web analytics

My Number One Tip to Save Money Before You Move

How to Save Money Before Moving | ChelseaDinen.com

UPDATE: I’ve created a powerful online course all about moving cross country called Soul-Centered Moving!

In this self-paced course, I go into great detail about ALL facets of moving and divulge many of my personal experiences, step-by-step advice, and lessons learned from moving cross country 4+ times on my own — this includes everything from how I saved money, found a new home, and made new friends, to how to work through the fear of starting over and how to let go of the opinions of others as you begin a new chapter. I’ve created workbooks, checklists, timelines, and visualizations to help you design your own successful move to a new city. You can enroll here!


One of the most common questions I’m asked by my coaching clients is:

“How much money should I have before moving to a new city?”

My answer to this question depends on a lot of different factors. It’s impossible for me to name a number without knowing more about your spending habits, living expenses, budget, etc. (If you would like to talk specifics, check out the One-On-One Roadmap coaching program where I’ll help you create a personalized plan for your move.)

But what I tell them and what I’m going to tell you is this:

If you haven’t already started saving your money, start today. No excuses.

It’s been both a blessing and a curse (but mostly just a blessing) that I have saved my money so intently starting at a young age. From as far back as I can remember, I’ve always saved more than I spent. I didn’t spend all my allowance when I was younger. I’ve never once turned around and spent an entire paycheck. I opened a savings account years before I ever had a checking account.

I’ve always felt that it’s more important to save money for something more worthwhile later on, than to spend money on clothes or eating meals out. Careless spending was not an option. Especially at the age of 20 when I decided, “I’m moving to San Diego one day.” It was always in the back of my mind, “You’re going to need that money to move to California. Save it.”

Note: While I encourage those who feel the call to move, to do it, and often talk about how quitting my job and moving to California was the greatest experience of my life, I do not at all encourage any of my clients, or anyone reading this, to make such a drastic move and life transition without a solid financial plan in place. I moved to California with a solid plan and strict budget and recommend the same for everyone planning to move.

So, here’s my number one tip to save money:

Be willing to make sacrifices.

If your goal is to move cross country, especially if you’re moving before getting a job (like I did), you will be fronting some expenses. Whether it’s the cost to rent a moving truck, ship your car, or buy a plane ticket, the cost of just the move itself can put a dent in your wallet. Then, you have the expenses of rent, deposits, and registering your car among other things once you arrive. It all adds up so you must be prepared.

If you don’t have a savings account already, go open one this week. Start setting aside money every single paycheck. I have my bank setup online so that with each direct deposit, a certain amount is automatically put into my savings account. This is so easy to do and sure enough, the money will start to accumulate. Many banks even have the option of setting a savings goal for yourself online. You set the amount of money you want to save and choose a date and it will tell you how much that means you need to save a week, month, etc. Boom. Easy.

Don’t touch your savings.

If you’ve been feeling the call to move and you’re serious about it, this savings account will be your everything. Stay determined and focused. Watch your spending. If you’re waiting in line at checkout and spot one of those impulse buys you think you need… you don’t. Get into the habit of asking yourself when you think about purchasing something, “Do I need this?” “Do I really need this?” Chances are, you don’t. Seriously.

In order to make our dreams a reality, we must be willing to make certain sacrifices.

You might have to skip that annual vacation or start to say, “No” a little more often when your friends ask you to go out and do something. Remember that all the little costs and fees and payments add up. Here are a few other things to consider giving up in order to save your money before you move to a new city:

1. Do away with cable. Not paying for cable and additional accessories such as a DV-R will save you tons every month. I’ve been cable-less for a couple years and it’s amazing how much time and energy (and money!) are available to me now.

2. Be super mindful and as efficient as possible with your utilities. I rarely have the A/C on and when I do, I keep it up higher to save on energy. The same goes for electricity. If I’m not in a room, the lights are off. I unplug everything as soon as I’m done using it. Sometimes I even just go by candlelight :)

3. Move in with a roommate or family member. Although it may not be ideal, this would allow you to save a ton of money, even if just for a month or two.

4. Prepare your own meals at home. Take lunch to work. Make dinner each night, even if it’s just something simple.

5. Simplify. Start selling and donating things that you no longer need. You’d be surprised how much cheaper your move will be when you have less belongings to transport. It’s freeing to get rid of things that no longer serve you in order to open up space and energy for what is coming into your life.


At the end of the day, it’s about being willing to make some sacrifices. Shift your perspective toward your dreams, purpose, and life goals. When you start seeing the value in exchanging something smaller for something bigger and more worthwhile, the sacrifices will become easier and easier.

Setting boundaries, and shifting your mindset in this way will help create change in your life as you prepare for your new journey. Hand it over to the Universe. Ask for help saving money. Ask to be guided to know which sacrifices to make. Remember that you and your dreams are always supported. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. If you’re dedicated and willing to work hard toward your life purpose, the Universe won’t allow money to be the one thing that holds you back.

My eCourse goes into much greater detail about saving money (plus everything else moving-related!) and includes worksheets, tools, and exercises to specifically help you save money for your move!

Join Soul-Centered Moving | ChelseaDinen.com

Browse all of my moving-related posts here!

Looking for personalized guidance, encouragement, and accountability with your decision to move? Here’s how you can work with me one-on-one! Or add me on Snapchat for a peek into my life as I prepare to move cross country again! Snapchat: ChelseaDinen

Remember, to be the first to know when registration opens for The Single Girl’s Guide to Moving Cross Country eCourse, sign up using the form below!


Sign up to join my email tribe and get access to my Gratitude Journal Printable!

You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    September 15, 2015 at 5:53 PM

    I would like to pick your brain about your move. I am in Pittsburgh about to move to San Diego and I have no idea where to start. I’d love some advice. Thanks!

    • Reply
      Chelsea Dinen
      September 16, 2015 at 11:31 AM

      Hi Melissa! I’ve created the One-On-One Roadmap program especially for that! Take a look under my ‘coaching’ section and let me know if you’d like to sign-up. I’d love to help you with your move! Otherwise, just take it one day at a time. Do plenty of research finding the best moving company/quote and give yourself plenty of time. Good luck and have fun!!

  • Reply
    March 2, 2016 at 8:12 AM

    I am currently living in California and I am considering moving out of state due to the cost of living. I am originally from California and have been here all my life. Most if not all my family and friends are here. I’ve also have never lived outside of California before, but I am struggling here and I think the best option for me is to move. What is your suggestion for a single girl in this boat.

  • Reply
    May 20, 2017 at 6:43 PM

    Hi Melissa, I have a dream I’d love to move to Portland Oregon any advice on how much I should save!


  • Leave a Reply