Moving Preparation June 10, 2022

How to Move Out for the First Time With a Limited Budget

Milly Andrews

Born and raised in Portland, Milly has had a lot of experience moving and writing about the relocation process.

Moving overseas has always been tempting for young adults who want to expand their horizons and gain experience through meeting other cultures. However, considering the costs of an overseas move, many question how to move out for the first time and not go broke in the process. If you are one of them, check the following tips for moving out for the first time and finish your move with some money left in your pocket.

Relocating with limited funds means choosing the future country based on the cost of living. You also have to find a way to support yourself financially after the move and reduce the housing costs by getting a roommate. As for the move itself, pick a move by sea as the more affordable option, bring only the essentials, and book a move outside of the relocation season. Also, if you decide to pack by yourself, be sure to use as many cost-free supplies as possible.

How to Move Out for the First Time? Start with Calculating the Budget

What is the first step to moving out? Before you start any other task, you must be certain to calculate the funds you have at your exposal. Remember – this step is a necessary precondition of organizing the move successfully. How much money should you have saved when you first move out? Do you have to save up some more? How much can you afford to spend on each relocation task? Calculating the relocation budget will determine all of the answers. On the other hand, your decisions about professional services, packing supplies, and even your final destination can all depend on the calculated sum.

Moving to Another Country? Free Estimate

Include the Visa Costs in the Relocation Budget

One of many things to know when moving out to another country is finding which documents are needed to travel abroad. In most cases, you’ll have to obtain a visa and make sure your passport is valid for at least six months from the day of the departure. Unfortunately, it doesn’t come without a cost. The application fee for getting a visa is usually around $100, but the exact price depends on the chosen country and visa type.

However, keep in mind that there are many visa-free countries for US citizens – 142 in 2022, to be precise. Each of these countries has its own policies about how long you can stay before getting a visa becomes required (usually around three months). When you decide on the place you wish to live in, make sure you contact the embassy and get additional information.

How Much Money Should You Have Before Moving Out?

The answer to this question depends on many different factors – your reasons for relocation, the country you’re relocating to, chosen services, items you want to bring, and the like. So, how much money do I need to move out, you asked? Assuming you are relocating abroad alone, having around $5,000 would be ideal until you settle in completely. If that currently isn’t a possibility, think about:

  • Canceling automatic memberships and subscriptions,
  • Saying goodbye to branded things,
  • Start eating at home,
  • Choosing walking instead of driving.

If you need some additional tips and strategies on how to save up smartly, check the following video:

Choose a City (Or Even Country) With a Lower Cost of Living

If you have the freedom of choosing your new home, make sure you don’t have to spend a fortune by simply living in it. While the cost of groceries, transportation, and utilities impact the cost of living in one place, you would want to focus on housing expenses. Since buying a house with a tiny budget isn’t an option, focus your search on areas where you can rent an apartment cheaply. Of course, if you’ve already chosen the new country, at least research what are the more affordable cities or towns in it.

Think About Job Options In a Place You Are Going to Live in

Rent is not the only thing to think about when relocating to a new city. In order to move across the world for an extended period, you must be able to support yourself financially – especially if you don’t have a large budget to start with. Additionally, keep in mind that you have to obtain a visa if you plan to work legally in another country. Checking jobs that are in demand must be a part of your relocating abroad checklist, that is, if you are not a digital nomad.

On the other hand, ask your employer about relocation packages if you plan to move for work. They imply that some or all of the expenses will be covered or later reimbursed, including all relocation and storing costs, temporary housing expenses, and travel. It is an opportunity not to be missed, especially if your budget is already tight.

Consider Sharing the Apartment Rent With Roommates – Or Several of Them

Maybe you were looking forward to living on your own after leaving your parents’ nest, but the reality is that you’ll save the most if you decide to share your housing expenses. So, when creating a moving out for the first time checklist, make sure that looking for the best roommate websites in a foreign place is on it. Who knows, you may even meet new friends who will help you adjust to the new country faster.

People taking pictures together after moving overseas
Aside from helping you save up, sharing an apartment can bring you new friendships

Search for Reputable and Trustworthy International Movers

Is moving out for the first time hard? Even if you’re relocating a few blocks away, the answer is yes. However, an overseas move gets even harder, both emotionally and physically. Not only will you need more extensive preparations, but you’ll be leaving your loved ones thousands of miles behind. It’s not uncommon for relocation stress to appear in this situation and the best way to deal with it is to get assistance. While no one but yourself can help you with emotional coping, international movers are there to take some of the burden off your shoulders.

Professionals are there to help you move efficiently and safely – but they do come with a cost. However, getting their assistance is often not only preferable but necessary. Complex logistics each international move implies can be hard to figure out and manage, especially when you have no experience whatsoever. Therefore, the only solution to relocate successfully is to hire reliable movers.

Should You Book Additional Services?

Keep in mind that sometimes you must get more than standard international services. If you wish to ship a car overseas to a remote part of the world, you’ll have to get overseas vehicle shipping. Note that even packing services will sometimes be necessary. Some countries demand movers to vouch for their client’s cargo, which is impossible if they were not the ones packing it.

Although boxing up your belongings yourself or with the help of a friend will allow you to save quite a bit, sometimes it simply cannot be done. On the bright side, for all of those who want to move overseas on a low budget – some highly reputable relocation companies offer discounts if you decide to combine their services. Get informed about it when searching for the right one.

When Hiring an International Moving Company, Choose to Move by Sea

Moving by air is a more convenient option both for you and your movers – but it’s also a more expensive one. Therefore, when looking for a relocation company, ensure they can offer you a move by sea. Although you’ll not be reunited with your belongings for much longer than if you go with the first option, you won’t need a fortune to relocate your belongings abroad. Contact the company and check if a less or full container load will be more affordable in your specific situation.

Check the Company’s License and Insurance

So you don’t become a part of some relocation scams and end up spending all of your savings on movers, you must check if you’ll be working with a legitimate company. Aside from reading reviews and recommendations on third-party websites, your safest bet is to use the company’s DOT number to see if it’s properly insured and licensed.

Two movers carrying boxes
The best way to protect your savings is to make sure the movers are trustworthy

Select the Right Relocation Date

If you decide to move outside of the relocation (and tourist) season, you can save a lot. Most relocations happen between April and September – and high demand brings higher prices. Not only that, but plane tickets also tend to be expensive during the peak of the tourist season, usually between July and September. Therefore, if you have the option of choosing, it is always better to move in the period between.

When choosing the relocation day, remember that the final price of the move can depend on the exact date. It’s common for a relocation to be less expensive if organized mid-month and mid-week. Keep that information in mind when booking movers and tickets.

Pack Only Items You’re Going to Use

The common question during every relocation is what to keep and what to get rid of. However, if you plan on living overseas, you must be ruthless while deciding – the fewer things you bring, the more affordable the relocation will get. Things you haven’t used for more than a year should not be a part of your international cargo (with the exception of sentimental and valuable items). So, what household items do you need to move out? Bring only the relocation essentials – anything else can be bought after the move.

Decluttering can even be a great way of earning some much-needed money. Everything you decide to leave behind can be sold (if still usable). You can organize a garage sale or post the stuff on online marketplaces and increase your relocation budget.

Use Free Packing Supplies Whenever Possible

If you decide against getting packing services, gathering all the required supplies will be your responsibility. However, remember that you don’t have to waste a fortune on them – there are plenty of cost-free materials you can use, like:

Recycled boxes

First of all, check your storage spaces and ask your parents if some used boxes are set aside. Next, ask your friends if they have some to spare. Also, don’t forget to stop by local shops like bookstores and liquor stores since they operate with boxes daily. Finally, search for websites where people give away previously used supplies, like Freecycle.

Old clothes, linens, beddings, and towels

These and other materials you can find in your home can be an excellent solution for padding or even wrapping. It would be best to use it for non-breakables. However, with the proper technique, you can also utilize them to pack fragile items and other delicate belongings.

Newspapers and magazine paper

These materials can be a good alternative to packing paper, but remember that black ink can leave marks on your items. Make sure you don’t use it for wrapping valuables.


Shopping bags, duffle bags, and even garage bags you already have in your home can be really cost-effective storage spaces. However, they can’t provide the protection the same way boxes can so don’t use them for breakables.

Get Informed About Items You Can’t Ship

What do you need to know before moving out for the first time? Learning which items movers won’t move is an essential part of every first-time moving-out checklist. However, when moving internationally, you also must count on things you can’t import across the country’s borders – that is, if you want to avoid costly fees at customs.

Remember that some countries have weird prohibitions. Also, did you know that you can’t import used mattresses in Canada (without a specific certificate) or that chewing gums are banned in Singapore? Visit the country’s official website, contact the embassy to get a detailed list of things you can’t bring, and decide what to pack.

Packing list for moving internationally
Research the country's bans before you start making a packing list

Don’t Hesitate to Ask for Financial Assistance When Moving for the First Time

Relocating to another country is hard, even when it’s not your first move. It is even harder when you’re financially limited. However, when you are determined to live abroad, don’t feel ashamed to ask your parents to help you out. Discuss with them all the benefits you can gain from the move and explain your plan for the future. Once they see how much the relocation means to you and how serious you are about it, there is no chance they won’t provide their assistance – as much as they can. However, even if they are not able to do so, note that following the tips from above should do the trick all on their own.

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