I moved in to my new house three weeks ago, and everything still isn’t just the way I want it. Whether you’re making a cross-country move, leaving the house for a renovation, or just going across town, there are very few people who would call a move a “fun” activity. But there are ways to make the stress of moving less, well, stressful, and certainly many ways to make moving more economical. Follow the list below and you’ll be practicing “savvy spending” tips in no time, flat!
Update Your Address
You could be moving floors or moving states, but everyone (and we mean everyone) needs to know the details. Updating people about your move isn’t as simple as sending a “we’ve moved” postcard to friends and family (although Paperless Post has an awesome section just for that). You’ll need to tell the important people (including the government) that you’ve moved too. This includes, but not limited to:
- Auto-Save—don’t let that Amazon auto-ship go to your old address!
- Insurance Company—this will update your home or renter’s policy, as well as your auto policy.
- Credit Cards & Banks—you’ll want to update your billing address, but also order things like new checks.
- School—your children’s schools will need updated emergency contacts and mailing information.
- Employer—you’ll need to update your W-2 and W-9 so that taxes and paychecks get sent to the right place.
- Utility Companies and Service Providers—cancel and alert to the change in address or start in new service. See below for negotiation tips.
- DMV (driver’s license)—this can often be done online without an in-person visit.
- Post Office—of course, you want mail at your new address, right? Be sure to register online, where you can select valuable coupons to be sent via email and to your home. It’s as little as $1. They can often also handle voter’s registration, an important factor with the election coming up later this year!
Notify Utilities and Service Providers
Give yourself plenty of time to alert key utility companies that you’re moving. Your utilities will need to be turned off and on at several locations during your move, and if service has not been set up at your new address, fees may happen and extra time may be needed.
Be aware that if you haven’t had a specific utility company before, you may also need to pay a deposit or “turn on” fee. Often times these fees are refundable after a year of service. Make a note to follow up—in our experience, utility companies aren’t always the best at returning fees unless we (politely) ask for our money back.
The good news is, it could be a great time to score a new customer deal with other service providers. With cable and internet, for example, you may qualify for a “new client” special or bundle, where you could receive premium channels, or extra services (think home phone) for less than your previous rate. TDS has special bundles here.
Practice Proper Packing
Yes, packing is a pain, but it’s often easier (and less costly) to do it yourself. Secure packing materials from your local home supply store and tackle one room at at time, carefully labeling boxes. Use tools like glass packs and dish packs to make kitchen tools easy, and know that the process often takes several hours per room. Buy extra supplies—you can always return what wasn’t used for a refund, and it’s better than running out of tape or peanuts on the second-to-last box! Use this opportunity to purge old clothes, expired kitchen items or cleaning supplies, and anything you no longer need.
A general rule of thumb: if you haven’t used it in 10 months, consider tossing or donating.
Get An Accurate Moving Quote
Movers will give the most accurate quote when you’ve document the exact number of boxes, pieces of furniture, and other items to be moved. Go room to room and estimate boxes, taking into account items like lamps, artwork, desktop computers, and other bulky pieces that aren’t “furniture” but won’t necessarily fit into boxes. The more accurate the information, the more appropriate the number of movers, size of truck and estimated moving time will be, leaving you without a financial surprise —or a truck that’s too small or too big.
Use Moving To Your Tax Advantage
Moving (despite its many associated costs) can actually save you some come tax time. In addition to the tax benefits of owning a home or renting a home that you own, you can also use a variety of deductions to your advantage. A qualified home office for self-employed professionals can be used as a deduction, as can charitable donations—and that includes those things you “purged” to Salvation Army or Goodwill.
Don’t Buy Just Yet
Sure, it’s tempting to run out and buy new things right after you’ve unpacked the boxes. Even if you’re downsizing, you’ll likely need new items—from furniture and rugs to small things like candles and paper towel holders. But resist! Living in the space for a little bit can help you separate the “must have” from the “nice to have.” Make a priority list, and purchase appropriately. After all, those knickknacks can add up to several hundred dollars easily, and that could go towards a more “needed” piece, like a rug or coffee table or new mattress. It’s okay if the space doesn’t look “perfect” right away.
Note to self: re-read paragraph above plenty of times, because you still aren’t always practicing what you preach 🙂
Go Out Of Season
Just like winter coats go on sale in the spring, so does furniture. Stores change out their “collections” regularly, and often offer flash 20% off sales. Keep an eye out for discount days (and use those moving coupons) but also consider waiting until the off season. I’ve scored outdoor furniture for 60 to 70% off in the early fall, and often stock up on holiday items in early January, saving them for the following year.
Give Yourself a Break
Moving is hard work! Know that it’s a-okay to live in boxes for a little while, or to break your diet for a pizza party on paper plates during that first week. Moving is exhausting—both physically and mentally—but it’s also a new adventure. Embrace the journey and “treat” yourself along the way, by buying an item you’ve always wanted for your new home, treating yourself to a massage or manicure once the boxes are all unpacked, or simply by having a relaxing glass of wine on your new patio or in your newly-unpacked living room. It’s your new home—enjoy it!
Image courtesy of Flickr user Nicolas Huk