Sometimes you just need to get out of town fast, even when it seems like you can’t afford it. Yet moving can typically cost thousands of dollars in scouting costs, deposits, moving companies, rental trucks, gas and other expenses.
You may not be stuck in your current city, though. With a little advance planning and a tolerance for temporary and less-than-perfect conditions, you can still move, even when you’re broke.
Here are 20 tips for relocating as cheaply as possible:
1. Form a Team.
Harrison Brady moved from Camarillo, CA, to Salt Lake City, UT, without renting a truck or hiring movers by asking family and friends to help and borrowing someone’s truck.
“Despite having to make a couple of trips, it was well worth it,” he says.
2. Tap Your Network.
Brady’s wife scored a referral to an inexpensive apartment when she reached out to friends.
“The apartment was cheaper than where we were living before, a feat we thought impossible,” says Brady.
3. Stay With a Friend.
Stephen Gibson of San Francisco stayed at a friend’s house when he moved to a tiny town in North Dakota for two months after he lost his job.
“Being able to live rent-free was a great relief,” says Gibson.
4. Sell Your Stuff.
“Sell, donate, or trash everything you don’t need, says Gibson. “I downsized to the point that all my belongings fit in my car.”
You can use cash for sold items to help with moving expenses.
5. Store Your Stuff.
Store all that stuff in a storage unit or your Uncle’s garage, and once you get a job, a new place and some money saved, come back and get it or have it moved or shipped to your new town.
6. Get Cash for Excess Media and Devices.
“Sellers can’t expect top dollar,” says T.J. Peterson of Queens, NY. “But they’ll get excess inventory out of their hair and make a few extra bucks.”
7. Sell Your Car.
When Gibson moved back to public-transportation-friendly San Francisco, he got rid of his car. No vehicle means you’ll save on gas, insurance, payments, licensing, parking costs and repairs.
8. Persuade a Friend to Move.
Talk a buddy into relocating with you so you can share an apartment to save on rent and use each others’ budding networks to find a job.
9. Load Up Additional Cars.
When Diane Elizabeth moved from Austin, TX to Fort Worth, she formed a caravan consisting of her own vehicle, along with three friends’ cars packed with her stuff. “Not only was it affordable, but it was also a lot of fun,” she says.
11. Rent a Room Temporarily.
When Elizabeth moved from Miami to San Francisco a week before her apartment lease began, she rented a private room she found on Airbnb for $50 a night.
“The host even let me store all my stuff in her garage,” says Elizabeth.
12. Couch Surf.
Instead of staying in hotels along the way, find relatives and friends in strategic spots along the way to put you up for a night.
Couchsurfing hosts will let you stay free for a night or two in their homes along the way.
13. Rent a Sublet.
Try finding a 60-day sublet on Craigslist or check out Sublet.com for short-term apartments while you search for affordable housing. If you’re lucky you can avoid having to make a deposit, since the existing tenant already has made one with the landlord.
14. Line Up a Readymade Roommate.
15. Get There by “Driveaway.”
Get hired for a one-time gig with a driveaway company, a business that hires independent contractors to drive vehicles one-way to a new destination for car dealers, corporations and commercial fleets. You’ll save on gas or airfare while getting paid to drive in style to your new city.
16. Book Roundtrip Airfare to Your New City.
Yes, your trip is one-way but roundtrip airfare is generally cheaper, so book roundtrip and then use only the outbound portion of your ticket.
17. Bring Food For the Trip.
Bring food and drink along in a cooler to save money on restaurants and snacks.
18. Stay in a Hostel.
If you’re traveling light, crash at hostels, which offer cheap shared rooms or dormitory accommodations.
19. Score Free Boxes.
There are tons of places to find gently used boxes that you can use to pack your stuff.
20. Start a GoFundMe Page for Moving Expenses.
Hey, it’s worth a shot. Post your plea on social media and see how much money you can drum up.