How to Move on a Budget

Let’s face it: Moving isn’t cheap. For those of us on budget-(and really, who isn’t these days!) moving can seem like a stressful and financially dilapidating event, especially when you start to see fees and charges that quickly add up. Although, it may take some money away from your savings, it doesn’t have to leave you broke. In fact, with some careful planning (especially advanced planning) you be able to budget yourself and alleviate costs and even walk away from your move saving money. As crazy as it may seem, you can move on a budget! Here’s how:

Create a Budget.
Before you call a long distance moving company, know what you can spend. Even if you think you know, it’s best to see it in writing. In your budget, you are not just accouting for what you can spend, but you should note aspects of your move such as additional fees for heavy items that may not seem so obvious. You should also note charges such as any bills at your new and old places and if there will be an overlap. You can include all of your expenses on a handy excel spreadsheet or even use one on Google that allow users to share docments for back-and-forth number crunching.

Get an Estimate.
Once you know what you can spend, call three to five van lines in your area. Check with friends and family that have moved, as well as local movers on the Internet. For the most part, you should stick with local movers. Even if someone is cheaper farther away, they will likely charge you travel time, which may not be much of a savings. From your list, interview two-four movers in your home. It is important to have an in-house meeting, so that they can actually look at your items and determine an estimate. Giving this information over the phone will most likely not be accurate and result in additional fees (and headaches) on moving day. You should also factor in the cost of insurance and any other expenses, as well as a tip for your movers.

Pack Wisely.
Packing doesn’t have to be an expensive experience, in fact, it can be the best time to get organized and assess your items for a fresh start in your new place. Often times, people will hire a moving company to do they packing for them. This will likely increase your bill by an additional 25 percent. Instead, opt to pack everything yourself (or with some very nice friends) and place your belongings into a keep or donate. The keep pile really should be items you can’t live without, and not those that you think you can’t live without. The donate pile can go to your local good will or even to family or friends. If you have extra time, you may even want to have a yard sale. Even better, if you can get rid of heavy items you may be able to cut some moving costs. If you do lighten up your load, be sure to let the moving company know, so that they can change your moving quote.

Another option is to put your items in storage. If you can’t part with certain items (or don’t have the room for them), you can keep them safe in a storage facility. When you finally get down to the packing, make a system for each room-packing room-by-room, color-coding the boxes, and mark those that have fragile items. This will not only enable you to know where everything is going, easing and saving time with the unpacking process, but it will set up a system for the movers.

If you are moving a short distance and can lift furniture easily then the U-Load option may be good for you. You can rent a van, but you should also factor in gas costs, moving tools, supplies, and labor-this option is not just renting a van. It is labor intensive, which some people don’t have a problem with.

Cost of Supplies.
Regardless of how you move, you will also have to spend some money on supplies. Boxes, bubble wrap and moving blankets seem like they wouldn’t be too pricey, but these goods can quickly add up. Be sure to set aside some extra funds for materials, since you want to make sure all of your possessions are well-protected and secure.

On Moving Day.
Another cost to factor in the mix is what you will spend on moving day. Of course, you will have the best intentions to not spend money, but most likely you will be traveling. And traveling means spending money on gas, food, hotels, and activities (for kids). If you are flying to your new home, record the cost of plane tickets and all associated fees. Don’t forget to include the costs of babysitters for children or any pet care as you get ready for your move.

New Home Related Expenses.
Generally, on moving day most people factor in the cost of the mover, and maybe some supplies, but rarely does talk of new home costs go into the budget, or often it is a separate budget. However, you may find that you have to deal with these costs right after moving.

The next section of your budget should consist of the costs you will face upon moving into your new home. Factor in rent, security deposits, mortgage payments, and other costs involved in setting up your new place. Also, find out in advance the prices for starting various utility services. You should also determine any other services you will need to pay for, such as parking permits or pet fees for apartments.

Though this next suggestion might not be the first thing to come to mind when planning a moving budget, it is important nonetheless. You will definitely want to include the cost of groceries after you move in. Since you probably won’t want to go grocery shopping or cook on your move-in day, also factor in the price of take-out food. Furthermore, it is a good idea to provide food and drinks for anyone helping you move, professional movers included.

Add It All Up.
Although you were careful with your costs and everything added up to your satisfaction, you should still add five to 10 percent of the final cost to your tally. This extra amount will cover any unexpected fees that may occur during moving day. After all, everything and everything can happen, so it is better to be prepared than not.

Regardless of how expensive you move turns out to be, if you plan your budget in advance, you won’t be floored when you discover the final cost. If your planned expenses fall outside of what you can afford, you can easily review your budget and find areas where you can cut corners. Either way, if you know the costs involved in moving beforehand, you will have one less thing to worry about during your move.