When I wrote my last post about some Costs to Consider When Moving, I had no idea that within a few months I’d be giving you moving tips that I learned from moving myself!
November 1st marked the beginning of a new chapter for team RHMM in a new city, so I’ve gone a bit silent on you for a few months while we’ve been getting our feet under us. Now that we’re getting settled, I’m thinking back over the entire experience. There is a ton that goes into a full relocation like that, and I’m excited to share some things we learned that will hopefully help you in the future, or if you’re in a transition season right now!
Moving Tip #1: Planning Is Crucial
You ABSOLUTELY need to have a moving budget. One of the first things we did after deciding to move was to sit down and assess our financial situation. A good first step is to assess all the costs you know will happen because of the move. We started with the costs that were unavoidable. Then we listed the ones that were more “luxury” items, like hiring movers.
Once you lay out all of the costs and compare them with your current financial state, you’ll be able to make a decision on which of the unnecessary ones you want to cut. We’ll talk more on this decision process in a couple of paragraphs.
You may be saying “but how can I know how much things will cost? There are so many unknowns in moving.” Yes, there are unexpected expenses that come up. BUT that means it’s that much MORE important that you have a plan, because you need to know how much you can spend without getting off your overall financial course.
Plus, it’s easier than you think to figure this stuff out. A 10 minute Google search will tell you how much it’ll cost you to rent a moving truck and how many miles it is to your new destination, helping you predict gas costs. Just a little bit of time devoted to research and planning will have a big payoff in the long run.
Moving Tip #2: Savings Keep the Pressure Off
We’ve been debt free for over a year and a half now, so our savings account looked better than it ever had before we made this move. I can’t tell you enough how calming it is to have a pile of cash on hand when other things in your life are uncertain.
If you know you have a big move coming up, I’d recommend temporarily stopping paying any extra on debts and saving as much money as possible. This isn’t necessarily with the intention of spending it all, but you do want it available so you won’t have to run up credit card bills if the unexpected happens.
Because of our savings and our clearly laid out moving budget (do not neglect moving tip #1), we were able to purchase a good used car to replace my wife’s company car, cover deposits and rent for our new place, furnish it, and live for 2.5 months while my wife found a job all with cash. No credit card bills, no car payment, and we never touched our emergency fund.
If you’re about to make a transition, cash is truly king. So save it like crazy as best as you can.
Moving Tip #3: It’s as Expensive as You Make It
Earlier I talked about listing all your moving expenses so you can budget them. Some of those are necessary, while many of them are probably “wants” rather than “needs.”
For example, you will most likely need boxes and a moving truck to get your stuff to your new house. However, professional movers are a “want.”
We found places to save money on this move, while also making some concessions. Knowing these would cost us more, we still determined they were worth it.
We packed up our house ourselves over the course of a week, and then several of our amazing friends came over and helped us load up a U-Haul truck in a couple of hours. We drove the truck ourselves, and instead of staying at a hotel, we chose to stay with family who lived close to our new home. That way we could make the drive the morning of our move-in day from not too far away, and stay for free.
All of those decisions kept our costs low, but we did decide to hire a moving crew to unload our truck into the house. The reason we felt ok making this call were that we only knew a couple people in our new town, and we didn’t want their first interaction with us to be asking them to sweat it out carrying all of our stuff. We quoted a couple different companies, chose the cheapest one, and had the truck unloaded in an hour.
I’m going to be honest with you. That was the best couple hundred bucks we spent in the entire move.
But for you, just make a list of unavoidable expenses and another one of luxuries. Then get as creative as you want in keeping those costs down. You really can move for cheap.
Moving Tip #4: Once You’ve Moved, Stop Spending Like You’re Moving
This was definitely a learning moment for us. When you’re in the middle of moving and trying to settle in, you get off your routine. We had planned and budgeted for this, but we hadn’t planned for the mental shift that would take place.
I mentioned earlier that we bought a car and some new furniture. After a moving week where we made those two purchases, ate out regularly (kitchen was being unpacked), and went on outings trying to make new friends, we got really used to spending more money than our usual monthly budget.
Once we got in this mode, we would find ourselves for weeks having a thought like “Oh it would be great if we could get _______ for the living room” or something. Then we would just go buy it and say “we’ll settle it up next month once we’re done settling from the move.” We had trained our brains to be ok with impulse buying that wasn’t in line with our normal spending habits.
We learned the hard way how quickly large purchases can feel like rewards or stress relievers. So my caution to you is to hold yourself to the same amount of discipline in your moving budget that you normally have on your monthly living budget.
Moving Tip #5: Learn All You Can
Life gives us lessons through successes and failures. We learned a ton from this move, and I think it’s important that we all look for ways to improve how we handle our money in every situation life gives us.
If you have a plan, pile up as much cash as possible, make wise decisions, and stay disciplined, you can execute a move that will be a big leap forward in your life rather than a financial setback.
I’m pumped to share more with you that we learned through this process, so be on the lookout for some posts about these topics and more:
-Saving on Car Insurance
-Planning an Effective Yard Sale
-Price is ALWAYS Negotiable
-How We Bought a Car for 20% Less Than Asking Price
What’s the biggest move you’ve had to make?