In 2013 I made up my mind to finally leave my hometown. It wasn't a difficult decision, but the planning process and execution took a lot of work. I had to create a fail-proof strategy because I had two little ones depending on me to make it (my 5 & 6-year-old). As a single mother, I often felt like the move was impossible, but I quickly realized I am not the only single mother in the world who has ever moved. I knew I needed to have a decent amount of money to pull it off and this is a short list of how I did it.
1. I had to evaluate my situation
I had very little in the bank, a poor credit score, a mortgage, a raggedy car and two small kids who would need child care. Knowing my circumstances gave me the insight to put things in writing and research ways to change the outcome. It was at this moment; I decided that my refund was going to help get me through the first three months of my move.
2. I made a plan
I created a timeline and put it on a vision board. The plan was to increase my bank account, make payment arrangements with creditors, get a reliable car, find an apartment with free child care, rent out my house, and apply for jobs in chosen area.
3. I got a part time job & paid off debt
I opted for a seasonal job with a flexible schedule. I am pretty good at doing taxes, so I decided to work for a tax agency. I knew it would be easy to get hired because of my experience. I had to dedicate several weeks of free work to learn the fundamentals of the company's tax software and pass the agency's exam. The extra money that I earned, I applied it to bills that were on my credit. Remember credit is critical when moving because it will determine many of your deposits. Better credit equals less money spent, better rates, and more cushion in your bank account.
4. I limited my spending
I made the decision to cut my spending habit. I only bought what was needed and started cooking at home. I stopped going out unnecessarily and gave up cigarettes and alcohol. During this phase, I lost weight and saved money, so it was a win-win situation. However, because my planning was around Christmas the gift list was short. I am glad my kids were little enough to where they didn't mind it.
5. I crashed at a friend's house
After figuring out that I would move to Houston, I started staying with a friend on the weekends. I got a key to my friend's apartment giving me the ability to come and go as needed. I got the experience of testing the waters before I moved which was important to me since I feared city traffic. I was able to visit apartments, navigate through the city, interview for jobs, and save money (no hotel fees).
6. I looked for a job in Houston
I started looking for jobs earlier in the year. I flirted with relocating for a while and I was waiting for a job to just happen. I didn't take it seriously until I was forced too (that's another story) and this taught me the lesson that when you move look for jobs at least four months in advance. I saved my vacation and personal days at work and used it on Mondays and Fridays for job interviews.
7. I found an apartment with free child care
I got an apartment finder magazine with a list of different areas to live in the city. I quickly realized that rent changes depending on location. Many of the places look great in the magazine until you saw it in person. There are reasonable apartments with free child care, but it comes with some sacrifices. I suggest signing a 6, 9, or a 12-month lease when renting these apartments. Remember your living situation is temporary and not your permanent destination.
8. I had a garage sale
I had to let go and move on. I went from a furnished 1,789 sqft. four bedroom house to a 900 sqft. two bedroom apartment. There was no way all of the items was going to fit in my new home, and the expense of moving everything would blow my budget. The money I made from the garage went towards new furniture.
9. I rented out my house
This was a tricky part of my move, but it worked. I rented my house out to a relative for the exact amount of the mortgage. I highly suggest not renting your home to family members, but that is another topic. I let my cousin move in a month early, and I moved in with my mother. It was another way to save additional money.
10. I made a new plan
Once I made it to my apartment I wrote down a new plan to get out of it within a year. I knew the area wasn't the best but it was a start and I could survive. It was what I needed to get to where I wanted to be, and I am happy to say that I left that place in less than a year and moved to a great neighborhood.
I have given you a short list of items to consider before you make a move. There is more to be added, and I will cover it in future blogs. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and feel free to share what has helped you with moving. Any advice is welcome!
My home in Kilgore, my apartment after moving and my rental home after moving from the apartment.