[Please be certain to always read my disclaimer -Ed.]
Even when you’re moving from one apartment in your building to another, you’re likely dealing with an extra security deposit and some miscellaneous fees from the landlord.
But what if you could find ways to ease the cost of the transition and the cost of living in your new space? Sound crazy? Here are some tips for how to do just that.
Start saving early
Start saving up as soon as you decide that you are going to move. Yes, start saving even if you haven’t yet found a new home. You can pretty much assume that wherever you go, you’re going to need money for deposits, first and last month’s rent, the cost of a moving van (or movers — seriously, consider movers), deposits for utilities and other services, new furniture, and more. The sooner you start saving the better off you’ll be when surprises pop up.
Here are two great ways to save up for a move:
- Adjust your budget ahead of time for what you imagine the cost of your new living space will be. Then, each month, as your current bills come in below those amounts, put the difference into a savings account. This way you’ll get used to operating at a potentially higher cost of living (which will take some of that shock away) and you’ll beef up your savings account.
- Increase the line item in your budget for your savings account by at least 30%. This way you’ll have extra in savings in case a moving emergency occurs.
Do what you can to reduce your cost of living in your new space. For instance, look for a home that is close enough to let you walk or ride a bicycle to work. This way you don’t have to drive your car so much, which will reduce the amount of money you spend on things like gas and car maintenance. If you live in a city and can bike or take the bus or a train to work, think about selling your car and opting into a Car2Go or Zipcar-like program. You can put the money you make from the sale into your savings to offset your moving costs. Make sure, before you do, that your new neighborhood has walkable grocery shops, schools, etc.
If you’re thinking of moving out of state, consider moving to an area with a deregulated utility industry. Deregulation increases market competition which drops the prices of electricity and gas dramatically. Many deregulated markets, like those in Texas or Illinois, also have dramatically lower costs of living. Spend some time surfing the different rates using databases like LocalElectricityCompanies.com to find out where power is cheapest and/or which companies offer the lowest rates in your new neighborhood or town.
In addition to saving up and looking for ways to decrease your cost of living after you move, it’s a good idea to look for ways to offset the cost of the move itself. For example, be ruthless when you’re sorting through your belongings. If you haven’t used it in the last year, sell it online or in a yard sale and then use that money to offset the expense of moving. You’ll be amazed at what people will buy.
You might even weigh the option of getting rid of most of your stuff and simply starting over in a new space. The fewer physical things you move the cheaper and easier the actual move will be since most moving companies charge by weight or space.
Ask for help
The more you can do yourself, the less your move will cost. Still, nobody likes asking for help moving–especially once you’ve been out of school for a while. You might have outgrown asking people to do heavy lifting in exchange for pizza, but there are other ways to ask for help with your move.
For example, if this is your first home, you can ask friends or family members if they have any home goods they’ve been hoping to weed out that you might be able to take off their hands. You’ll get cool stuff, they get to declutter; everybody wins! This also works for moving boxes.
Another trend that has become increasingly popular is to build a housewarming wish list through sites like Amazon where you list the things you want and need for your new home and give people the option of sending them to you after you move. This way you don’t have to pack them or move them and people who live far away can feel like they’re helping.
These are just some of the ways you can offset the cost of a move whether it’s across town or to a new state. What are some of the things you’ve done that have helped you save money while moving?