Moving to a new city is one of the major changes you’ll go through as you start at your Business Partner. Now that you know which city you’ll be calling home for the next six months, it’s time to start preparing to relocate. A fresh start in a new city is an awesome and an exciting opportunity. This guide compiled by Praxis alumna Maxine Cox will provide advice, resources, and practical tips to help you navigate relocating to a new city.
Depending on your business partner, typical placement wages are around $15-20/hr. This range comes out to $31,200 – $41,600 annually or $2600-$3467 monthly.
This is enough to live on for 6 months in most cities, but you’ll probably need to create and stick to a budget to make it work.
Why you should have a budget
Making a budget will ensure that you know how much you have to spend, and will help you keep track of where your money is going.
To make a budget, determine how much you will be making, how much it will cost you to live, and then allocate your income accordingly to cover your cost of living. It will help you determine your price range for housing and other expenses. The idea is simple, but it can be more challenging to put into action.
Take home pay
First, determine how much you’ll have to live on per month. To get an estimate of how much per month you should plan to live on, check out this calculator. If you’re a contractor (which means you sign a 1099 contract for employment) then your business partner doesn’t deduct taxes from your check, so you should consider putting aside money from your paycheck for that (since you’ll owe all those taxes by the end of the year).
Make a list of all of your monthly expenses:
- Phone bill
- Insurance: car insurance, rental insurance, etc.
- Incidentals: you want to do your best to be prepared for sudden unexpected expenses.
- Other… Spotify subscription, etc.
Figuring out what the basic stuff is going to cost you in a new city isn’t always obvious.
To help you determine the cost of living in your area, there are various tools online to help you compare the cost of living in your new city to the one you currently live in. Here’s are a couple good tools to help you do that:
To help you make and stick to your budget, here are a number of resources you can use to track your finances:
- Mint.com — for actually making your budget, Mint is an easy way to track all of your income and expenses across multiple accounts.
- Prefer a simpler approach? Here’s how to make a budget in Excel
Learn more about finances and budgeting:
How to find a roommate/housing in your budget
One of the biggest expenses will be your rent. Below you will find a complete guide on finding a good living situation that fits within your budget.
The first decision when looking for a new place is how much you have to spend on rent. The generally recommended range to spend on rent is 25 to 30 percent of your wages.
Another factor to consider is that landlords typically look for an annual income ratio to be 40 times the monthly rent (which is roughly equal to 30% of your income). In addition, most places will require you to pay some sort of deposit when you first move in, so you should be prepared to pay a deposit equal to first (and sometimes last) month’s rent.
So, even if you are willing to pay more per month for your apartment, these limitations might drive you to look for a roommate or less expensive apartment anyway.
Generally, you’ll pay a deposit along with the first month (and sometimes last month) of rent when you sign a lease.
You can either try to find someone within your network to room with, or use online groups and ads to find someone outside your network. You’ll need to assess your personal level of comfort here.
By staying in your network, there’s more social insurance that this person will act as a responsible roommate and that you’ll be comfortable living with them. If you’re worried about getting along with someone or especially worried about being comfortable with your roommate, finding someone in your network is the safest bet.
On the other hand, rooming with a friend, coworker, or similar, can have negative consequences on your relationship with them. Someone who’s a great friend or coworker isn’t necessarily someone you want to live with.
Either way, finding someone you know isn’t always possible, and in that scenario you’re not out of options. Many people actually prefer to room with someone they don’t know very well. Finding someone outside your network to room with can be a great way to branch out and make new friends outside of your business partner.
Rooming with someone you didn’t know previously, like someone you find on Craigslist or Facebook, doesn’t have to be risky or dangerous. You can do it safely by making sure to take your time getting to know potential roommates, asking for references, and just using your intuition. If you get a bad feeling about someone, that’s a good sign you wouldn’t be a great match for living together.
Ultimately it’s up to you to decide what you’re comfortable with.
If you’re going the roommate route, there are plenty of options available to you for finding a great roommate:
- Reach out to your network. Post on Facebook, Workplace, and in the Slack community to find out if anyone in your network is looking for a roommate in your new city. You can reach out to your business partner to see if they can help you find a roommate, too.
- Craigslist. Many alumni have successfully found great roommates through Craigslist. Go to the rooms wanted and rooms / shared sections on your new city’s local Craigslist to see what’s available.
- Join local Facebook housing groups. Try looking for student housing groups for local colleges to find people who are likely to have similar budgets to you. Search “[city] roommates”, “[school] housing” or some combination of those keywords to find relevant groups and posts. To give you an idea of what might be available to you, here’s a list of groups and resources available in Atlanta, GA:
You can make your own posts in these groups if you have any specific criteria, and also browse the existing posts to see if you find any folks that look like a good match:
No matter what route you take, keep your wits about you– meet up with potential roommates in public first and be wary about giving out personal information (or money!) to people on Craigslist before you’ve seen the place and met your roommate.
There’s a good chance you can find a room to rent out using a lot of the above strategies, in which case you kill two birds with one stone finding roommates and housing.
If you’re getting your own place or still need to lock down an apartment for you and your roommates, here are some things to help with your apartment hunt.
Safety, commute time to work, and convenience are some of the things you will want to consider when choosing the neighborhoods that will work for you.
In general, the farther away you are from work, the higher your transportation costs will be. If you work in a major metropolitan area, you will find that the housing costs decrease the farther away you live. The trick is to find a balance between the two.
Many apartment-hunting websites and apps allow you to limit your apartment search to a particular area and see the range of rent prices within that area. Here are a few resources for finding apartments in your desired neighborhoods and price range:
To optimize for cost, safety, and whatever else is important to you, it’s important to get a feel for the city you’re moving to. What neighborhoods are better not to walk around in at night? Which are walkable? Which will you need a car to get around? Which are affordable and which are more expensive? If you plan to hit the gym, is there one that will be convenient for your lifestyle?
How to learn about your city and find resources:
To get an idea of the city, you can visit local city subreddits or forums to find out what the locals think.
If you are moving out for the first time and have no credit history, it’s common for apartment complexes to require some combination of level of income or credit history to rent you the apartment. Prepare to need a parent or someone else to sign the lease as a guarantor. Most guarantors for recent grads are parents. Landlords will require your guarantors’ income to be 80 times the monthly rent, to ensure they can pay for their own bills as well as yours if you can’t afford your rent.
In general, landlords look for good references from previous landlords that have rented to you. You don’t have that option when you’re applying for your first apartment, so you can provide work supervisors and managers to your responsibility instead.
When you’re looking for a place, you should have the following things on hand so that you can lock down a place quickly when you find something:
- Recent paystubs or a note of employment validating your salary. Your letter must be officially signed and on company letterhead.
- Recent bank statements and/or a recent tax return.
- Your Social Security number for a credit check.
- Photo identification.
- Vehicle information, including a license plate number, make and model number.
- A check to pay for application fees and security deposit.
- Contact information for references.
For the sake of your future sanity and your budget, make sure that you review your lease carefully before you sign one. If there’s a chance you’ll need to move somewhere else in 6 months, it might be best to look for a short term lease, a lease takeover, or a lease that’s flexible with subleases.
Make sure you understand before moving in how much utilities will cost. The last thing you want is to move into your new place and discover you can’t afford to pay your electricity bill!
Did you finish making your budget and find yourself wondering how you’re going to manage to stick to it? If you find yourself in a situation with a shoestring budget, don’t panic. There are a lot of things you can do to stretch your money.
- Credit cards. There are lots of different takes on debt. If you can get one, though, it can be a useful tool if you find yourself in a pinch with a big expense. You need to determine your own comfort level with it, but building some credit can be useful down the line for getting apartments, buying a car, etc. Check out these starter credit cards.
- Cook at home. Use resources like budgetbytes.com, r/eatcheapandhealthy, and endless other online resources to find easy, cheap, nutritious recipes.
- Look for other ways to save money. Drink coffee at the office instead of getting Starbucks, walk to work if you can, and find free events instead of going to the movies all the time!
Take it from an alum — moving to a new city and starting at a new company is a really exciting time!
Take advantage of the opportunity to try new things and meet new people. You’re already reinventing yourself by doing Praxis so do your best to continue your streak of self improvement. A new city can be the perfect storm you need to create new habits that carry into the rest of your life.
It might not be all fun and games, though. Negative emotions are common when you’re in the midst of life changes. Homesickness, anxiety, difficulty dealing with new responsibilities are normal. Keep in mind that your advisors, the Praxis community, your business partner, etc. are all here to help you grow and succeed!
Keeping up those healthy habits and taking care of yourself is important to continue performing your best at your business partner. Remember that it’s just growing pains and things will get easier and much better. Really!
Here are some of the best resources other alumni have created on moving to a new city:
- How to work a city from alum Evan Le
- Moving to a New City 101 with Grant Parker
- Emily Cozzens shared on Workplace her experience moving to St. Petersburg, FL to work at PandaDoc.
- Lauren Marlowe wrote a blog post on how to find an apartment and roommates in a new city.
Additionally, here is another helpful guide from The Muse on relocation to a new city.
Don’t be intimidated — moving is hard, but once you start the process you’ll realize it’s more doable than it seems. You’ve got this! And remember — every Praxis alum has already done it, and we’re all happy to support you through your own transition. Check and see if your new city has a group on Workplace, and share your questions in the community. We’re always happy to answer them!