Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Matthew Topolski. Matthew works in the Operations and Content Management Department at Unpakt. He lives in Brooklyn and is a train enthusiast.
Whether you’re moving for the first time or the tenth time, it’s safe to say you’re not looking forward to the moving process itself. Moving can be expensive, stressful, and even confusing. Making sure you’re financially prepared for your next move is key. That’s why we’ve done the homework on things to consider when setting a Moving Budget.
How will you be moving?
The first step in planning your move is to figure out how you’re going to go about it. Will you move by yourself, or enlist the help of professional movers? You might be thinking you can save significantly by doing the move on your own, but that isn’t always the case. Sure, if you hire professional Movers it’s not going to be free, but hiring movers means you don’t have to rent a truck, pay for gas, or worry about injuring yourself doing the heavy lifting.
If you’re set on a DIY move, be sure to consider the often unexpected costs (especially those associated with long distance and cross country moves).
Unless you have your own truck, you’ll need to rent a moving truck. Don’t be fooled by the low cost advertised by truck rental companies- these advertised prices do not include fuel costs, mileage charges, insurance, tolls. DIY move can be a pretty strenuous activity, take it easy, lift with your knees, and try your best to avoid injuring yourself, lest you’ll end up with unexpected medical costs and time off from work.
If moving long distance, car owners can either drive their vehicles to their new homes or opt to pay for a car shipping service. If the latter is the more appealing option, don’t forget to budget for airfare. Driving your own car means you’ll need to think about the cost of fuel, lodging, and food along the way.
Hiring professional movers
So, let’s say you’ve decided to hire the pros for your move. Knowing a few key points to consider will allow you to maximize your budget. First, don’t book a mover without shopping around. Comparing is essential to getting the best price. Using a resource like Unpakt is a great way to compare prices instantly from a range of licensed and insured movers. You can even book your move online! One of the greatest benefits of using Unpakt is that you can avoid receiving ballpark estimates from movers that may end up doubling their quote with hidden fees on the day of your actual move.
Your move date may affect your moving cost
Picking the right date to move is another important factor to take into account when budgeting. If your move date is flexible, you can actually use it to your advantage. The first and last week of each month tend to be more expensive than the middle two weeks, and summer moves are generally more expensive than ones in winter.
How soon you book your movers or secure a rental truck for a DIY move can also affect the rate. Generally, the sooner you book, the better your chances are of receiving lower rates. In the summer, it’s ideal to book at least 1 month in advance and in the other seasons at least 2 weeks in advance. Trying to rent a moving van or truck or trying to book a mover a few days before your move date will likely result in premium rates, especially if you’re moving on the last few days of the month.
Packing and packing supplies
Now that you’re ready to move, it’s time to start packing. Professional moving companies usually offer packing services. While incredibly convenient, having movers pack your boxes for you can be pricey. Want to hack your pack to save some cash and make the DIY process easier? Try tips like using towels and linens as padding for dishes, and taking photos of your electronics’ wires before unplugging to make reinstalling a breeze.
Buying moving boxes from the movers to pack yourself can run up your expenses too. Try reaching out to local liquor or office supplies stores. They usually toss heavy-duty boxes after receiving a shipment and picking up a few for your move can save you some cash.
Whatever you do, don’t make the mistake of packing up all of your essentials in an unlabeled box. Placing your necessities like toiletries, linens, and a change of clothes in a clear plastic bin will make them easy to find.
Domestic moves are one thing, but international moves are far more complex. If you’re planning an international move, a spreadsheet will be your new best friend. Create a document to analyze expenses for moving company costs, moving insurance, cash tips for movers, shipping container costs, and even a storage unit in your country of origin for anything you want to leave behind. The point is, creating a spreadsheet will allow you to visualize all of your budgeting needs in one place.
Don’t forget to include customs duty charges and taxes. These charges vary depending on where you’re moving to. Do your research in advance and include these charges to your moving expense budget.
Utilities at your new place
By this point, you’ve budgeted for just about everything right? Well, utilities are perhaps one of the most overlooked aspects when it comes to setting a moving budget. Contacting utility providers in your new location will give you a good idea of what you’ll be paying for things like electricity, gas, water, internet, etc.
If you have equipment (cable box, modem, etc.) to return to your old place, do so promptly to avoid penalty charges.
Whether you’re moving with a limited budget or would prefer to splurge on your move cost, give yourself a pat on the back because you’ve got all the knowledge you need to set up your moving budget from start to finish!
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