Today’s post is from writer and commenter here on BFS, Kate (Mrs. COD). Thanks to slaying her debt demons, she’s now able to stay at home raising her two rambunctious little boys. Kate blogs about lifelong habit changes and “finangelism” at Changing Our Default, which she started early in 2016.
Hi, BFS readers! Since my family and I recently moved from Illinois to Kentucky for my husband to pursue his university teaching career, I’ve got several great tips for moving on a budget. Here’s what we learned during the moving process about keeping the budget in line!
Before even deciding to move anywhere, do some research! Check out the new town or area online or in person. Learn about its faults as well as its attractive features. For example, if your prospective job there will pay more, but the location also brings a hefty cost-of-living increase, you might want to think twice about it. For us, the housing prices in our new city were MUCH more reasonable than where we previously lived. One of the first things I do is search out the best internet provider in my area because I cannot live without an internet connection. Do the same with utilities because you do have options.
Ask About Relocation Funding
If doing on-location job interviews, be sure to ask about travel or relocation funding. Some employers reimburse travel expenses (hotel, gas, flight, etc.), as my husband’s new employer did for us. Some employers offer a moving stipend, usually a set amount that helps offset any costs you might incur over the course of a move, such as storage units, dining out, and temporary lodging while between homes.
Find Cheap Options During the Process
Don’t be afraid of inexpensive lodging during the process. Stay with acquaintances if possible, or camp. The Internet holds a plethora of amazing deals on hotels, too. When house-hunting, our hotel cost just $47 a night! Plus, shocker: it wasn’t a filthy dump. It was clean, had a pool, and offered free breakfast.
(Crystal Tip: AirBnb has amazingly cheap temporary options available all over…my friend, Dee, and I stayed in an RV near Canyon Lake in 2016 very affordably instead of renting out a $150 per night room. Heck, use my referral link and get $40 off your first stay of $75 or more.)
Use Your Memberships
Leverage your memberships to take advantage of benefits. Many professional organizations offer member discounts off expenses like lodging and dining, so be sure to ask or do your research! Our AAA coverage provided additional peace of mind while on the road with all of our possessions, in addition to offering us a discount on that already-cheap hotel chain!
Move as Little Stuff as Realistically Possible
Do you really NEED a big ol’ moving truck or trailer? We did this time, but it’s best to consider other options. Perhaps you’re only moving across town and could take carloads of stuff to the new place over a period of days or weeks. (That’s what I did for my past four moves.)
Plenty of people simply pare down their possessions before a big move, too. If your things aren’t particularly nice or don’t hold sentimental value, you might be better off selling stuff before the move, then hitting garage sales and thrift stores to furnish your new home.
Comparison Shop Moving Companies
Shop around for moving trucks. Many companies are TERRIBLE with customer service, forcing you to drive hours out of your way just to pick up a vehicle (even though you’ve reserved a truck well in advance). Shop around!
Ask friends and family for suggestions. My husband found a great company with a pickup location mere blocks from our current home, and it allowed truck returns in different cities (so crucial when moving out-of-state)!
Pare Down Your Crap
No matter your vehicle of moving, maximize your space. Get rid of anything you won’t need or want in the new home, and be sure to protect everything you want to keep. For us, although much of our furniture wasn’t anything special, it was still more cost-effective to keep and transport it rather than experience the hassle and added cost of buying new or used items. Plus, by bringing all of our essential furnishings, we avoided the stress of having to rush into purchasing couches or beds at higher prices than we could afford. We did read some Wayfair reviews that had tempting deals. Maybe next time.
Sell What You Can
Use Varagesale, Craigslist, and Facebook Marketplace to sell or donate what you don’t need before the move! I sold quite a few miscellaneous items during the last few weeks before the move.
A bona fide garage sale sounded like more work than it was worth, so we chose a few bigger-ticket items and stuck them on the front lawn with price tags one Saturday. A few people stopped by to check stuff out, and we ultimately sold it all. We didn’t make a ton of money (around $200 total), but we got a little back and felt we helped another family purchase seriously discounted stuff.
In addition, my husband bit the bullet and listed his motorcycle on Craigslist (oh, the sacrifice!). He found a buyer who would really love the bike and got a decent chunk of change for it, which went to purchasing appliances not included in our new house. We saved a ton of money on that motorcycle because of the cheap motorcycle insurance we found.
Use those USPS Coupons
That leads me to this advice: use the U.S. Post Office! This is where we messed up. USPS sent us a packet of valuable coupons for use upon moving, but we somehow forgot to open it, and by the time we did, most of the coupons had expired. 10% off at Lowe’s would have been amazing when purchasing a new tractor mower, washer, and dryer! I’m kicking myself for having missed out on hundreds in savings!
Ask for Help
Finally, ask for help. Odds are, you have friends and family members who would jump at the chance to help you move. We couldn’t have done this so inexpensively without our in-laws and their kids, who came along for the trip and were invaluable in packing, cleaning, loading, unloading, driving, and entertaining our kids!
We’re happy in Kentucky; it’s giving us a bunch of exciting and fun opportunities. I hope you’ll use some of these tips to help save some serious cash on your next move!