How To Move To California With No Money

With its sunny beaches, towering redwoods, and promise of fame and fortune, California has long been a dream destination for many. But for most people, making the cross-country move out west can feel next to impossible without a good amount of savings or a solid job offer in place. So how do you actually move to California without going broke?

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: It is possible to move to California without much money by couch surfing, using rideshare apps for transportation, taking advantage of free attractions and activities, looking for temporary jobs and cheap housing, and utilizing public assistance programs and community resources.

Plan Ahead and Set Savings Goals

Determine your moving budget

When it comes to moving to California with no money, the first step is to determine your moving budget. Take into account all the expenses you will incur during the moving process, such as transportation costs, housing deposits, and living expenses for the first few months.

By having a clear understanding of how much money you need, you can start planning accordingly.

Cut non-essential expenses ahead of time

Before you make the move to California, it’s important to cut non-essential expenses ahead of time. Evaluate your current spending habits and identify areas where you can make cuts. This could include reducing dining out, canceling unnecessary subscriptions, or downsizing your living arrangements.

By making these adjustments, you can free up more money to put towards your move.

Research costs for housing, food, transportation

Researching the costs of housing, food, and transportation in California is crucial when you’re moving with no money. California is known for its high cost of living, so it’s important to have a realistic understanding of what you can expect to pay for these essentials.

Use reputable websites like Numbeo to get accurate data on the average prices in different areas of the state.

Set incremental savings goals

Setting incremental savings goals can help you stay motivated and on track. Break down your overall moving budget into smaller, achievable targets. For example, aim to save a certain amount each week or month.

By reaching these milestones, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment and be one step closer to your goal of moving to California.

Find Ways to Reduce Moving Costs

Moving to California can be an exciting adventure, but it can also be a costly one. If you’re looking to make the move with little to no money, there are several strategies you can employ to reduce your moving costs.

By being resourceful and thinking outside the box, you can make your move to California a reality without breaking the bank.

Sell or donate unnecessary possessions

One way to reduce your moving costs is to sell or donate any unnecessary possessions before your move. Take a close look at your belongings and ask yourself if you truly need everything you own. Consider selling items through online marketplaces or hosting a garage sale.

Not only will this help lighten your load, but it can also put some extra money in your pocket to help fund your move.

Pack light and ship items vs. renting a moving truck

Another way to save on moving costs is to pack light and opt for shipping your items instead of renting a moving truck. Packing light means only taking the essentials with you and leaving behind any bulky or heavy items that may be costly to transport.

Instead of renting a moving truck, consider using a shipping service to send your belongings to your new California destination. This can be a more affordable option, especially if you compare prices and choose the most cost-effective shipping method.

Use rideshare apps or long-distance bus for transportation

When it comes to transportation, finding affordable options is key. Instead of booking an expensive flight or renting a car, consider using rideshare apps or taking a long-distance bus to get to California.

Rideshare apps like Uber or Lyft often offer lower prices compared to traditional taxi services, and long-distance buses can provide a budget-friendly alternative to flying. By exploring these options, you can save money on transportation and allocate those funds towards other moving expenses.

Couch surf or stay in hostels temporarily

Accommodation can be one of the most significant expenses when moving to a new place. To reduce costs, consider couch surfing or staying in hostels temporarily. Couch surfing involves staying with locals who are willing to provide a free place to sleep, which can be a great way to connect with new people and save money.

Hostels are another affordable option, offering shared accommodations at a lower cost compared to hotels. Research reputable websites and read reviews to find safe and reliable options.

By implementing these strategies and being resourceful, you can successfully move to California with little to no money. Remember to plan ahead, research your options, and make use of the available resources to make your move as cost-effective as possible.

Search for Housing Deals and Temporary Work

When it comes to moving to California with no money, finding affordable housing and temporary work options can be key to getting started. Here are some strategies to consider:

Look for short-term sublets or rooms for rent

If you’re on a tight budget, renting a room or subletting a place can be a cost-effective option. Websites like Craigslist, Airbnb, and Roomster can help you find short-term housing options at a lower cost compared to renting an entire apartment.

Don’t hesitate to negotiate the rent or ask for a discount, as some landlords may be willing to work with you.

Check listings for low-income and affordable housing programs

California offers various low-income and affordable housing programs that can help individuals and families in need. Websites like the California Department of Housing and Community Development and the Housing Authority of the County of Los Angeles provide information about these programs and their eligibility criteria.

It’s worth exploring these options to see if you qualify for any assistance.

Search gig job sites for temporary flexible work

When it comes to finding temporary work, gig job sites can be a great resource. Platforms like TaskRabbit, Fiverr, and GigSmart connect individuals with short-term gigs ranging from manual labor to freelance work.

These opportunities allow you to earn some income while you settle down and search for more stable employment.

Inquire about work-exchange opportunities

Work-exchange programs can provide you with free or low-cost accommodation in exchange for your services. Websites like Workaway and HelpX connect volunteers with hosts who offer room and board in return for help with tasks such as gardening, childcare, or farm work.

This can be a great way to cut down on living expenses while gaining valuable experiences and making new connections.

Remember, it’s important to research and thoroughly vet any housing or work opportunities to ensure they are legitimate and safe. While these strategies can help you get started, it’s also important to have a long-term plan in place to secure stable employment and financial stability in California.

Take Advantage of Free Entertainment and Assistance

Moving to California with no money may seem daunting, but there are several ways to make it work. One of the first things you can do is take advantage of the abundance of free entertainment options that the state has to offer.

California is home to numerous museums, beaches, hiking trails, and events that don’t require an admission fee. Exploring these attractions can be a great way to enjoy the beauty and culture of the state without breaking the bank.

Explore free museums, beaches, hiking trails, events

California is known for its vibrant arts and culture scene, and many museums offer free admission days or discounted rates for certain groups. For example, the Getty Center in Los Angeles has free admission and parking, allowing visitors to enjoy world-class art and stunning views of the city without spending a dime.

Additionally, the state’s stunning beaches and hiking trails are free to access, providing ample opportunities for outdoor recreation and exploration.

Apply for food stamps, Medicaid, and other government programs

When moving to California with limited funds, it’s important to explore the various government assistance programs that can help support you during your transition. Applying for food stamps, Medicaid, and other programs can provide you with the necessary resources to meet your basic needs.

These programs are designed to help individuals and families in need, and can provide temporary assistance until you’re able to find stable employment or other sources of income.

Seek help from nonprofits and community organizations

Nonprofit organizations and community groups in California are dedicated to helping individuals and families in need. These organizations often offer a range of services, including financial assistance, housing support, and job training programs.

By reaching out to these organizations, you can access resources and support that can help you navigate the challenges of moving to a new state with limited funds.

Use public transportation and libraries for free wifi and resources

Public transportation is a cost-effective way to get around California, especially in larger cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco. Utilizing buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation can help you save money on transportation costs while you search for employment or attend job interviews.

Additionally, many public libraries offer free wifi and resources, making them a valuable resource for job searching, studying, and accessing information.

Remember, moving to California with no money is challenging, but with some resourcefulness and a bit of creativity, it is possible to make a successful transition. By taking advantage of the free entertainment options, government assistance programs, community organizations, and public resources available, you can start your new life in California on the right foot.

Additional Tips and Resources

Open a new bank account and switch documentation to CA address

When moving to California with no money, it is essential to open a new bank account as soon as possible. Many banks offer special accounts for individuals who are new to the state. By opening a local bank account, you can easily manage your finances and ensure that you have a stable financial base.

Additionally, it is important to switch your documentation to a California address. This includes updating your driver’s license, vehicle registration, and any other official documents. This will help establish your residency and make it easier to navigate through various administrative processes.

Bring health records and important documents

Prior to your move, it is crucial to gather and bring along all your important documents, including your health records. Having access to your medical history will make it easier for you to find healthcare providers in California.

It is also advisable to bring any other essential documents, such as birth certificates, social security cards, and educational certificates. These documents will be necessary for various purposes, including employment, housing, and schooling.

Make connections online ahead of move for job leads and networking

Before you move to California, take advantage of online platforms to make connections and seek job leads. Join professional networking websites and local communities to expand your network. Engage with individuals who are already living in California and seek their guidance and advice.

These connections can provide valuable insights into the job market, potential opportunities, and even help you secure interviews before you arrive. Building relationships and networking online can greatly increase your chances of finding employment and settling down quickly.

Research best affordable neighborhoods to live in

When moving to California with limited funds, it is important to research the best affordable neighborhoods to live in. Different areas in California have varying costs of living, and some neighborhoods may be more affordable than others.

Take the time to explore different neighborhoods, consider factors such as housing prices, transportation options, and proximity to amenities. Websites such as Niche and AreaVibes can provide valuable insights and data on the affordability and livability of different neighborhoods in California.

Stay persistent and positive – it takes time to get settled!

Finally, it is important to stay persistent and positive throughout the process of moving to California with no money. Adjusting to a new place can be challenging, especially when finances are tight. Understand that it takes time to get settled, find employment, and establish a stable life.

Stay proactive in your job search, continue networking, and remain optimistic. Remember, many people have successfully made the move to California with limited funds, and with patience, determination, and a positive attitude, you can achieve your goals too!


Making big moves to new states without money saved up can be challenging, but with careful planning, budgeting, and tapping into local resources, you can absolutely set yourself up for success. While moving to California without money will require some sacrifices, flexibility, and effort at first, the long-term opportunities and fulfillment may make it all worthwhile. With strategic preparation, savvy financial decisions, and a little help from your new community, you’ll be living your California dream in no time.

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