How I Moved to NYC
Updated: Apr 20
So I'll give you a little run down... I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area in the East Bay in a small little city called Concord, my entire life. I moved to Sonoma County for college, stayed there for 5 years then moved to Anaheim in Southern California for a year AND THEN moved to San Francisco and stayed there for ehhh 4 years-ish?
I've moved about 14 times in the last 10 years and I'm so exhausted. I recently got inspired to write this blog post because I moved a few days ago, yet again. Just moved from one apartment in Brooklyn to another... in Brooklyn lol
So you can read a little bit as to WHY I moved to NYC, now we're going to break it down and I'll tell you exactly HOW I did it. This is by NO means a blue print on how to do it, I probably don't even recommend it but it worked for me so maybe you can get some tips out of this too!
1. What is your WHY?
Why on God's green earth do you want to move to NYC? It has to be completely compelling and so motivating that it's all you think about for the next few months/years before taking the leap. I highly recommend you come to NYC for a short visit 1 or 2 times before making the leap.
**I came out here a billion times before I knew that this was the city for me. I had dreams as a little girl that I'd live in this hustling big city and truthfully never even saw this coming to fruition but I'm here to tell you that 5 year old Kastania would probably pee herself from excitement knowing that almost 30 year old Kastania actually did it and moved here, all by herself.... BOLD B^&%# !!!
2. Find a valid way to get here.
I'm not talking transportation, I'm talking about finding a purpose to uproot your life out to NYC. Apply to colleges, apply to all the jobs, if not, find a remote job or at least a lucrative side hustle that can pay your bills. But make sure it's actually legit!
**I filed for a work transfer and then I had bartending/serving skills so I knew I just needed to land a few restaurant jobs to secure my form of income to stay here.
3. Make a budget & stick to it.
Buy a one-way flight for 3 months or 6 months from now to NYC (after you've already vacationed here and know you want to live here) Make a budget for all the things you need to pay for when you get out here; moving expenses, rent, utilities, groceries, Uber's, subway card etc. and then save up for at least a 3 month cushion money.
** I worked as a bartender and I was making a LOT of money so I just saved every single penny, didn't spend a dime for 6 months straight and I moved home to save more money. Sounds wild, but I used all of that money to help me get to NYC and have a 3 month cushion. I bought the one way ticket but I also knew I had money in the bank for an emergency to come home when I absolutely needed to.
4. Find a place to live.
Craigslist is sketch AF and you don't need that negative energy in your life. If you can swing it, try and plan a trip to NYC to actually go to viewings of these apartments. I recommend that you go with a friend so you don't have to go alone.
Facebook has some amazing NYC housing groups where people are posting about rooms for rent all the time!!! My plan was to rent a room on Airbnb for a month, then hire a housing broker/ set up viewings for my first month living in NYC to then go out and find somewhere to live. It's way easier when you're actually here. Take note that in NY, landlords are only allowed to ask for first month + deposit, NOT first + last + deposit, that's considered illegal. If you have shitty credit, you'll need a guarantor with 680+ credit score and making at least 40 times the rent (it's just a co-signer to say you're not sketch) Some people ask for a NYC guarantor only. Also note that it's way cheaper to live outside of Manhattan in Brooklyn, Queens or New Jersey so don't limit yourself. I live in Brooklyn and my commute is 20 minutes to work and my rent is wayyy cheaper than Manhattan with a large bedroom lol
** I got super lucky and set up a Facetime viewing with a girl from a Facebook group to view the room for rent. She was so sweet and I told her I was still living in SF so it was hard to set up a time to come out there. She said, "eff it, you're the most legit person we've met, the room is yours if you can guarantee you'll live here for 22 months!" I said... YES!** I know it seems sketch and I probably wouldn't recommend doing it this way but it worked for me. And that's the truth that no one actually tells you when you ask how people ended up picking up and moving!! Other friends of mine have used the Roomi app to find rooms for rent and have found that to be super successful!
5. Moving all your things.
How TF are you going to move all the things out to NYC? Well, don't bring big furniture, just buy it all out here. Make sure that you've allocated that in your budget. You will need clothes, shoes, books and that's about it. Everything else can be purchased when you get here; toiletries, furniture, towels, blankets, bed, bed frame, dresser, mirror. It will cost more money for you to ship this stuff here than to just repurchase this stuff.
**find a UPS, USPS, delivery location near your new apartment in NYC and ship your stuff there. If you have a doorman in a new apartment, then have things sent there instead. DO NOT deliver anything if you are living anywhere else, your shit will get stolen. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!!! It's sooo expensive to ship stuff across the county so try your absolute best to bring a bunch of suitcases with you on the plane during your first trip out here. Marie Kondo the eff out of your suitcase packing.
6. Give it the good ol' try!
I truly believe that you need to give everything a chance for a year. If you decide you hate living in NYC after that, then move home, that's okay too!
** I booked a flight for my brother's wedding just 3 months after moving to NY and decided if I was truly miserable, I would just go home. It wasn't the case and I went back to Brooklyn and stayed here ever since :)
Hi, okay so moral of the story is that... moving to NYC from the SF Bay Area is hands down the hardest thing I've ever had to do in my life and I literally flew out here with 5 suitcases ALONE. I get that people have done this before and I always think that if you moved to NY, you're a stronger person because of it. So here we are, this is how I got to NYC and made it work. It's not the recipe on how to do it but it worked for me so maybe it'll work for you?!
Let me know if you have any questions :)