Millions of people are on the move every year. Literally. From 2015 to 2020, no fewer than 40 million Americans relocated. Though the majority didn’t move far, nearly 1 in 5 involved state-to-state or international moves. That’s a lot of planning — and a lot of money.
Any kind of move involves plenty of obvious and hidden expenses. Yet bigger relocations can chip away quickly at your finances. This leaves you living in a new home but without the resources you need and want. Not exactly the dream you expected.
However, there’s some good news. You don’t have to succumb to the idea that your upcoming move is going to strip your savings. Quite the contrary. With some upfront, savvy planning, you can avoid overspending and retain your cash. Below are five ways to steward your savings even if your move is taking you coast to coast or abroad.
1. Pick Your Next Neighborhood Thoughtfully
Where you live matters, right down to the street in some cases. Ideally, your next house or apartment should be in a safe area with an appealing cost of living. Don’t just look at house or rent prices. Instead, find out what it will take for you to be comfortable in your chosen community.
If you’re working with a realtor, you can usually get some or all of this information. On the other hand, if you’re doing all the legwork, you’ll need to think like an investigator. Start your journey by checking out resources like AreaVibes or SpotCrime. They’ll give you a snapshot of what’s going on in places you’re considering living.
You may have to pay a little more to snag a home in a better neighborhood. Nevertheless, you might spend less overall, especially if you avoid making a mistake and having to move again.
2. Vet Several Professional Movers
Unless you’re planning to handle your move via the DIY route, you’ll need to hire a mover. Prepare to interview at least three long-distance moving companies. By speaking to each representative, you can get a general sense of what to expect.
For instance, the agent for Moving Company A may arrive late or not return phone calls. This could be a harbinger of what to expect. Whereas the salesperson for Moving Company B might text quickly and answer questions well.
Of course, you’ll need to gauge all the long-distance movers on price. Don’t assume that the cheapest will give you the best value. Ensure that the moving company you choose will treat your items carefully and get the job done right. Otherwise, you might end up spending more to fix the situation or spend hours trying to recover damages.
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3. Let Go of Stuff You Don’t Need
This is a tough one to swallow, but it has to be said: Most people have tons of objects that they no longer need. Is it any wonder that storage facility usage is booming to the tune of billions per year? Chances are good that you’re in the same boat as so many others. But why cart useless things hundreds or thousands of miles?
Before you worry about contributing to landfills, know that you don’t have to toss everything you no longer want. In fact, your items could help you save money. First, consider whether or not you could make a little dough selling your unneeded objects online or at a yard sale. Remember that one person’s trash could be another person’s treasure.
With that being said, you can’t get dollars for everything. Yet you don’t have to feel like you’re losing wealth, either. You can always donate old goods to a place like the Salvation Army or Goodwill. You’ll get a receipt to use at tax time to help lower your overall tax burden, which makes for smart donating. Here are a few other quick ways to make money when letting go of your items or donating.
4. Schedule Your Move During Off Times
The moving industry tends to run in cycles. Often, spring and summer are busy months. Weekend time slots for movers and van rentals fill up quickly. Knowing this, consider moving when others aren’t.
What are some off-peak days or times to relocate? December and January can be downright dismal months for movers. You might be able to negotiate a better moving rate if you’re willing to take off during the holidays. Or, you might just set your sights on moving anytime during the winter.
Unless you’re locked into moving soon, being pragmatic and practical can pay off. Even if you’re moving for work, your new employer may allow you to telecommute for a couple of months. That way, you could take advantage of moving discounts and deals.
5. Find Free or Cheap Boxes and Containers
Moving is a highly stressful experience. Just don’t let your tensions allow you to make regretful money management decisions. As an example, avoid buying boxes. Yes, they might look nice, but they’re not cheap.
As long as you have a few weeks to pack, you have the opportunity to source cheap moving supplies. Go to your favorite stores and see if they have extra boxes you can take off their hands. Ask friends, colleagues and family members for any empty containers they have at home. Just be creative and try to get as much as you can for as little as possible.
Still sold that higher-end boxes are the only ones that will keep your belongings safe and sound? Look online for people who have recently moved and are selling boxes for less. Plenty of homeowners try to recoup some of their moving supply costs. Even if you spend a little, you’ll spend much less than you would if you paid full price.
A big move is a big deal, no doubt about it. Nonetheless, it doesn’t need to cost big money. Be strategic and consider alternatives. Write everything out and follow your roadmap. You’ll be more apt to arrive at your destination with extra bucks in your pocket rather than a huge credit card bill.
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Last updated: Oct. 21, 2021
This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: Planning a Big Move? 5 Things To Consider To Save Your Finances