A.sk Ross

About Packing It Up & Moving Out

A.sk Ross is where I, Marissa A. Ross, answer questions you ask me. Keep in mind I am simply a girl who’s been through a lot & has acquired some wisdom along the way. I own no certificates proclaiming my word is law, so please don’t take it as so. If anything, take my advice with a grain of salt and a pinch of optimism. Have a question? Email me at A.skRossNow@gmail.com.

Dear Marissa,

My mom is putting our house up for sale in the coming months and I’m assuming it will sell within the first half of next year. I am living at home because my previous attempt to move out was a disaster. I hadn’t realized how much credit card debt I was in and money was tight. I’ve made a payoff plan and set my priorities straight. At this rate I will be debt free in 2011 and the house will be sold. So my next step is to decide where to go from here. I don’t like the area I live in. Nor do I like the nearest downtown city, Houston. I’m considering a move to Austin, TX or maybe even San Diego, CA. (San Diego is definitely my first choice.) But how do I move 3 hours away without a steady income? Or better yet how do I move to another state and start from zero? I will have plenty saved up but living off savings isn’t really how I want to survive. I need change! I know this town isn’t for me. And I want to travel. Plus, it would be good for me to challenge myself at making friends. I know I have a year until this becomes a reality, but I am a control freak. I need a plan! An outline of some sort. Have you ever moved away from your family? friends? job? I don’t even know how to go about applying for a job in a different state.


First and foremost, congratulations on becoming debt free. Although credit card debit is about as common as a cold, it’s a thousand times harder to shake. So right on, way to be responsible and crossing off my first piece of advice before I could even give it.

Now to the real matter at hand: moving. I say do it. This is what savings are for: chasing dreams and emergencies, of course. Money comes and money goes. Opportunities do not. Right now you have an opportunity to go somewhere and start fresh, and hopefully be happier. Your happiness should always be your first priority because everything else will fall into place.

It’s scary, for sure, but you have so much on your side. Aside from your savings, your greatest ally will be the fact you have time. You have a whole year to continue saving, create a budget, being researching housing and job opportunities. Start hitting up pals, family, friends from the Internet, everyone you have contact in the areas that you want to move and let them know you’re going to be looking for a job. Have them keep their ears open for you. Contact local recruiters in the areas you’re thinking about, explain to them your situation and timeline and get them your resume. Do your best to line up interviews for the second week you get into town (give yourself the first one to get aquatinted with the area and settle in).

Just make sure to be honest with yourself and your budget. Don’t fudge on it. Be as logical and realistic as you can, because life is always more expensive than you expect it’s going to be.

Now, if you don’t get any job interviews and you move out on a whim, I think that’s okay too but be ready to put your pride aside to survive. I moved to Los Angeles with five hundred dollars (granted, my home town is forty-five minutes away but whatever, it’s still a city and I was still broke). I had to work at a clothing designer’s gallery and American Apparel. I hated it. I worked seven days a week for minimum wage to live in a bedroom the size of my office now, and my office is really small. I didn’t even have a closet! I had to build my own! Still, to this day, I’ve almost always had two jobs to survive in Los Angeles, but slowly but surely those jobs have come to resemble more of my goals. Instead of working retail, I do social media strategizing, dog walking and I am a personal assistant to one of my comedic heroes, on top of all of my projects I don’t get paid for. Am I really busy and stressed out a lot? Of course. But am I happier in Los Angeles than back in my hometown? Hell yes! Everything has been worth it.

Point is: you may have to do some jobs you don’t want to. It may really suck. But you need to be able to buck up. You want to move? Do it. But don’t let me catch you turning down cashier jobs that are “beneath you” when you can’t afford your electric bill because all I will say is get over yourself or move home.

As for making friends, that will fall into place once you get into the swing of things in your new neighborhood. I always like to recommend taking classes, going to local events and getting a museum membership. Just get involved with activities that you enjoy so you’ll have things in common with the people around you. As for your family, that can be really hard but unfortunately, it’s just a part of growing up. You will miss them like crazy some days, and other days be so wrapped up in the whirlwind of newness around you that you may not even think about them. We all go through it and it gets easier over time.

All I can say is, take risks while you can. Believe in yourself, search for your happiness and experience new things. You have the money, you have the time. Don’t waste any of it.