May 29th, 2013
5 Ways to Save Money on a Move
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**Today’s guest post is contributed by Lauren.**
I am only twenty-six, and yet I have moved houses, apartments, dorms, and cities a total of seventeen times. Yes, seventeen. My mother used to chastise me for my “restless nature” because I never stayed in one place for long, but having to move around so much kept me ready for change. It also guaranteed I never accumulated too much, since I usually had to part with one or two of my favorite things each time I moved. Still, no matter how much “stuff” you do or don’t have, moving is an expensive endeavor. Here are just a few things I’ve learned about saving money while moving.
Use Household Items as a Buffer
No need to pay for pricey bubble wrap or special “packing” paper. Just use what you own! Sheet sets, Gym T-shirts, towels, and unused garbage/plastic shopping bags can all gain a second life as the packing buffers you stuff between breakable items like dishes, picture frames, and vases. Two birds, one stone — especially since you’ll have to find a way to pack those items anyway. Oh, and that trick with old newspaper? Don’t do it, it’ll leave an inky mess all over your belongings.
Don’t Pay for Boxes
I’m almost positive there are already enough boxes in existence on earth for no one to ever have to pay for them ever again. Just don’t do it! If you know a move is coming up, don’t be lazy and wait until the last minute– get out there and scavenge ahead of time.
When I lived in New York City, there were always empty boxes out on the curb. If the thought of using those boxes gives you the heebie-jeebies, you can ask any retailer for some of their old boxes in the back. I have gotten boxes from CVS, the local grocery store, and even clothing stores like Charlotte Russe. They won’t cost you anything, except maybe a few odd looks from store clerks who don’t understand frugality.
Do Your Research
Just as I stated above, you’ll need to plan ahead for your move if you want to save money, and I’m not just talking about boxes. Doing plenty of leg-work beforehand can save you hundreds of dollars since you’ll be able to ascertain what is going to be cheapest for you and your family. Should you rent a U-Haul? Ship your furniture? Sell it all and start fresh in your new pad?
The answers to the above questions can be answered with even more questions: 1) How much stuff are you going to have to move? If it is just a room or two, shipping might be a cheaper (and easier!) option than a truck rental. 2) How expensive is your furniture? If it is an expensive piece or an heirloom, it might be worth it to you to pay extra to keep it around. If your entire apartment is furnished by Ikea, however, the furniture isn’t worth the truck it’s going to rattle in as you bounce along the interstate.
Budget for the “Unmentionables”
There are some items that get left behind in every move because, quite frankly, it’s a bit gross to transport them. Budgeting for those replacement items will keep your finances in check during the costly transition period between home and another. I’m talking about items like the shower curtain liner, the toilet bowl brush, the kitchen trash can, and condiments that need to be kept refrigerated and won’t make a long journey.
Hold on to your cleaning supplies
Somehow, because these items are the last thing I use in an apartment, they are the FIRST thing I forget to pack during a move. And yet, when you move into a new place, the first thing you want to do is clean it. (I don’t know, maybe I’m just really OCD about cleaning.) Buying all the necessary cleaning supplies you need to start a household can get expensive, especially if you do it all in one fell swoop. This is why my suggestion to you is, hold on to your cleaning supplies for dear life. You never know when you’re going to need those baby wipes during your first few days in your new place.
If you use these 5 tips, you’ll be able to save a lot more money than most people do on their move. But while you’re at it, don’t forget that where you live has a big impact on your finances. If you’re thinking of buying a home, make sure to calculate whether you can afford it. And if you’re currently renting, don’t forget that you can often negotiate your rent. So stay focused and either way – enjoy making a low-cost (and hopefully low-stress) move!
Lauren Bowling is a personal finance writer at ReadyForZero, a website that helps people get out of debt faster on their own. She enjoys writing about all things finance, relationships, and self-esteem.
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