How to Save Money When Moving to a New City

Jennifer McDermott recently moved from Sydney, Australia to New York City. She shares some money-saving tips based on her experience. 

Moving to a new city is no walk in the park. There are so many things to consider, which can be overwhelming. When I moved not only cities, but also countries, I quickly had to find out the best ways to save money. Moving is expensive – every penny counts!

Whether you’re moving across the state or from Sydney to New York City (like me!), there are some money-saving considerations that are the same. After all, starting out in a new city is more exciting when you can afford to take the leap!

Leaving in a hurry? Think personal loans

In the perfect world, you would have months of time to prepare and save up for your move. Unfortunately, this isn’t the perfect world, and it’s all too easy for something to happen to make you have to pack and leave in a hurry, or not be better prepared. Your emergency fund might be running a bit low of late and this is where a personal loan can come in.

If you do your research and compare, you may find a loan that suits your financial situation to help you adjust smoother. Plus, you can look at options that won’t hit you with high-interest rates and inflexible terms.

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Compare insurance providers

When moving, you should always update your insurance providers of your new address, whether it be auto, health, or homeowners insurance. The added bonus is that your insurance premium may lower depending on your circumstances, for instance, if you move to a safer neighborhood.

However, be wary that your insurance premium can also increase. In these situations, it’s important to remember that you have the option of switching providers. Research your options. You could potentially save a lot of money by switching to a lower premium.

The great debate: buying vs renting

Ah, the property debate that never seems to end! However, when I moved from Australia to the U.S., I only had the option of renting. With no credit history in the U.S., it would’ve been impossible for me to buy with a mortgage. But I like to think of it as having the best of both worlds – I can rent for now, with the aim of buying later on. For the moment, renting allows me to understand and suss out the neighborhood I’m in, while allowing me the time to determine other areas to consider in future, all without the hassle of a time constraint. Moving cities is stressful enough without adding house-hunting to the list!

Renting also gives you the time to make an informed decision while you look into the housing market. When moving, you could end up desperate to find something in your price range and make the wrong decision. Take your time and think about it.

However, what I decided might not suit everyone. Your situation could be different, but it always pays to closely consider renting or buying, and do your research for each option.

Don’t cut corners

Yes, in a post about saving money, I am advising you to not always go for the cheapest option. When I was moving, both friends and family hammered this lesson into me. It might seem like a good idea in the short-term, but when your moving company cancels on you at the last moment, doesn’t show up, or breaks all of your expensive glassware, it won’t seem so great an option anymore. Paying that little bit extra to guarantee quality will pay out in the long run. It’s good to get a balance between affordability and value for money.

The last word

Moving cities comes with a long laundry list of things to consider, but with the proper planning and research, you can save yourself a lot of time and stress. As handy as these tips are, moving will still always be expensive. The key is to be smart about it, and to not let yourself lose sight of the end goal – you’re soon to have a whole new city at your heels! So if you’re starting a new job in a new city, make sure to leave yourself some time to explore your new digs and plan ahead before hitting the road.


Jennifer McDermott is the Consumer Advocate at personal finance comparison website finder.com. Jen has more than 12 years’ experience working in content and communications across the personal finance, travel, and lifestyle industries. When she’s not caring for her adorable pug Frank, she’s hunting down the best finance deals for consumers.