Philadelphia, PA - You're about to move to New Jersey — the most populous state in the United States of America. It's an exciting time, but it can also be a bit overwhelming. You don't know if you should start packing your bags or if you should first look at the local news because... well... "What if there is something important I should know before I move?"
Well, to help you make a smooth transition, we've got some things that are important for new Jerseyans to know first-hand. Read on and have fun!
Be Prepared To Spend More On Housing
You'll need to budget more than you thought for your housing. It's no secret that the cost of living in New Jersey is higher than in many other states. This is due in large part to the state's proximity to the Big Apple, which has inflated the cost of a lot of things here (food, shopping, etc.). As far as housing goes, you'll likely be surprised by how much you're spending on rent or a mortgage. But if you're moving here from another part of the country with a similar cost of living, it won't be so much of a shock.
The good news is that there are plenty of ways to trim some extra fat off your housing budget:
- If you don't have children, live near your workplace and have access to public transportation, consider getting rid of your car and saving yourself a bundle on car payments, insurance, and maintenance.
- Start visiting garage sales and flea markets at least once a month. You'll find plenty of great items for close to nothing that will help fill in any gaps left by furniture you were forced to leave behind when you moved here.
- Get on every store's mailing list and look out for coupons before making purchases at popular retailers like Bed Bath & Beyond or IKEA.
Ensure You Have A Homeowners Insurance
Buying a house is a huge financial step. And when there is so much money involved, any smart homeowner would want assurances and some type of financial security. Hence, the easiest (and probably the smartest) thing you can do is to make sure you have homeowners insurance for your new property in New Jersey.
You may be tempted to skimp on the policy for your new home—after all, you're spending so much money already, what's another few hundred dollars? But keep in mind the amount you'll spend out of pocket in the event that something happens to your property. If a fire breaks out and destroys part of your house, or if someone gets hurt on your property and decides to sue, you can spare yourself thousands by having adequate coverage.
Enjoy The Great Outdoors
With more than half of the state comprising forests and agricultural lands, New Jersey has no shortage of hiking trails and picturesque spots. Beachcombers will find plenty to explore at the state's many beaches and boardwalks, such as Belmar, Cape May, Island Beach State Park, Sandy Hook, and Seaside Heights. There are also a great number of state parks—including Bass River State Forest, Liberty State Park in Jersey City, Parvin State Park in Pittsgrove Township, and Wharton State Forest in Burlington County—as well as beautiful nature, preserves like Leonard J. Buck Garden in Far Hills.
How Much Do You Need To Earn?
The first step to relocating to the great state of New Jersey is assessing how much money you'll need to make to live comfortably. The cost of living in this state is, unfortunately, among the highest in the entire country. In order to avoid financial stress and burdens on your everyday life, it's vital that you figure out what your living expenses will be and approximate your income accordingly. Here are some average costs for you to consider:
- Rent: $1,200 - $2,000 per month
- Utilities (gas and electric): $100 - $150 per month
- Groceries: $175 - $300 per week
- Transportation (gas): $40 - $80 per week
- You don't want your daily life in New Jersey to be a constant struggle. If possible, try applying for jobs where you can earn enough money that you'll have a bit leftover after all of your bills are paid.
New Jersey Is A Generally Safe Place To Live
New Jersey's crime rate as of 2018 was lower than the national average. The state was ranked #21 out of the 50 states in terms of overall safety, according to a survey conducted by 24/7 Wall St.
The safest cities in New Jersey are Mahwah Township, Bernards Township, and Hopewell Township. You can refer to this list to see where your town falls on the list of safe places to live in New Jersey. And if you're looking for a more general overview, this is a good resource for comparing crime rates by state.
Officially, New Jersey Has Four Seasons.
Finally, it is important to note the four seasons of New Jersey. They are winter, summer, fall, and spring. In each of these periods, you can expect a slightly different variation of moderate weather.
The weather will be different in each of these seasons; however, no one season will surprise you as a New Jerseyan. You can also expect it to snow in the winter, and not much else will be going on during this time. In summer, parks and beaches around New Jersey will be filled with people who are excitedly "on vacation." If you are looking for an escape from the crowds, don't worry—you won't have trouble finding a private beach or green space somewhere in the state! Lastly, springtime holds its own special surprises for anyone visiting our beautiful state: birds chirping outside your window every morning at dawn (unless it's raining).