By Alander Rocha
Prachi Jhamb said she endured quite the culture shock when she moved from India to the United States for her doctorate. Aside from learning a new currency and adapting to a new country, Jhamb also needed to furnish her apartment in the first six months after the move.
“I had to buy all the furniture and everything. Also, get the kitchen settled because I cook at home,” said Jhamb. “So, every month, a lot of expense was going into these one-time investment type of stuff.”
Recent college graduates who move for their first jobs are likely to experience the same type of expenses, said Kimberly Watkins, professor of financial planning at the University of Georgia.
“Most people forget why it’s expensive to move. Even if you’re moving yourself, that’s still costly,” Watkins said, “So, start thinking about what those expenses could look like, and start saving up for them.”
For any move, Watkins said it is imperative to look at the cost of living of the new locale before even accepting the job position. Doing this homework can help figure out what items can be brought or might need to be bought after the move, and it will help develop a better understanding of the local economy, she said.
Watkins suggested building up savings as far as six months before the move and developing a budget based on what they can afford. She said always check with the employer to see if they offer relocation assistance. This is not always automatic, so Watkins said don’t be afraid to ask. An employer may be willing to cover some of the moving expenses, she said.
If the employer does not help with moving expenses, do not be afraid to ask family and friends or start a GoFundMe account. Watkins also said credit cards with a 0% introductory rate could be an option for people with little savings who need to cover costs out of pocket.
Kiddu Kamya, a junior at the University of Georgia, said he is not too worried about the financial impact of moving to a new city for his first job. Instead, Kamya wants to prioritize building a social network. Since he moved to Athens, Georgia, from Atlanta, he appreciated that social interactions happen effortlessly on college campuses.
“So, if I were to move to a new city by myself, how do you make friends?” asked Kamya.
Watkins agreed that building a support network is important in a completely new city, and she recommended building a budget for that. There are ways to make friends in a new city and still stick to a budget, she said. For those who enjoy the outdoors, she pointed out that most activities have a low cost or are free.
For those who prefer to stay in, she recommended hosting hangouts as it is much cheaper to eat and drink at home.
“People love to go out. And the drinks. That’s the stuff that starts to get us,” said Watkins. “And food is a big part of most cultures as well. It’s just a matter of rethinking what hanging out could be, versus what we end up doing.”
Alander Rocha is a journalism student at the University of Georgia.