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I just got a brand new job in the States (I'm from Canada) and they are reimbursing my relocation expenses up to a large amount. Of course, they are not giving me the money up front but on the contract it says that this reimbursement can be used toward one house hunting trip, transportation, temporary residence, moving services, etc.

I suppose this reimbursement cannot be used toward first month's rent. My question is, how can I figure out whether I can this expense reimbursement to buy furnitures and kitchen equipments in my new apartment?

  • Hi Allen, I edited this slightly to make it more on topic here. Feel free to edit if this changed your intent too much! – enderland Sep 30 '15 at 0:54
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    Check your contract or ask HR. Your original question is specific to your company and contract. The broader question is answered here: What can relocation assistance entail?. – Lilienthal Sep 30 '15 at 8:27
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Furnishing a home's outside any relocation policy I've seen so I doubt it. You're more likely to be able to cover a months rent in a short term lease of a furnished apartment while looking for a permanent place to stay.

They're normally intended to be used to pay for one time, non-recurring expenses related to the move itself not for getting more stuff that you can use forever. However your new employer should have a written policy on what they will or will not pay for; you need to get and read a copy of it.

If this is your first job away from home and you're tight on money to furnish your new home, consider getting some starter furniture from a thrift shop. As long as they're not falling apart an 80 year old dresser or 30 year old tables will hold your clothes/etc just as well as brand new ones at a fraction of the cost. Something old enough to've been made of real wood will also last a lot longer without looking like junk than cheap printed laminate over sawdust board furniture you buy in a flat pack.

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  • Thanks Dan. Can I use the reimbursement on paying the penalty fee for cancelling my old cell phone contract in Canada? – A1122 Sep 30 '15 at 0:00
  • @AllenLi again you need to read your employer's policy to answer these questions; but that seems unlikely to me. – Dan Is Fiddling By Firelight Sep 30 '15 at 1:01
  • If you have free roaming, you could possibly just keep the contract till it's over. – Amy Blankenship Sep 30 '15 at 15:24
  • @AmyBlankenship it'd have to be free and unlimited (or Allen be a very light user) which seems likely to be an issue. I've seen many complaints about Canadian cell phone companies having contracts much worse for consumers than the ones US companies offered; and their traditional contracts always have fine print limiting your roaming to small fraction of your total plan size. – Dan Is Fiddling By Firelight Sep 30 '15 at 15:50
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Congrats on the new job!

This really depends, you will have to read the terms of your relocation benefits.

  • Sometimes you may get a lump sum of cash that is intended to be used for whatever expenses you may have. You may then be responsible for finding them, reserving hotels, etc.

  • Other times, you may have to submit specific receipts for types of expenses. If this is the case every company may have different criteria for what is covered.

  • Perhaps you have a mix of those (a lump sum plus some reimbursement).

The best way to find out how this applies to your situation is to get confirmation from your new company. Ask to get more information or to speak with someone who knows. It sounds like what you are asking for is probably not possible for your contract, but we will not know - only the people offering it to you can definitively answer.

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    I've even had companies where the company would directly arrange the movers for you, just had to give them dates and addresses and the trucks would be there. – jwenting Sep 30 '15 at 6:52

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