Sunday, April 19, 2009
Moving To California With No Money
Moving anywhere with no money can be a pretty daunting tasks. Moving to a state like California can seem downright impossible if you do not have any money.
One of the more popular ways people come to this site is looking for information on how to move to California if you have no money. I have actually never blogged about this, I blogged about the advantages California has as a place to live, but I think it is a pretty interesting idea so I decided to actually write a blog post about it.
First let me say I think it is impossible to move anywhere with absolutely zero money. There are just cost associated with any move so you are going to need some amount of money, even if it is just to pay for the bus ride here. So rather than talk about moving to California with absolutely no money, I am going to talk about what would be the absolute cheapest way to get and live here.
I also want to address one other issue. Are you sure you want to move here? I have left and come back to California three different times so I am well aware of the advantages of living here. If you are planning on moving here with no money, it seems you are pretty desperate to move here and are probably running away from something not running to California. While I love living here, I have lived in many other places and would say that most places are livable. It is a much better idea to continue to live in your current area, save some money, and move to California when you have some means than to try and move here with nothing. Moving to California will not be some sort of magical cure that fixes all of life's problems. In fact, moving here with no money will cause you a lot of problems that will probably be worse than almost anything you are now facing. It may not seem like it, but being broke in an expensive place to live is no fun either.
If you are still set on moving to California, keep reading. Be prepared to leave everything behind. I do mean everything. If you really have no money to move to California, you do not have the money to haul your stuff over here either. Not having stuff means you can save on moving cost and you can have a smaller place. It also means you can sell all your stuff and raise some money to actually get here. Put all your stuff on sale on Craigslist. If you own the computer you are reading this on, you should put it up for sale. If you own an iPod, you should put it up for sale. You might not get a great deal for your stuff but it will put money in your pocket and that is the most important thing right now.
So now you have nothing to burden you down and you (hopefully) have at least a few bucks in your pocket. The very first thing you have to worry about is not getting here but where you are going to live when you get here. This is your biggest problem. You have to have somewhere to live. It is not OK to come here and go live on the street. If at all possible, you want to find a temporary place to live that will not cost you anything. Why? Because to get a place to live you have to have a job. But to get a job, you often have to have a place to live. It is a vicious catch-22. Find or make a friend here that you can crash on their couch for a while. Find a long lost relative who might be willing to put you up for at least a month. Whatever it takes, you need to find a place where you can live for very very little money. This likely has to be with someone you know because no landlord is going to take you in with no job. Your only other alternative is to find a place where you can live week to week. There are many motels that you can do this at, but it is not going to be a pleasant, or even cheap option. If you can find somewhere you can live rent free, your life is going to be MUCH MUCH easier. Rent is by far the biggest expense that you cannot avoid. Eliminating this as an expense means you can go much longer on a lot less money.
An alternative is to scour the classifieds for work that will provide housing. This is often the case with nanny type positions. While looking after kids might not be your ideal job, it is better than living in the street. If you are desperate enough to move here without money than even the thought of looking after someone else's kids should not scare you.
The next order of business is to get a job. If you have no money and no job options, it does not matter what type of job you get. Even if you are going to have to take minimum wage, do it. You need to have cash flow. You are in no position to hold out for just the right job. You have no money and are probably bumming off of people so swallow your pride and take what you can get. If the job pays minimum wage than it will not be a big deal to leave the job once you line up something else. But under no circumstances should you continue without a job. Even a minimum wage job at 30 hours a week will put about $200 in your pocket. That's nothing to sneeze at when you have nothing.
Spend on nothing but the necessities. There are only so many things you actually need. You need to have a roof over your head but you should have taken care of that by now. You need to have food. That is pretty much it. Anything else, you need to cut out from your life. Contrary to popular belief, you do not need a car. I know people in California who get by just fine, albeit inconveniently, on public transportation. Cars are expensive to maintain. You need to do repairs, pay for gas, pay for registration, and pay for insurance. This is not an option if you have no money. If you have a car, you should have already sold it by now to raise money. You do not need to have cable TV. You do not need to have a cell phone (you do need somewhere that you can be reached if you are looking for a job). You do not need internet access. Almost anything you think you need can either be cut or obtained some other way (use the internet at the local library). If something is not actually helping you to survive you do not need it.
After you have secured a job, you need to find a better job. You need to spend every waking hour doing something toward this goal. You should be searching job sites, fixing your resume, or obtaining skills or knowledge that will help you find a job. Searching for a job is a full time job. If you are not spending 40 hours a week doing it, you are not trying hard enough. This plus your day job means you are just working 80 hours a week. That is no big deal. Just do it.
While this plan may sound unpleasant or even frightening it can be done. My strong advice is to still not do it. If you can hold out, not move, and save money you should be doing that.