Moving households, whether it is due to a job transfer or upgrading your home, and whether moving across country or across town, is an expensive proposition. Even when a new employer sponsors a relocation, there are hidden or un-thought-of expenses such as tipping or registering your vehicle in a new state. Here are six ways to reduce expenses during your next move:
1. Boxes, boxes, boxes
Asking your local grocery, drug, or liquor store for their empty boxes is certainly one way to save money. You could easily spend $100 or more when buying new boxes. Consider visiting an apartment complex the first weekend of the month when new tenants are likely to move in. Tenants will be eager to rid themselves of their unpacked boxes and you can score by taking them off their hands. If your employer is paying for the move, be sure to save and store your new boxes for future use.
Buy your packaging tape at a hardware store instead of a grocery store or office supply store. It can save you up to $5 per roll! And remember to be nice to whomever is helping you move; pack books in a few smaller boxes instead of one big box!
2. Truck Rentals
If you are ambitious enough to move yourself, be sure to comparison shop weeks in advance of your move to get the best prices on truck rentals.
At the time this article was written, the following online price quotes were researched from well-known companies offering truck rentals. Be careful to investigate how the company charges for mileage.
Another hidden charge that you may not be aware of is that of dropping off the truck in a different city/location from where it was rented.
Inquire with the truck rental store or Web site if there are special promotions or discounts for being a AAA or AARP member. Do call your insurance agent before you reserve any truck to determine if your homeowner's insurance will cover any damage to your furniture and if your auto insurance will cover the truck. This will save you worry and money, if you don't need to purchase additional insurance from the rental company.
As an example, you could expect to pay the following charges for a 400-mile move:
-- Uhaul, www.uhaul.com, 14' Truck, $109 + $.40 per mile after the first 476 miles.
-- Penske, www.penske.com, 15' Truck, $429 for unlimited miles, receive a 10% discount for reserving the truck online and another 10% for being a AAA member.
-- Budget, www.budget.com, 15' Truck, $452 with a $100 refundable deposit, 515 miles are free.
Each of these companies does a great job of up-selling boxes, tape, hand truck rentals, and moving quilt rentals on their Web sites and in their stores. The boxes and tape can be purchased much cheaper if you plan in advance.
In this scenario, Uhaul is the clear winner, but this is NOT always the case. Prices will vary due to availability, timing, and distances.
And, don't forget -- you are responsible for paying for the gas in the truck during your trip as well as upon its return, which can be an exorbitant cost with current gas prices. Ask the rental company for the average mile-per-gallon of the truck when you are reserving it to estimate this cost.
Temporarily storing your belongings may be a necessary expense. There are a lot of options with storage facilities and you will want to weigh each aspect carefully. For example, if you are always strapped for cash, and there is the slightest chance that you will not be able to make the payment in a timely fashion, your belongings may be confiscated!
Don't risk signing a contract with a storage company if you aren't confident you can make the payments. An alternate option here is to use your credit card for the recurring monthly costs, but ONLY if you pay off the balance in full each month to save on interest charges.
When choosing a storage facility, consider the company's reputation, whether they have climate controlled units (if this is important to you), and what security the company can promise. Having easy access 24 hours a day may also be a key attribute for you depending on your circumstances.
If you are renting a truck to move your belongings, be sure to ask what partnership pricing they have with a local storage facility. Sometimes storage can be obtained for as little as $1 for the first month with a 2-month minimum contract when you rent a truck at the same time. Buy a padlock for your storage unit at your local hardware store to save spending 3-times the amount at the facility.
4. Packing Fragile Belongings
As with boxes, packing materials to protect fragile belongings can be expensive. A cost effective and space efficient tip is to pack these breakable items in your bathroom and kitchen towels, throw rugs, blankets, bed linens, and even shower curtains! This is a much better alternative to newspaper, which leaves ink residue behind. All of your linens can be washed and folded once you have moved into your new home.
In an easily identifiable place such as a drawer of a piece of furniture, be sure to pack a complete change of clothes for you and your family members, toiletries, a complete set of bed linens, and toilet paper. This way, you won't be panicked trying to find the necessities when you first arrive at your destination.
5. Utilities and Address Changes
Remember to cancel your old utility services, start new utility services, and change your address. You may uncover some forgotten money when canceling services if you were required to pay a deposit when you started your service.
Be sure to end the services the day AFTER you move out. This may incur a few dollars of extra costs, but typically these companies can not ensure a cut off time, and you don't want to be stuck without electricity or hot water while you are still in your place.
On the same note, you may wish to schedule set-up of your utilities at your new residence the day before you arrive to be sure everything will be working when you arrive. Here is a list of common utility companies to contact. The property management company or Chamber of Commerce in the area where you are moving can give you local company numbers.
Also, if you are moving into a subdivision or condominium complex that has a private trash collecting service, you may be charged for the pick-up of your moving boxes! This cost can be $25 or much higher, depending on the number of boxes. Check this out before putting your boxes out at the curb. You may want to consider donating your boxes to a new neighbor with a "For Sale" sign in front of their home.
In addition canceling and starting new utility services, don't forget to change your address with your:
-- Credit Cards
-- Utility Companies
-- Insurance Companies
-- U.S. Post Office (at your old location)
6. Save ALL Moving Receipts
If your move is not being paid for by an employer, the incurred expenses may be tax deductible. According to the IRS Web site, www.irs.gov, "You can deduct your allowable moving expenses if your move is closely related, both in time and in place, to the start of work at a new or changed job location." The IRS has an interactive questionnaire, which determines whether your move may be deducted on your taxes. Contact the IRS at http://www.irs.gov/individuals/article/0,,id=132125,00.html or your tax preparer if you have specific questions relating to your move.
Moving even the simplest of households can be expensive. Save yourself a lot of stress and money by planning far in advance of your move.
Note: The content of this article is intended for educational purposes only and it should not be interpreted as financial advice. For advice that is specific to your circumstances, please consult your tax and financial advisor.
Kimberly Griffith is the author of One Paycheck At A Time, www.onepaycheckatatime.com, ISBN: 1591133327, a 200-page workbook, containing budget management exercises for an entire year of paychecks. The author has herself been through the vicious cycle of debt and provides a no-nonsense system to managing your money paycheck to paycheck. You customize the journal based on your pay schedule and learn the necessary tools for making ends meet.© 2005 Kimberly A. Griffiths
The views and opinions expressed in these articles do not necessarily reflect those of College Central Network, Inc. or its affiliates. Reference to any company, organization, product, or service does not constitute endorsement by College Central Network, Inc., its affiliates or associated companies. The information provided is not intended to replace the advice or guidance of your legal, financial, or medical professional.