According to the U.S. Census Bureau, renters have much higher rates of moving than homeowners. The website, Costhelper.com, shows that the average cost of hiring a mover for a two-bedroom apartment runs from $300 to $450, and a three-bedroom unit could cost as much as $600 to 900. So it stands to reason that moving every year, or even every couple of years, can multiply into a hefty sum of money.
Over the course of five years, if you were to move each year into a new apartment, you could be spending anywhere from $1,500 to $4,500. And that's not including the money that you'll shell out for packing supplies and other unexpected costs.
So to avoid handing over more money than you care to spend, here are some tips on saving during your next move.
1. Start collecting boxes
Sharman Lawson, a financial consultant and money coach, suggests gathering spare boxes from your local big-box or grocery stores about a month before the move. This will cut down on the money required for supplies. Wine boxes also make convenient carriers for glasses, china and small breakables, and boxes in uniform sizes work best.
2. Get multiple estimates on movers
Before you commit to one mover, get a non-binding estimate in writing from a few services in your area. For local moves that don't cross state lines, you should be charged an hourly rate.
3. Inquire about additional charges
On top of the hourly rate, a lot of moving services tack on extra fees for complications that may occur during the move. A "flight charge" compensates for having to move a heavy object up flights of stairs in a walk-up; a "long haul carry" is a fee applied when boxes have to be moved farther than 75 feet from the rear of the truck. Ask your moving company about additional charges that you might incur, based on the location of both your new and old apartment.
4. Move in the off-season
To possibly get a better rate or to leverage your negotiating power, move during the off-season. June to September is considered the high season. Moves made mid-month or during the work week are also considered off-peak. Kasey, of the website thriftylittleblog.com, advises calling the moving companies for quotes, and then asking what discounts you may be able to get if you offer to switch dates. To get a break on price, you can also offer to move during times that better accommodate the movers.
5. Rent your own van
A do-it-yourself move can help you save hundreds of dollars and this is easily doable if you have some strong, helpful friends who will pitch in. If you go this route, Kasey says to make sure that you rent a truck or trailer that is big enough to make only one trip and limit the number of miles driven by finding a rental location in between the location of your old and new home. Doing both will save time and lower the cost of the rental.
6. Pre-pack special items
From electronics to art to appliances, some items require more attention to detail in packing and moving. Unhook computers and televisions and pack them using styrofoam blocks or bubble wrap, and buy crates to transport paintings. You don't want to leave this to the last minute and use the movers precious (and expensive) time to package things that you can do on your own.
7. Use a caravan of cars to transport smaller items
Lawson proposes enlisting your family and friends to help you move the more manageable-size things -- clothes, small boxes and valuables -- in advance of moving day (assuming your move is local). Again, there will be less for the movers to transport and time saved loading and unloading their truck.
8. Throw things away before you move
Due to poor planning, movers say that a lot of people have them transport belongings that they wanted to pitch, but didn't have the time to sort through. Clean out extra clutter before you begin the packing process to streamline the job.
9. Attend to the details
To avert any disastrous delays when the movers arrive to unload in your new rental, know where the service entrance is located in your new building and whether you need to reserve elevator banks. Exchange cell phone numbers with the movers in case they get lost. You'll also want to know what forms of payment the moving company accepts, as movers customarily do not take checks or credit cards.
10. Use your own blankets
In case moving blankets are not offered free of charge or you are moving yourself, money-coach Lawson advises using your own blankets and borrowing those of friends and family to protect furniture and more fragile pieces.
11. Deduct the cost of the move from your federal taxes
If you are moving and getting a new job, you may be able to deduct the costs of your move the next time you file your federal income tax. The requirements are that your new job must be at least 50 miles farther from your previous residence; you'll also need to be employed full-time after your move.
From dodging additional moving fees, to negotiating with the moving companies, to pre-packing items, a lot of the tips to budgeting your next move depend on how well you plan and prepare for the relocation and limit the time that it takes the movers to do the rest of the job.
And after this move, see if you can store the moving boxes that are still in good condition -- they might come in handy again this time next year.
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