7 Moving Tips to Benefit Your Budget
Let’s face it, it can be a physical and emotional strain to pack up your entire home and move to a new city, and if you’re not prepared, it can also be a financial strain. Whether you are relocating to Dallas from another state or from another city in Texas, moving expenses tend to stack up. With a little preparation and foresight, these tips can make your impending move to the DFW area less stressful – on you and your wallet.
1) Create a budget – Do the research so you’ll have a solid handle on the costs ahead and how to cover them, including: moving your stuff (hiring movers, renting a truck, shipping ahead, etc.), gas, food, supplies, temporary lodging costs and storage rental. Don’t forget the deposit for your new apartment, along with any startup fees and deposits for cable, Wi-Fi and other utilities. Include the small items, such as buying cleaning products to restocking your pantry after the move – it all adds up. Software programs are useful for creating a budget template, but if you rather something more simplistic, purchase a notebook or bookkeeper’s record book to itemize your expenses.
Also, you may be eligible for a tax break if you’re moving because of a job change. Certain moving expenses, such as transportation and storage costs for household goods, as well as travel and lodging expenses incurred while moving can be deducted. Check the IRS guidelines or consult a tax preparer to determine which expenses can qualify for a tax break.
2) Be Sure to Get Connected. Give notice of your move-out date to your local utilities several weeks before moving. Prior to disconnecting your current electricity service (as well as other utilities), see if the service can be transferred first. Some energy companies, like Direct Energy for example, will be able to provide this service to their customers as long as they are moving to an area serviced by that company. Transferring services will also help you avoid paying any disconnection fees or security deposits. If it can’t be transferred, be sure to schedule your disconnection date prior to your move date. For the necessary utilities, like electricity, gas and water, let them stay on at least a day or two after your move, in case there is a delay with the move and you need to stay at the current residence longer.
Get a list of all the local utility companies that provide service to your new area from your property manager or real estate agent. Utility companies in North Texas vary according to area, but most follow similar procedures for new accounts. This may also be a good time to check with different companies (like electricity and cable) to see if there are any special deals that can offer better rates. Schedule services (especially the necessities like electricity and water) to be connected at your new home on the day you move in or to be safe, the day before.
3) Find Used Boxes. Instead of buying brand-new boxes, visit a recycling center to see what boxes can be salvaged, go to grocery stores, liquor stores and other retailers. Restocking leaves these businesses with plenty of extra boxes that are free for the taking. Ask friends, family, and your social media network to see if anyone has extra boxes to give away. Similarly, rather than shelling out more cash on packing materials like bubble wrap, use blankets, sheets and newspaper (but watch out for the ink that can get on certain items) to wrap valuables to keep them from breaking.
4) Start Packing Early. Seriously – begin packing several weeks, or even several months in advance. Items such as wall fixtures, picture frames, and out of season clothes can all be packed away with little disruption to your family’s daily life. When beginning far enough in advance, packing for your big move can be relatively hassle-free, and you save money on what it would cost to transport your belongings. It also allows you time to make sure that your fragile items are handled and packed correctly, which can help prevent problems later on.
If hiring movers (or just to save time in general), consider developing a color-code system for your new home and boxes. Determine a color for each room in the home, then mark each of your boxes with the corresponding tape. For instance, place red tape over the boxes designated for the kitchen, blue tape for the living room and so on. This way, you will not have to tell the movers where to take each container. It will make the moving process that much quicker and cost-efficient.
5) Downsize. You should carefully consider how much you want to take with you to your new home. Once you figure out what you want to pack up, sort out what you can sell and donate the rest. There should also be practical considerations. For example, if you’re moving from somewhere like Michigan to a state like Texas, you can probably sell or donate a good portion of your heavy winter clothes – you just won’t need them. If you downsize effectively, you save money, time, and energy it would take the transport unnecessary items to the new home (and by donating, you might earn a few tax credits at the same time). For the items you’d like to sell, consider having a garage or yard sale. You can also take pictures of your unwanted items and post on social media selling sites. The extra cash can help pay for moving expenses.
6) Protect Your Valuables. Get valuable family jewels and other high cost items appraised and documented before packing. This can help with claims should any items be damaged or stolen in the move. A moving company will offer insurance to protect against these instances, but sometimes homeowners’ insurance can also protect high-value items. Always check your insurance policy before moving.
7) Weigh Your Options. There is more than one way to transport your belongings to your new home. Depending on what you are moving and your budget, one of the options below are sure to fit your needs:
- DIY (Do-It-Yourself). Save a lot of money by renting a truck and rounding up friends and family to help with the move. You may have to sweeten the deal with pizza and snacks, but this is still the cheapest route to take versus hiring movers or shipping your possessions.
- Call In The Pros. If you wish to save time and stress, and have some flexibility in the budget, it makes sense to hire professional movers – they already have the truck, and the tools, and you don’t have to feed them! Contact at least three professional moving companies to compare prices. Utilizing a moving service is a more traditional and convenient way to move, but if moving from out of state, it can be more expensive.
- Pack Your Own Pod. With a pod, the company will drop off a portable moving container to your address, and you load it up as you go. On the specified move date, they will come pick it up and take it to your new address. This can help save money on movers, as well as save time by making the entire process more manageable. Research pod companies in your area to find out about costs, their reputation in the transport industry and if they offer nationwide delivery.
- Shipping Made Easy. Traveling light? Shipping your items can be an affordable way to move if you do not have any furniture or large electronics to transport. Several airlines offer cargo shipping services. In addition, courier companies offer flight cargo service with DHL, Emery and UPS being the most popular. To determine the total cost and shipping options, visit each company’s website or call, for shipping quotes, rules and regulations. Make sure you have calculated the dimensions of furniture and possessions as well as the total weight. Keep in mind that if you are planning on moving heavy furniture and/or a lot of items, shipping can get very costly and you could end up paying much more than the cost of hiring movers or moving yourself.
Bonus Tip: Electricity service is deregulated in most of the DFW area. This means that residents have a choice when it comes to selecting their Texas retail energy provider. Our pick is Direct Energy. They offer customers a wide choice of plan options, innovative tools to help you save, and are transparent.
For instance, very few Texas energy suppliers offer energy plans with free electricity. After reviewing the various plans available, we found that Direct Energy offers the most hours of free weekend electricity in Texas*! With Free Power Weekends, you won’t be charged for the electricity supply you use from Friday at 6pm to 11:59pm on Sunday. If you tend to have high usage activities like doing household chores, entertaining friends – or even moving, doing these activities over the weekend can save you money!
*Most free hours weekend electricity claim as of June, 19 2017 when compared to other retail electric providers offers listed on the powertochoose.org website. Subject to change.