Relocating Is Hard Work: Pt 1 – Housing

Looks nice to me.

Looks nice to me.

I know it´s been over a week since my last update. TRUST me, it´s been nuts. And I know I´m starting to sound like a broken record, and for that, I´m sorry.

When we last left off, I decided to accept the promotion with the relo package and move to New Jersey in a couple of weeks. Yay!

There are approximately 1,000 things to think about before this move, and Michael and I are trying to think through all of them carefully. First of all, WHERE am I going to live?

Remember my coworker had told me her friend had just bought a house with a mother-in-law suite that she wanted to rent? Well… she wrote back saying they weren´t ready to rent it, and sorry. *womp womp*

Fortunately, a lot of friendly coworkers came out of the woodwork with recommendations–their friends who live in Basking Ridge or used to live there, and that I should talk to them if I needed help.

Well, while this was very nice of them to offer, I wasn´t going to call these strangers and ask, “where can I live?” The internet can tell me that. AND the company that helps with the relo has an apartment finding service that helps, too.

So when I heard that news Monday morning (a week ago today), I frantically started looking for apartments online. Remember my budget had originally been $1500? Well, that was with a bigger increase. Since my pay increase was smaller than I was hoping for, I readjusted the numbers and decided to look for rent at $1000. HA! Yeah… New Jersey for $1000. Let´s all get a good laugh in together.

I talked to one of my friends who moved up there from New Orleans a couple of years ago. He said, “advice I wish someone had given me? You´re going to want to go to NYC all the time. You have to pick. Either it´s an hour drive to the city, or it´s an hour drive to work. And if you just want to go to Times Square on a Wednesday night and catch dinner and a play, it´s a pain to live so far away. I would recommend Hoboeken or Jersey City” (both super close to NYC). And then of course he said even if I set my minimum at $1200, in that area I´d be lucky to get a peice of sh*t basement apartment. Great…

The good news is that I might go to NYC sometimes, but I´d much rather live “in the woods” (as he described it) and closer to work, with a cheaper rent.

I get it, that he´s super social and into going out a lot and all, but… I´m not. And I am glad he framed it that way.

Even so, even looking at towns near work and “in the woods,” the cheapest I really found for a 1-bedroom apartment was around $925, not including utilities. Which… I know are going to be more than $75/mo, even if I stick to only electricity, AC, heating, water (no internet or TV). And, needless to say these places had really bad Google reviews (though I take those with a grain of salt). The nice apartments “in the woods” seem to start around $1500ish. Ugh.

What to do?

Aha! Craigslist. I started looking for people with a room to rent. Recently C from The Single Dollar wrote that her #1 rule for financial growth is, “Live with a roommate in a place that has low housing costs.” Well, the low housing cost isn’t exactly an option in that part of the country, generally speaking, but I decided to open my mind to the possibility of a roommate. I looked and I looked. I decided I don’t want to live in a group setting, or one on one with a man (sorry fellas!). I’ve lived with several friends before, but I think living with a group of people works best when you know each other. And for the most part, that´s what I was finding. A house full of college students. Meh… not my thing.

I hunted in my tiny moments of free time all week. Of course, by coincidence, my boss (and I) were hosting a huge annual summit and were working, running this event, from sun-up to sun-down all week. Exhaustion barely describes it. But I´d squeeze in moments to house-hunt, and Michael was helping on his end, too.

And then! I found Sarah–or more specifically, her Craigslist listing. I emailed her and then we spoke on the phone. Her daughter is looking for a roommate to share a house, looking for preferrably a single, professional, quiet, neat woman. That´s me! Then she told me her daughter is 52! Bingo! Jackpot! This couldn´t be more perfect. In case this hasn´t been obvious, I´m not a girl´s girl, going-out type. I´m much more the tend-to-the-garden and read-a-book type. This place looks ideal. It´s a lovely, furnished house in a neighborhood only 3 miles from my work. Utilites included, all for $975. YES.

I talked to her just yesterday and settled everything. Michael said, “I don´t know why you´re surprised. We´re blessed and highly favored in the eyes of the Lord.” Haha. I couldn´t help but sigh a sigh of relief.

15 thoughts on “Relocating Is Hard Work: Pt 1 – Housing

  1. Oh Michael is SO right! I’m SO happy for you, Chela! But don’t let that lady’s age fool ya. I’m 54 and If I were single, I’d be dragging you out to be my wing woman every chance I got! Juuuuust kidding. 😛

    Or am I? 🙂

    Great update. The way you write makes me feel like I’m right there with ya on these adventures! Have you ever thought of writing for a living? You are SO good at it! 😀


    • Noooo… He has 3 semesters left at UNO, and he’d lose a lot of credit hours if he transferred, so it’d be a big step backwards in terms of time, and money! We wouldn’t get in state tuition and the difference in cost is exorbitant.


    • Thanks. I lived alone all through college and loved it. I probably couldn’t live with young or “college aged” folks, but this lady sounds perfect.


  2. That’s such fantastic news!!!

    Like you, we are finding that Craigslist has much better deals than the relocation service finds through their standard channels. I’m a bit creeped out by some of the ads but hubs gets a house hunting trip, so that will alleviate whatever fears we have.

    So excited for your new start and I love how the pieces are coming together! God is surely working these things out 🙂


    • Thanks! We thought about taking a trip up before moving, but it would all come out of the relo amount, and I don’t want to use it unnecessarily! 🙂


  3. Uh-oh, I hope it was good advice 🙂 If this woman is easy to live with, though, I think it will be great. You’ll get quiet time and be close to work, and that’s a very good rent for that part of the country. And if it doesn’t work out for some reason, you’ll be on site and it’s much much easier to house-hunt when you’re actually in a place rather than over the internet.


    • Exactly! She let me sign a 6 month lease (instead of a year) so if things don’t work out, I’ll have a better perspective of where to look, come December. I think it was good advice! 🙂


  4. Pingback: Relocating Is Hard Work: Pt 4 – More Unexpected Curveballs | SmashOdyssey

  5. Pingback: Relocating Isn’t All Bad: Pt. 5 – Seeing Friends and Family | SmashOdyssey

  6. Pingback: Relocation Complete: Pt 6 – New Job, New Home, New Adventures | SmashOdyssey

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