean you are stuck living in a place you don’t like?
Not at all.
Even if you don’t have the money to move, you can still make it happen.
In this post, I share with you how to move with no money.
It doesn’t matter if you are moving to another town close by or moving to a different state.
You can even use these tips if you don’t know where you want to move to or don’t even have a job.
Table of Contents
How To Move With No Money
When you don’t have money cover the cost of moving, you have to get creative and think outside the box.
Here are the steps you need to take to lower the costs.
#1. Assess Your Financial Situation
Before you even start to act, you need to know where you stand financially.
Do you have a lot of high interest debt you are paying off?
How much money is in your checking account?
Do you have and money saved in an emergency fund?
- Read now: Here is how much money to have in your checking account
- Read now: Find out how to quickly build your emergency fund
Knowing the answers to these questions is critical because it can make the move that much easier.
For example, if you have $10,000 in savings, you know that you can make the move and have the money if something goes wrong or plans change.
Likewise, if you have nothing saved, you know everything has to be planned out and there can be zero surprises along the way.
And even in the event there are zero surprises, there will still be a lot of stress as you hope nothing happens during your move.
#2. Look Into The Cost Of Living
Once you know the shape of your finances, you need to look at how much it will cost to live in the new city.
Each area of this country has a different cost of living.
Some areas, like New York City or San Francisco are extremely high cost of living areas.
Here, renting a studio apartment will cost you thousands in monthly rent alone.
But other areas, like the Midwest, the cost of living is a lot less.
You can buy a modest sized home for a lot less money.
And it doesn’t stop with housing.
The things you buy, your utility bills, and the taxes you pay all vary from one locale to another.
So make sure you check to see how much money you need in order to live comfortably before you actually move.
- Read now: Here is how much $25 an hour is annually
- Read now: Learn what a $15 hourly wage is for the year
- Read now: See how much your annual salary is making $18 an hour
The last thing you want to do is move and then find out you don’t have or earn enough money to live there.
#3. Consider Delaying Your Move
I know you want to move right now, but stop for a minute and consider if staying for another 6 months or so makes sense.
Here is why I suggest this.
Let’s assume you don’t have any money saved.
This is going to make any move difficult.
But if you had some money in the bank, it would make things less stressful.
The same applies for debt.
Each debt bill you have is more income you need to cover these monthly bills.
If you can pay off some of the debt, you need a lot less money to live on.
For example, if your credit card debt payments total $500 a month and you pay it off, you now need $500 less to live on.
If you have a lot of debt, it might not be possible to pay it all off quickly.
Instead, pick the debts with a smallest balances and work hard to pay these off as quickly as possible.
- Read now: See the debt snowball plan in action
- Read now: Click here for tips to stay motivated when paying down debt
#4. Go Through Your Belongings
This step can be done while you are working on the previous one as well as the next one.
You need to go through everything you own and decide what you want to keep and what you no longer need.
The reason for this is twofold.
First, the less stuff you have to move, the smaller your moving budget can be.
If you have a moving truck worth of belongings, it will cost you thousands of dollars more to move than if you can fit everything in your car.
The second reason is money.
You can sell many of your unwanted items.
This extra money can go towards paying down debt or boosting your savings to help you make ends meet.
Finally, don’t fall for the trap of renting a storage unit.
Most times, people rent these units to avoid the time commitment of going through their belongings.
But then they never have a reason to declutter and end up paying a monthly bill for years, wasting money.
- Read now: Here are the dumbest ways you waste money
- Read now: Find out how not to ruin your financial life
So take the time and go through everything you own.
By honest with yourself when deciding what you need.
#5. Reduce The Things You Own Even More
When you finish with the above tip, go through everything you are keeping again.
Now it is time to think outside the box.
Are there ways to have the things you want without actually keeping them as is?
For example, maybe you have a desktop computer with a lot of stuff on it but you don’t use a lot.
Can you back up the computer to an external hard drive and keep that and sell the actual desktop?
As long as you have a laptop, this should work.
Or maybe you have a large book collection.
Instead of moving with every book, could you survive with digital copies of most of the books?
Finally, for the things that don’t sell, instead of throwing them in the trash, consider donating them.
Keep the receipts and then write off the donations on your taxes to save money.
#6. Source Free Moving Supplies
Aside from the actual movers, the biggest expenses are the boxes, tape, etc. that you need to pack everything up.
Luckily, you can take simple steps to lower the cost of packing materials.
- Save Amazon boxes and packing material. Instead of throwing this away, keep them and use them for your move.
- Ask your local stores. Many grocery stores and retail stores crush the cardboard boxes they get shipments in. Ask the manager if you have some boxes and they will most likely say yes.
- Use towels and bedding. Anything soft you have can be used as packing material to keep delicate items safe.
- Ask your friends. Ask others to hold onto boxes and packaging material as well.
As with the point earlier, it is all about thinking outside the box to save money on moving costs.
Using these tips should help you get your costs on moving supplies close to zero.
And if you need boxes, consider buying plastic bins instead.
While they are a little more expensive, they have many more uses when you get to your next destination.
Just make it a point to try to find sales or buying used on Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, or a yard sale to help lower your cost.
#7. Ask For Help
Assuming you aren’t moving across the country or have truckloads of things to move, the cheapest way to move is to ask good friends or family members to help you.
This can be as simple as getting help packing boxes and labeling them, to loading vehicles and actually moving.
The more you can do on your own with help, the more money you are going to save.
And if you do get friends or family to help, be sure to show your appreciation.
Moving is hard work.
Buy them lunch or dinner, or get them a gift card to their favorite restaurant or store.
Moving Without A Job
In some cases, you might be making a move without a new job lined up.
Depending on who you ask, this could be the most liberating thing ever or the craziest thing ever.
But in neither case does it mean you can’t move.
You just have to be smart with your move in order to make it work financially.
Here are the tips to follow.
#1. Live Below Your Means
In order to survive financially long term, you have to live below your means.
This is true if you move or not in fact.
Question everything before you buy it by asking yourself if you really need the item.
Consider assessing your values as well, and aligning your spending with your life goals.
Shop at discount grocery stores to keep your food budget low and consider shopping for clothing and other household items at thrift stores or even a garage sale to keep costs down.
The more you can avoid lifestyle inflation, the better off you will be.
This is because not only will you need less income to survive, but you will need to save less money for retirement as well.
- Read now: Here is how to spend less money on groceries
- Read now: Learn how to survive on $1,000 a month
- Read now: Find out how to lower your monthly bills
#2. Be Realistic
As exciting as it can be to move to a new state or your destination city, you need to keep things in perspective so you don’t fall on your face.
For example, if the economy is in a recession, you can’t assume the job prospects there will be any better than where you are moving from.
Or, you need to know the housing market there ahead of time so you know if there is an ample supply of housing units.
By making sure you are realistic with your expectations, you limit the chances of making any big mistakes that can cost you.
#3. Have A Backup Plan
The reality is life happens.
Even if you do the most careful planning, things can and do go wrong.
That is why it is important to have a backup plan.
For example, if you are moving without a job, what will you do for health insurance?
- Read now: Click here to see how to save money on health care costs
- Read now: Learn the pros and cons of health share plans
What will you do if your car breaks down?
What if you can’t find an apartment?
All of these are valid questions that need to be considered.
And while you can’t plan for everything, having a solid backup plan in place will help ease some of the stress of moving.
#4. Figure Out How To Earn Money
If you don’t have a job, how are you going to survive?
Assuming you want to find a traditional full time job in your new location, you should be checking out the job listings for that area to see what is available before you move.
You should also update your resume too, so that you don’t have to worry about doing this as you unpack and get settled.
If you plan to go without a job, what things can you do for money?
There are plenty of side hustles out there you could do to earn money.
- Read now: Here are 59 ideas to make money on the side
- Read now: Click here to see how to make $1,000 fast
And even if you have a job lined up or plan on working a traditional job, I encourage you to still look into side hustles.
The extra cash multiple streams of income bring in is a great way to not only get ahead financially, but also lowers your risk if you happen to lose your job.
#5. Be Open To Alternative Housing Options
While most people will look to buy a house or rent an apartment, these aren’t your only options when it comes to housing.
For starters, you might be able to couch surf if you have friends in the area.
Just make sure you don’t wear out your welcome!
Another option is to rent out a furnished apartment so you don’t have to move with or buy a lot of things.
To keep your housing costs low, you can also bring in a roommate.
But there are still other options for you too.
You might consider pet sitting.
Here you agree to live in a person’s house for a week or so while they are on vacation.
In exchange for zero living expenses, you need to feed and care for their pets.
The site TrustedHouseSitters is the one that lists the most opportunities for you to take advantage of.
Pet sit and house sit for people all over the world! A great alternative to renting a hotel room or a costly Airbnb.
The downside here is you might not find a lot of listings if you are moving to a smaller town.
It is better for nomads who like to be in different locations every few weeks.
Another option is to live in your car.
Assuming you have the space to spread out and lay down, this could save you a ton of money.
Rent or a mortgage payment is going to cost you close to $1,000 a month or more.
By living in your car, you eliminate this costly expense.
Best Places To Move With No Money
Now you know how to move without having money, you might want to know where are the best places to move to.
The good news is many places have different benefits for you to take advantage of.
For example, in Alaska, residents get paid an annual income known as the Alaska Permanent Fund.
This is funded by oil companies and the state makes an annual payment to residents.
For 2019, the payment was roughly $1,600 per resident.
Unfortunately most states don’t offer this deal as they don’t have a lot of revenue from oil.
But cities do have various incentives for new residents.
Some include money to help pay down your student loan debt, or offering a monthly housing stipend, to even just offering you cash to move there.
You can click here to see a sample list of cities and the incentives they offer.
If you decide that any of these areas make sense for you, you can get a head start getting ahead by moving there.
Cheapest Towns To Live In
If you find that none of those cities interest you, then this list of cheapest towns to live in should help.
An annual list is put together by ApartmentGuide.com which ranks the most affordable towns across the United States.
Using this guide, you can find housing prices for under $1,000 a month.
Here is a small list of towns the article cites as being most affordable.
- Henderson, KY
- Springfield, MO
- Killeen, TX
- Terre Haute, IN
- Lawton, OK
To see the full list and the associated living expenses, click here.
At the end of the day, it is possible to move with no money.
You just have to be creative and think outside the box in order to make your tight budget work.
If you can do this, you can live just about anywhere in the U.S. regardless of your income.
What matters most is finding a place that you will be happy with and that meets your needs.
- Read now: Learn the pros and cons of rent vs. buy
- Read now: Find out how much happiness costs
- Read now: Here are the best ways to save money today
- Read now: Discover the skills you need with adulting 101
I have over 15 years experience in the financial services industry and 20 years investing in the stock market. I have both my undergrad and graduate degrees in Finance, and am FINRA Series 65 licensed and have a Certificate in Financial Planning.
Visit my About Me page to learn more about me and why I am your trusted personal finance expert.