Many factors play into the decision to make a major move — career opportunities, family obligations, financial situations, and lifestyle changes, to name a few.
The decision to move may not be voluntary, but imperative, and a necessary and often un-budgeted expense. Just how much you end up paying, however, is something you can have a great deal of control over.
Recently my husband and I started considering a cross-country move, and in my research, these are a few tips I’ve found helpful as I try to save as much money as possible.
1. Get Organized With a Moving Budget
Even if you’re required to move quickly, your life doesn’t have to descend into chaos. Immediately determine the tasks you need to complete, their order of importance, and how to most efficiently accomplish them.
Staying organized is vital not only as your sort, distribute, and move your physical possessions, but as you begin to spend money on moving costs.
If you don’t have time to create an elaborate spread-sheet, a simple list will suffice to catalog your anticipated expenses and how you’re going to pay for them. Estimate numbers you’re unsure of, but try to keep the costs as accurate as possible to get a realistic ballpark figure of your entire moving budget.
2. Enter Savings Mode
Halt unnecessary spending in anticipation of unplanned and miscellaneous expenses during your move. You might catch yourself thinking about purchasing things that would require you to spend more money on hauling expenses.
Don’t do it!
Allow your impending move to influence all of your purchasing decisions from now until then, even how many groceries you need (regardless of coupons or sales ads, for a change). Even great deals aren’t worth it if they affect labor costs, weight load, fuel efficiency, and space on a moving truck.
3. Downsize Before, Not After
This is another step that depends greatly on how much time you have to work with, but even if your time is limited, it’s amazing how much stuff you can get rid of if you’re determined to move as lightly as possible.
If you have items you don’t want to sell, consider storing them with family or friends. This can save you money and free time to deal with the bulk of your possessions.
While making decisions, consider how much it would cost to replace versus move the item. What you don’t have time to sell, donate. Many donation centers will pick up large contributions so you don’t have to haul them. If you’re concerned about your loss, be sure to get a donation receipt so you can claim it on your taxes.
4. Decide How to Move Your Belongings
The cost and hassle of renting, loading, and fueling a moving van yourself is often not worth the small savings compared to the convenience of hiring movers to do it for you (as long as you shop around for the best deal).
There’s also another option a bit cheaper than hiring moves that’s becoming increasingly popular: renting a drop-off storage cube. You fill it, they move it.
Do a bit of research before your move to determine the best bang for your buck. Take into consideration the distance you’ll be moving, how much stuff you have, and any other factors.
5. Ask Your Employer to Pay
If you’re required to move because of your career, or hired out of state, ask your employer if they will cover a portion of the moving expenses. They may not agree to this, but it doesn’t hurt to ask.
If you can’t get your employee to pay for your moving expenses, be sure to keep all your receipts and ask your CPA if they qualify for an itemized deduction. Moving expenses attributed to a job relocation often qualify as a deduction on your taxes.
Although moving for a better career or lifestyle can change your financial outlook, don’t neglect to consider the expense of a major move and save money in the process.
Are you planning to move this year? What’s one way you plan to save money?