According to statistics cited within The Washington Post, Americans move around more than anyone else in the world. Data from the U.S. Census Bureau suggests that the average person living in the United States moves 11+ times throughout his/her lifetime. Moving apartments can be costly. The American Moving and Storage Association states the average cost of a local move is about $2,300, with 4 movers at an hourly rate of $200. Long-distance moves can average at $4,300; both expenses were recorded at 7,400 pounds of inventory.
Relocating to a new apartment or townhouse can be a financial strain for some. But, planning and money-saving tricks make it possible to move on a budget and save during your next move.
1. Set a budget
Moving expenses can add up fast if you’re not careful. Before you start swiping that credit card, set a budget for yourself. Estimate the full cost of moving, which includes a rental truck or moving company, packing supplies, and the cost of securing your new home plus any costs associated with leaving your current one.
Expenses to consider include termination fees, utility cancellation or start-up fees, security deposits, additional pet rent, and first- and last-month’s rent. Be sure to set aside a contingency fund for miscellaneous items or emergency expenses. After you have determined your limit, don’t waver from it. Keep in mind your allowance and update it as your move progresses.
2. Pack and transport it yourself
Moving companies are pricey and if you want to save money, your best bet is to take on the challenge yourself. Rally family and friends together and make an event out of packing and loading the rental truck. Everyone can pitch in to wrap dishes, label boxes and haul furniture. Having many hands makes the job easier, so show your appreciation by treating your guests to pizza and beer once the task is finished.
3. Negotiate with moving companies on price
If you can’t do the move entirely on your own, try negotiating the price with a moving company to keep your costs low. Offer to buy your own moving supplies and pack your own boxes, and be flexible on your moving dates. Movers have their busy seasons and off-seasons. You can usually expect a discount on price during their off-season.
4. Declutter the home before you leave
Identify the items you no longer need, before you start packing. This will help keep the supplies part of your budget low, since you’ll have already gotten rid of those things way in advance. You can sell these pieces online, or donate them to a store or organization. Begin the process as soon as possible, that way, the clutter will be cleared before moving day.
5. Save the kitchen for last when packing, but set it up first when you move in
One of the most frustrating moving expenses is the additional cost of eating out, because your new kitchen hasn't been set up with cooking supplies and groceries. To lower the cost, wait until the last possible minute to pack your kitchen. I waited three days to pack up my dishes, utensils and cookware. The time leading up to moving day, I prepared a lot of sandwiches and fruit for my lunch and supper. I used paper plates and plastic utensils, and then put the rest in my first-night box at my new home.
Make sure all of your kitchen boxes are well-labeled and loaded into the truck last. That way, you can move them in and unpack first.
6. Utilize “Deal of the Day” websites
During your move – especially if you’re doing a long-distance trip – you will need to allocate funds for food and hotel. Check out websites like Groupon for restaurant and hotel deals along the route to your new place. You can find some awesome savings on discount sites– and there’s nothing better than a little cash back in your pocket!
Renters relocating for work may be eligible for tax deductions on moving expenses. Even if your employer is covering a large percentage of your moving costs, keep your receipts and talk to an accountant or financial adviser to determine if you qualify for additional deductions.
Brian Wright is based in Atlanta and writes about housing options, real estate tips, and home improvement