5 Reasons to Move if Your Finances Are Stretched

By Jessica Thiefels

Dealing with stretched finances can become the norm very quickly for many Americans as consumer prices have risen to their highest level since 2012, according to the Labor Department—this means the cost of living is increasing, but many people are not getting paid more, in return.

If you’re sick of living paycheck to paycheck, and moving to another city or state sounds like a manageable change, then do some research on how a new location might help your pocketbook. Moving can help you get back on your feet financially, while opening up new opportunities and experiences. If your finances are stretched, here are a few good reasons to get out of town.

1. Job Opportunities

If your city or state doesn’t offer enough job opportunities in your particular trade or sector, find somewhere that does. This is one of the main reasons people relocate. According to Glassdoor’s Report, “Metro Movers: Where Are Americans Moving for Jobs, And Is It Worth It?” more than one quarter (28.5 percent) of Glassdoor users applied to jobs outside their metropolitan area. 

If you don’t know where you want to move, check both average salary ranges for your line of work as well as the health of the job market. According to research from Indeed, the following are the best cities for job seekers in 2019 based on job market favorability, salary, work/life balance and job security and advancement:

  • San Jose, CA
  • San Francisco, CA
  • Boston MA,
  • Minneapolis, MN
  • Miami, FL

2. Rental Prices

Are you spending more than half your monthly paycheck on rent? As you look to a new location for rental prices, keep a simple rule of thumb in mind: you should spend no more than 30 percent of your gross monthly income on housing-related expenses, including rent, according to SmartAsset: “In other words, if you’re making $3,000 a month, it’s a good idea to pay no more than $900 for rent and other housing costs.”

This is why it’s critical to do your research, not just on the job market, but the rental market as well. Luckily, there are a few ways to get this information quickly and easily.

  • If you have an idea about where you want to move, look for regional rental reports, like this Springfield, Missouri report from Adobo. Many companies regularly produce these reports on the status of rental costs, allowing you to make an educated guess about where you’ll find the best prices.
  • Call a local real estate agent, who can likely advise you on average rental costs and state of the market.
  • Look for nationwide reports like the 10 Best Cities for Renters from Moving.com if you’re not sure where you want to go.

3. Lower Cost of Living

If you’re not earning enough money to maintain your preferred lifestyle, then you might want to consider moving to a different city or state that has a lower cost of living. Below are the top states with the lowest cost of living, according to data from CNBC.

  • Indiana
  • Georgia
  • Alabama
  • Kansas
  • Missouri
  • Tennessee

You can also use this cost of living calculator to compare your current cost of living with new locations.

4. Reduce Cost of Transportation

If you live in a small rural town, chances are you drive everywhere. The costs of maintaining, insuring and paying off your car are likely making a significant dent in your budget. The average cost of driving a car is $8,469, with the cost ranging from $6,354 to $10,054 for pick-up trucks, according to AAA.

While the costs of public transportation vary from state to state, living in an area where you don’t need to own a car may help you cut down on these costs. Better yet, moving to a walkable city will eliminate the expenses of having to take any form of transportation altogether. Check out the most walkable cities, according to WalkScore to find your next home.

5. Support

If you live far away from family and friends, you may find the added support of moving closer is helpful when your finances are stretched. Having your core group of loved ones nearby can help you save money in ways you probably haven’t thought of. For example, you may not have to pay for a babysitter or hire someone to move your things if you’re near family. You’ll also save on flights or road trips back home for holidays, weddings, and other events.

Is It Time to Move?

If you’re fed up with living paycheck to paycheck, consider making a move. Whether you’re looking for more job opportunities or more options for saving on monthly expenses, a new location may be just what you need to get a handle on your finances.