The ultimate guide on moving to a big city

a guide to moving to the city

SO, YOU'RE MOVING?

For whatever reason; university, love, work, family, the search for a new adventure or just to escape a place you have always lived, you might be moving to a new city.

I was exactly in that place a few years ago now and I know how you are feeling in this moment; scared, excited, anxious, brave and mostly; imagining you will live your most extravagant Carrie Bradshaw life.

Let me be the first to tell you they all are extremely normal feelings as I, myself, have dreamed of walking in a thousand pairs of different Manolo's on my way to dinner. I'm joking, (I'm not) I honestly understand how you feel, moving to a city is and always will be, a scary step to take. Just like any major change in your life is daunting because you have never had that experience before, you don't know what is on the other side.

All you know is that you have yourself to rely on and I promise you that's all you will ever need.

FEELINGS

The overwhelm at the beginning is normal, so is the excitement. Enjoy everything you are feeling right now because it shows that you are stepping out of your comfort zone and into a new chapter in your life, embrace it! I know so many people who have always wanted to live in a different city but never ending up taking the plunge out of fear, it makes me so sad that they will not experience that opposite feeling of fear either, the feeling of sitting in a cafe on your first moving in day, by yourself, having your very first coffee in a place where there will be many more to come.

You taking this step is already braver than you think so you are absolutely 10000% allowed to feel overwhelmed right now, I still have these moments too.

a guide to moving to the city
a guide to moving to the city

WHERE TO LIVE

Depending on the reason you are moving to the city, there are many many options to go for when it comes to choosing a place to live. My main advice would be not to stress about it too much for your first year in the city. You don't know the areas yet, you don't know the people yet so you need to focus first on finding your feet and you can do this wherever you are living, public transport will be your best friend!

I am planning to move around still in London, I lived in university halls for my first year then moved to another part of town the following year with other people and next year I am planning to live by myself, somewhere else again (who knows where) and I think that is the best way to explore a city fully. You might eventually want to find a place that feels more 'home' to you, I know I do as well but there is nothing wrong with just finding an area and flat you can afford for your first year without the commitment fear that you have to stay there the rest of your life.

Who knows who you'll meet or where your next job is going to be!

 

HOW TO MANAGE YOUR MONEY

No matter which city you are flying off to, it is going to be hella expensive. There are so many extra expenses from higher rent to the insane cost of public transport and you want to be prepared!

Most people would advice you to have 3 months of expenses in your savings before you move which is a good guideline to follow, you won't need 3 full months if you already have a job secured before you move though but if you don't then it is definitely a good start, so you can breathe and save yourself a lot of stress in the first weeks of being in the city!

Now onto the next; budget budget budget.

Whilst yes, excel budget sheets are good and all for overviews, how many times do you actually refer back to them on a  daily basis? What works for me is receiving spending notifications on my phone through the Monzo banking app, contactless cards are a little too convenient so seeing how much you spend as a reminder notification every time you check your phone makes it less attractive to do so.

I would also strongly advice to save extra money before you move as a ''explore budget'' for all the things you want to do as soon as you move, I mean you are making a massive change in your life, you need to enjoy it too! So go do all the tourist attractions and visit weird theatre shows to explore your new home.

Something to keep in mind for managing money in the city is that you can't change your rent price so you might as well make peace with it and save in another category. I have spend countless hours overthinking ''Oh the money I would have if only my rent was cheaper...'' yeah no.

You chose to move to the city so deal with it and go live your life! So what if you can't follow the 50/30/20 rule all the time, moving somewhere expensive is a sacrifice and you will see the benefits every where else, maybe not always your bank account.

That's not to say that you can't save at all or should stop trying, I am definitely not recommending that but I have had enough of seeing articles that say "If you stop buying oat chai latte's, you would rise to the 0.1% richest people in the world''.

(Priorities ok, now pass me my starbucks.)

There are always ways on how to get around the city on a budget and I am sure you are smart enough to do so. (Ahem, and I trust you won't be like this guy I dated once who felt he was too good for public transport and refused to get on a bus.)

With all that said, cards to consider when moving to an expensive city;

  • Monzo - My main advice to budget well in the city is to get yourself a Monzo bank account, it comes with a bright orange card that you will always be able to find in your purse but mostly it comes with an incredible app that tracks all your spendings and places it in categories for you. You can even set yourself a budget, say for 'fashion' and all your new buys will be tracked so it can notify you when you are going over! (Incredibly confronting let me tell youuuuu)
  • Transferwise - if you are going international baby! This is the best option to transfer money between your international bank accounts if you are heading abroad, much cheaper than doing a regular bank transfer!
  • American Express - If you know you are good with your finances I would also recommend the American Express platinum cash back credit card.* If you use this when you are about to make a purchase anyway, you can eventually get cash back on all your spendings  whilst building up your credit score at the same time! I have used mine for about 5 months now and already accumulated £120 cash-back.

*if you sign up through this link for the Platinum card we both get £10!

I love learning more about ways to make extra money and ways to budget more efficiently and will spend countless hours reading articles about this, I have pinned my most helpful articles I found on my Pinterest board here.

 

HOW TO MAKE NEW FRIENDS

So this topic we actually covered a lot on the podcast episode about moving to the city and it received such a great response that I wanted to include it here as well.

I believe that many many many people will say to sign up to a gym, meet a friend and that is it.

Literally could not disagree more. I for once have NEVER spoken to anyone in my gym, I don't go there to socialise, I hate it there and I want to go in and out as quick and effective as i can so no time for chit chatting in the dressing room. Maybe that's just my personal opinion and it might work for others, but what helped me most was finding people and communities actively online and then meeting up in person, my main suggestions to consider are the following three;

  • Bumble BFF - it is the dating app to find friends! i can't tell you how many people move to the city and are looking for new friends to hangout with and mostly just someone to explore with, go for coffees and cocktails and museum trips on Saturdays - you name it! Everyone on there is looking for connection so be prepared to have your calendar ready and start filling up your free time!
  • Facebook groups - there are A TON of Facebook groups about literally any hobby/activity you can find! Most are even city specific, when i moved to London I became a member of different 'London bloggers' groups so I could meet likeminded people! (I am secretly even a member of the 'ultimate Gilmore Girls' Facebook group, shhhh)
  • Meetup.com (or similar!) This website hosts loads of get-togethers, workshops, events etc that you can sign up for and be a part of in your city. I once met a few girls for drinks at a nightclub which was a fashion networking event hosted on here, so good!

The main think to keep in mind with any of the above or even other options too is that, everyone is in the same boat. No one knows each other and everyone is just trying to make the best of their time in the city so it is easier to put yourself out there! Others will thank you for it, I promise!

DATING IN THE CITY

You might be in a relationship already when you move to a new city, whether you move there together or you keep a distance between you two (probs what I would do as I neeeeed my space lol) that's totally fine and I am so happy for you! Please ignore the rest of this section as it seems a little irrelevant to you at the moment and is only aimed at my fellow single ladies here.

Personally I had high expectations of the dating scene when I moved to the city, I thought the more people the better the chances right? Well, that is true but it is also not as glam as it might seem - (AKA; expensive taxi's, wasted hours on many awful first dates + travel hours, cost of drinks in cities is WAY higher so you almost need a set budget for dating) read all about the truth of dating in the city in my previous post.

With that said, there is no other place like it. I love the fact that no one knows each other unlike small towns where you go on one date and Becky in the house on the corner has already told everyone in the Wednesday town meeting.

a guide to moving to the city

I have had some of my best nights out with strangers I never saw again, just hearing stories about how they ended up there, visiting secret hidden bars all the way across town and just feeling like you will remember it as if it was all a dream.

Dating apps is what I found worked best for me, not talking about Tinder (although nothing wrong with that) but some of the more serious apps out there where everyone needs to put in that little bit more effort on their profile.

I have list all the ones I used in the past in case you need an extra push on getting that profile set up asap;

Personal favourite;

  • Hinge - I believe this to be the best dating app out there, you can find out more about someone through the way the profiles are set up and it is easy to start a conversation since you have more to comment on, the only one I still use today!

Honourable mentions;

  • Bumble - I have used bumble more at the start, before I knew about Hinge and it is still really good! The only thing is that the woman always needs to start the conversation so you need to be very active before your chance of replying runs out.
  • Inner Circle - This one is exactly what it says, an inner circle. You need to apply for this and add two people for you to be able to use it properly, a great way if you have multiple single friends to start together! I have not used this one as much as I have other ones to be honest but it is worth trying out!
  • Happn - Saw someone you like on public transport but too late to say something and don't want to run hopelessly after them? Try this app designed to match you with people you cross paths with when out and about!

Of course there are plenty of other ways to meet someone/date casually but apps are a great way to start and to build up experiences and confidence too!

MINDSET AND MENTAL HEALTH

As fun and exciting as it is to live in a new major city, it can also be incredibly overwhelming. A few things that helped me with my move and mainly with coping in times when I felt like the city lifestyle all became too much;

  • Take regular breaks AWAY from the city
  • Actively decide to spend time in nature
  • Work on your ''why'' and remind yourself of this

By breaks away I don't mean a trip to the Bahamas (although I would not be totally against that) but simply the nearest beach or small village will help take your mind of all the traffic and rushing around that never seems to stop. I love London so much but I also love going home and realising I needed that mental break from the 'busy' lifestyle, even if it is just for a few days.

Your ''why'' is important to remember. Why did you move to the city? What do you want to get out of this experience? Why do you want this so badly to work out? What this does is remind you of why you moved there in the first place and might just spark that excitement inside of you again, when you need it most.

There is also nothing wrong with getting extra help to find your feet or sort through your thoughts of overwhelm by getting a therapist or a life coach in this time, it is not a breeze to just move to a complete new place, let alone when it is a complete lifestyle change at the same time!

My inbox is also always open to ask for advice or tips for moving to a new city, I believe you can do this and that this next chapter is going to be your best one yet!

 

ENJOY my fellow Carrie Bradshaw's of the world, you got this!

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