Moving on a Budget: Practical Tips to Save You Money
Submitted by Holly Welles - Holly Welles is a freelance writer with a focus on finance and real estate. You can find more of her advice on her blog, The Estate Update, or keep up with her writing on Twitter.
(Contributions are guest opinions only and don’t reflect the opinion or endorsement of Money Fit by DRS, our staff, client or other interested parties.)
Try These Tips & Save Money When Moving
Moving can bring new opportunities. If you've recently left a relationship or a job, moving offers a fresh start in a new location to rebuild. If the weather where you live currently exacerbates certain health conditions you have, moving can provide significant relief. However, all this goodness comes with a price tag.
Many people tend to overlook certain common costs associated with moving. For example, you may know you'll need to hire movers or rent a truck, but who will pay for the gas? What about your meals and overnight stays if you're moving out-of-state? You'll also need to pay deposits to turn on utilities, and if you have little ones or pets, you'll need to take care of their needs. When planning your move, keep the following cost-saving tips in mind.
1. Determine Whether or Not You Can Do It Yourself
If you have a physical disability or if you're older or single, you may need to hire some help to load bulky items or even help pack. You may also just want the convenience of not needing to worry about the packing and the transport details of your belongings.
However, there are plenty of ways to go a more DIY route when moving and cut costs — while still ensuring all your belongings arrive at your destination intact. One way to do this is by renting a moving truck and loading it yourself. Invite some friends to help and pay them for their efforts with dinner — or, even if you compensate them financially, they'll charge less than movers. You can simply return the favor if possible when it's their turn, too.
You can save yourself time and energy by hiring movers without breaking the bank, too. Try to choose a strategic date to move, as many moving companies will attach hidden fees for remote locations, off-hours or holidays. Always read the fine print when looking at your options, and if you can swing it, opt for a moving date that avoids overly popular or strange hours.
2. Budget for Gasoline, Lodging, and Food
Moving across multiple states or even making a long-distance move from southern to northern California or across Texas? Gas, food and hotel bills can add up quickly whether you're driving yourself or paying someone else to transport your items. But many people treat travel expenses as afterthoughts, and then they are shocked when they get socked with an especially-high bill.
Make hotel reservations well in advance, especially if you have special needs. Do the same with plane fare if you're flying — and if doing so with family, save money by booking tickets separately. Airlines know families will pay a premium to sit together and charge more for such tickets, but if your kids are old enough to behave when sitting on their own, they'll love the "big boy" or "big girl" treatment.
3. Find out Deposit Amounts in Advance
If you're planning to rent, a host of deposits come with the territory. Depending on your landlord, you may need to pay first and last months' rent, a cleaning deposit and a pet deposit if you have four-legged friends. Many jurisdictions limit the amount landlords can legally charge for move-in fees, so do your research on landlord-tenant law online and know your rights.
Furthermore, whether you buy or rent, you may need to pay deposits to get utilities turned on. Start by contacting your current providers — not only to arrange shut off but also to request a letter verifying your payment history. Many utilities will waive security deposits even if you have imperfect credit if you show no more than a certain number of late payments over a specified time period.
Add up the deposits you cannot waive. Contact your new utility companies and pay them in advance, and make arrangements to have everything turned on the day before move-in. You don't want to arrive desperate for a shower only to find you have to unpack in the dark and lack running water.
4. Set Aside an Emergency Cash Supply
Setting aside emergency cash protects you in case the moving truck breaks down, your luggage gets lost in transit or you discover your new home lacks a needed amenity, like a refrigerator. You can use credit for such items, but you'll pay a fortune in interest fees. It's far cheaper to prepare in advance — and hey, if you don't need your emergency stash, you can use it to throw a housewarming party!
Putting aside emergency cash proves particularly important when you're buying the home you're moving into. When you take on large moving expenses, a lack of oversight and planning means you can risk decreasing your credit score. This may affect the ease with which you transition into your new home after the move.
Making Your Move Budget-Friendly
Budgeting for a big move is tough, and many people overlook certain expenses. But with a bit of forethought, you can make your new venture successful and less stressful. Congratulations on your new home!