Let’s face it, moving- whether it’s down the street or across the country, is one of the most stressful events people face. It alters not only your physical location but your daily routine, your immediate support network, and your social environment. Even more so, it can take a toll on your finances with the little expenses adding up. Still, 35 million Americans relocate every year, however there are many ways to minimize the impact on your finances. Here are 7 ways to save your hard earned cash when making a move.
#1. Do Your Research
If you can afford to travel to the new area at least once before you move, you can save time, money, and minimize mistakes in the long run. Ask questions, strike up a conversation at a local coffee shop and find out what residents think and know about the town or city you’re moving to. Of Americans who move, 13.2% move to a different state. Whether or not you can travel to the new state or are just moving locally, do some online research. You can find cost of living estimates, differences in utility costs, timely employment and job outlook data, and a host of other time and money saving tips with a few simple keywords. CNN Money has a useful cost of living calculator as well that prices out all of these by city. Jumping from a city like Asheville, NC to New York City, NY, ONE of the priciest in the country is sure to take a toll on your living expenses unless your income can compensate. It's important to consider cost of living when moving or you'll set yourself up for a stark surprise when trying to buy a gallon of milk.
#2. Do the Math and the Work by Moving Yourself
If you’re willing to put in the time and effort, you can save money by packing and moving yourself as opposed to paying a professional moving company. According to the American Moving & Storage Association, moving within state costs $1,170. The cost jumps up to $5,630 when moving out of state. That's a whole lot of dough spent on just getting there. Try scouring for boxes or simply asking them from businesses to cut down on cost. Depending on the distance from your old home to your new home, along with household storage needs, you can save a significant amount of money. Plus the IRS allows many moving expenses to be tax deductible. If your company has offered to move you, you may be able to negotiate a moving allowance that is paid directly to you, allowing you to essentially move yourself and pocket what is left over from what your employer would have paid a moving company.
#3. Save on Utility Hook-ups
Once you are ready to move in, your utility connections can really add up. You'll find that in most cases you will have to pay a connection fee, deposit, or administrative fee just to have utilities turned on. Some companies charge between $30 to $100 to set-up a service. If possible, look for multiple services in one package, such as cable, internet and digital phone. These “bundled” utility packages save you fees you would normally pay for each service.
#4. Fixer Upper or Dream Home?
Looking to save some real money during a move? Depending on your DIY skill level and how much time you can spare, choosing a home that needs some improvements or renovating over a move-in ready home can result in substantial savings. Start by making a list of what needs to be done in a house that’s in an area you like but that needs extra “TLC”. Get competitive, apples-to-apples bids from local, licensed contractors, then compare these costs against what that “dream house” is priced at. Chances are you’ll be amazed at what you can save by renovating, plus you’ll feel an extra sense of accomplishment by taking a hands-on approach to your new home.
#5. Energy Savings Counts Too…for YOU and the Environment
In addition to helping conserve energy for our environment, often times you can look for a home that offers enhanced energy savings that translates directly to more cash in your pocket. Before getting too serious about a particular home in your move, there are many simple checks and inspections you can do to gauge how eco-friendly or “green” a home is. Checking attic insulation levels, air leaks through window casings, and energy efficient HVAC systems are just a few ways you can save each month. The federal government’s ENERGY STAR program offers a comprehensive list of up to date energy saving tips.
#6. Stage a Yard Sale
From that ping pong table that seemed like a such good idea but rarely got used, to your first mountain bike that you’ve since replaced with a more expensive, hi-tech model, there’s a good bet you have a virtual treasure trove of items that will fetch money during a moving sale. Plus, you’ll be packing and moving much lighter after you’ve sold even just half of what you thought you could. Start by getting organized with fair pricing that shows on each item so would-be buyers can browse easily, and publicize your sale by posting colorful, large signs throughout the neighborhood beforehand.
#7 .Consider Moving During the Offseason
Yes, moving companies have an offseason too, just like resorts or tour group operators. Save money by scheduling your move between September and May, when rates tend to be lowest. In general, moving companies are busiest during the summer months. Nearly 40% of moves happen during this time because most people with school-age children move when the kids are on summer vacation. If you've decided you need a professional moving company to do this labor-intensive aspect of your move, you’ll usually get the lowest rates outside of the summer months. Also, professional moving is like any business, so you may see higher rates on weekends if the overall demand is high.
Looking into these money saving mover tips will help keep more “green” in your wallet and that’s important because odds are you'll need to be ready for unforeseen expenses somewhere along the way. Looking for ideas on how to reduce stress on an upcoming move? Then check out 4 Tips for Taking the Stress out of Moving.