Can’t Afford to Move Out? (Here is What you Should Do)

Can’t Afford to Move Out? (Here is What you Should Do)

At one point in time, you’ve probably heard someone say, “I need to get out of my place but I can’t afford to move out,” or maybe you’ve uttered those words before.

In any case, if you know someone who needs to move out but can’t afford to or if you’re stuck in this particular pickle, I’ve got you covered.

I left my family home at 18 and since then, have moved countries six times and lost count of the number of times I have moved houses!

The nomadic life is something which now comes naturally to me, so, I want to share some tips in the hope it will help you if you are thinking of moving out.

Maybe you think it’s time to spread your wings and get away from your parents. Maybe your housemate crunches their chips too loudly. Or your home is filled with toxic mold and you really need to get out of there. 

I’m not here to question your reason but I can offer you solutions galore if you can’t afford to move out.


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What you should do if you can’t afford to move out?

So, what is one to do when they can’t afford to move out?

I’ll take you through a step by step guide to help you cut costs when you move out and offer some quick fixes if you’re truly desperate and need to get the heck out of your current housing situation but don’t have the means to do so.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

  • Stop and assess
  • Set a date
  • Plan and budget
  • Save money
  • Get a job (If you don’t already have one)

Your options:

  • House sitting
  • Rent-for-work
  • Do chores in exchange for rent
  • Live-in nanny or pet sitter
  • Manage an apartment building
  • Couch Surfing

Step 1: Stop and assess your situation

“I want to move out of my parents house but I can’t afford it,” a tale as old as time. Maybe the urge to leave the nest is strong but the means are not there. Your first step is to stop, take a look at your life, and assess the situation.

Leave the aforementioned house and go somewhere you can decompress and think clearly. Ask yourself: 

  • Do you have other options? 
  • What are your goals? 
  • Is the situation urgent? 

Be realistic about how much you can manage and what you can do in the timeframe you’ve given yourself. 

Step 2: Set a date

You’ve assessed your situation and you feel that the only choice you have left is to move out. Step two requires you to set a date.

They say, “a goal without a timeline is merely a dream.” This is true -after assessing your situation, you should choose a realistic move-out date and stick with it. No and’s, if’s or buts about it. 

Once you have a date in mind, it’s time to move on to step 3.

Step 3: Plan and budget

You have a date and now you need to reach your goal. Maybe make a checklist and name it, “moving out of parents house checklist.” Write down a list of things you need to achieve in order to meet your goals. 

Stick that goal somewhere you can see every day and work towards it. If you want it bad enough, you can do it.

Let’s say your goal is to move out in 4 months, how can you get yourself one step closer to that goal? You plan and budget. What are you spending? How much of it can you cut out?

If you have been living with your parents then I suggest putting away any extra money you have to build up a savings.

Do some homework before you march into life, ask yourself: 

  1. Where do I want to go?
  2. What can I afford (long term/short term)?
  3. Will I have enough for other costs (utilities, food, etc.)?

Setting goals may be scary and sometimes it may even seem unattainable but start small and work your way up. Start by setting a daily goal, move on to weekly ones, and then jump into monthly goals before moving out.

Step 4: Save money

How to afford moving out when you can’t afford to move out? The answer to that is: save money.

I’m not one to sugarcoat things -if you’ve been living with your parents rent-free and they’ve been giving you some allowance or you had extra pocket money to galavant through town, then ideally you should have some money to help you with the move.

Leaving the family home can be tough and if you haven’t familiarized yourself with budgeting, saving, or financial discipline, this is the time to do so. So what’s the quickest way you can save money? 

  • Cut frivolous expenditures from your budget
  • Needs have to be prioritized over wants: only buy essentials
  • Save money by eating in for a while
  • Set up a meal plan (even better: base it around items on sale at the supermarket)
  • Shop at cheaper stores or the farmers market 

(Tip: if you go at the end of the day, most vendors will just give away their produce for a very cheap price)

  • Get around for free: start walking to your destination and if you don’t want to walk, think about cycling, skateboarding, and even carpooling
  • Whatever you save on rent, deposit it into the bank

The bottom line is, the more costs you cut from your budget, the more money you’ll save, and therefore the quicker you will be able to move out. 

Step 5: Get a job

This one is pretty straightforward. If you don’t already have a job or any source of income, we need to re-evaluate the steps because this is now your first and only mission. 

Even if it’s not the job of your dreams, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get it done. There’s no shame in getting an interim job when you need the money fast. 

If you already have a job and it doesn’t pay enough to get you out of your living situation then you can do a few things:

  • Ask for a raise
  • Get a second job (if you can)
  • Start a side hustle
Photo by Juan Rumimpunu on Unsplash

Is it possible to move out with no money?

Let’s say you have finally made a decision and you are moving out! YES. It’s happening. You have been waiting for this moment. 

But is it actually possible to move out with no money? The answer to that question is yes, it is possible to move out with little to no money but I’m going to be honest, it isn’t going to be glamorous. 

Don’t worry if you can’t afford to move out, because there are definitely ways for you to do so without spending a dime. I’ve heard people say, “my wife wants a divorce should I move out?” 

To them I say, look at step one and maybe try relationship therapy –but if you’re really at your wit’s end (or your wife’s at the end of her rope) then here are a few completely free options to help you move out without spending a buck, below.

How to move out without any money:

“Can I afford to move out on my own?” If you don’t have the money to move out and you follow the steps below then the answer is yes, you can afford to move out on your own. 

You can take these steps:

1.Fewer things = Less packing materials

When you move out, you’re tempted to just dump everything in a box and be done with it but that is not the way to go.

 Sort through your items and keep what you need or cherish because less things mean less boxes, less tape, and probably even a no truck. 

2.Sell, recycle, donate, or toss it out

One man’s trash is another’s treasure right? If you can sell some of your personal belongings then you’re able to cover moving costs or put it in the bank for a rainy day. 

What you can’t sell, you can recycle -this could also be a way to make money as some recycling plants pay for properly recycled material. 

And if you really just want to get rid of your things, why not make it count for something? Donate your things to your local charity and if it’s not in the right state for that, then toss it out.

Here are some sites you can sell your clothes at : 

3.Check the calendar

Did you know that it’s actually cheaper to move out during winter than it is to move out in the summer? Forget the seasons, factor in the day of the week or the time of the month. Avoid peak hours and weekends.  

If you can move in the middle of a month, do it -it’s cheaper than moving out at the beginning or end of the month. What’s a little inconvenience in exchange for moving out without loosening the purse strings? 

4.Do not hire a moving company

This will cost a lot more than it’s worth. Moving companies will charge you for additional services like packing, the number of people needed to move larger items, dismantling, hoisting, and so much more. 

Why pay a bunch of people to carry your things when you can have other people do it for free. This brings us to our next money-saving tip.

5.Get friends and family to help

Can’t move all your things on your own? Ask your mom for the minivan, get your cousin to carry your couch -enlist the help of your friends and family by bribing them with favors or edible food in return for their help. 

6.Source for free packing boxes

Instead of buying expensive boxes, try finding some for free ones on Craigslist, Facebook, or even your local grocery stores. The produce they order comes in boxes and they probably won’t be reusing them either, so they’re more likely to give them away at no costs.

7.Don’t spend your money on bubble wrap or packing peanuts

If you’re not going to spend money on boxes, why spend money on packing peanuts and bubble wrap? 

Consider using old newspapers or rags, sheets, even your clothes. This not only saves you from spending unnecessary costs but you save money by using fewer boxes. It’s a win-win situation.

What to do if you need to move out but have no money?

Is the situation urgent and toxic mold in the walls isn’t the only toxic thing in your house? If your health or safety is at stake and you really don’t have a choice but to move out, here’s how to move out with no money:

1.House Sitting

Some may think of housesitting as a temporary thing to do while on holiday but if you’re really in need of a place to stay then I suggest looking into this. 

You can bounce from house to house and stay in people’s houses for free of charge. All you’d really need to do is some light upkeep like taking care of their plants. There are plenty of house sitting opportunities out there and some of them are even long term. 

Maybe someone has a vacation home and that they rarely frequent but they don’t like the thought of it being vacant. 

If you have experience with boats, it would be a good time for me to mention that instead of house sitting, you could boat sit! 

The boats are usually docked at a location near shore or at a bay and for fear of theft or vandalism, the owners don’t like them being left unattended; that’s where you come in.

Here are some websites that list house and boat sitting opportunities:

Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

2.Rent-for-Work Jobs

This is a cool one if you can’t afford to move out. Rent-for-work is exactly as the title states, you work in return for housing or rent. 

Property owners, farm owners, understaffed businesses, or people whose businesses are on the same land where they live often look for people to work in exchange for housing. 

I once lived at a co-living building for free because I taught the staff English and managed the night shift at reception. The number of hours you would work won’t add up to a typical 9-5 or a full-time job, which means you’ll still have a lot of time to focus on your other side hustles.

Here are some places that will let you stay rent-free in return for labor:

3.Do chores in exchange for rent

Maybe your parents are driving you insane or your roommate steals your food and pretends they don’t; either way if you’re caught up in the “can I afford to move out,” daydream, it might be time to actually move out.

In a perfect world, you’d be able to pack your bags and make a dramatic exit but alas, the world is not perfect.

If you have a cool aunt or a relative that’s willing to let you live with them in exchange for doing house chores, I say why not? 

You could be their very own personal assistant. Maybe they need help with the cleaning, cooking, grocery shopping, or even chauffeuring. Think of it as a less formal work-for-rent agreement.

4.Become a Live-In Nanny or Pet Sitter

Ever heard of an au pair? Or more commonly known as a live-in nanny. If you have a way with children and know how to care for them, then this could be a job for you.

There are plenty of working parents that are looking for quality child care by someone who they can trust. As a live-in nanny, you wouldn’t only be provided with a rent-free living arrangement but you’re also entitled to extra pay. 

Here are some websites that connect au pairs or live-in nannies with families: 

If you don’t like kids or don’t want to spend your time caring for them, how about caring for pets? Most pet owners are also fickle when it comes to choosing someone to care for their beloved pets. 

Maybe they travel often and can’t bring their fur-baby but instead need someone to care for their little one from the comfort of their home. 

Want to take care of someone’s fur-baby and get paid for it? Here are some websites just for that:

You can also look for local job agencies that hire live-in nannies or pet sitters and apply there. Alternatively, you could look up local ad listings in your city.

5.Manage an Apartment Building

This is a good one for the handymen and women out there. If you don’t mind getting phone calls from strangers and you know how to fix appliances, then why not manage an apartment building? 

Apartment building managers are usually given one of the apartments in the buildings they manage in return for a place to live rent-free. 

All you need to do is be available 24/7 to address the tenant’s issues.  That’s right my dear readers, a place to live in and a job all in one go but unlike the rent-for-work arrangement, you’d actually get paid for this position.

If you’re interested in becoming a building manager or an on-site property manager, here’s a quick read on “How to Become an Apartment Property Manager,” to get an idea of the requirements and steps you’ll need to take to get into this field.

And if you’re looking for buildings to manage, here are a few websites with vacancies:

6.Couch Surfing

“You have friends all over the world, you just haven’t met them yet.” That’s the company slogan for

Couchsurfing is a service that connects members to a global community of people who are looking for a place to stay. If you’re really in a difficult situation, then this is a quick fix. 

There are registered members on the website and the company itself has safety guidelines in place before you start couch surfing but ultimately, I say go with your gut and trust your instincts. 

If you’re not comfortable with staying on a stranger’s couch or you don’t particularly want to sign up for a website to do so, call a friend up and ask if you can sleep on their couch.


By the end of this article, you should have found at least one solution to your “can’t afford to move out,” conundrum. 

If you stick to your budget, cut costs, and save up, you’ll be moving out in no time. And if you don’t have the cash or time for it, then I hope you found some comfort in the rent-free options I’ve provided.

I always think if you want it enough, you can achieve it. So you say you can’t afford it, I say, you can’t afford it right now. Till next time, happy moving!

Can’t Afford to Move out? (Here is What you Should Do)

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