If you have made a big move sometime in your life, you may know that moving can be expensive. If you are looking at one of the many long distance moving companies, and decide to travel across the country like Derek and Mrs. LAMF did in February, you should be aware of the hidden costs of moving. Everyone certainly knows that hiring professional movers can cost you an arm and a leg, but have you ever considered the other financial burdens that a significant relocation can carry? My wife and I made a huge trip across the country about two years ago so that I could go to grad school. I know from first hand experience the hidden expenses that come with a big move.
Costs Before the Big Move
If you are moving to an unfamiliar place, either for school or a new job, this can leave you with a lot of extra fees. It is one thing to be moving to where you have family or that you’ve been to before. It’s an entirely different ballgame to go into unfamiliar territory. This requires intense ‘recon’ work. It requires you to make a pre-move trip out to find where you will be living and perhaps even interview for jobs. Here are the fees you should expect for the preliminary trip out to the new destination:
- Transportation Fees: Is it close enough to drive? If so, you are out gas money. If not, you could be looking at airplane tickets and the fee for a rental car. Having some sort of means of getting around other than public transportation is absolutely necessary when you are trying to cram in a lot of appointments.
- Hotel: If you don’t have friends in the area, you are left with very little options for housing. Most likely, you are stuck getting a hotel for the nights that you are there. This can be quite expensive, depending on the area. Planning as much ahead of time and having multiple appointments per day can be well worth it if it means not paying for an extra night in the hotel.
- Food: Between having a full schedule and staying a hotel, you are forced to eat out. Again, this adds up fast!
- Down payment: Regardless of whether you are renting or buying, you will need a down payment for your new place. This requires you to have a decent amount of cash available. Not having this can make your entire trip worthless. Make sure to plan ahead and have this money ready to go!
Costs After the Big Move
Once you returned from your trip to scout the new area for jobs and housing, the next step is the big move. The costs of the actual move seem pretty obvious as I mentioned. The gas and fees associated with either hiring movers or renting a u-haul. However, the costs of relocating do not stop there. After the move, you are still faced with lots of expenses. Here’s what you can expect:
- New Furnishings: You may be able to take a lot of your furniture from your old apartment, but living in a new apartment or home requires that you buy different items to make if feel like home. If you are starting from scratch (maybe just out of college), your expenses will be higher, but you can be creative. I was able to furnish my apartment for $600 when I got my first place after college.
- Dining Out: Moving in doesn’t stop when the u-haul arrives at the new place. Unpacking takes days or even weeks if you have other things to do at the same time. This effort to unpack often takes most of your free time. One of the easiest ways to make up on time is to eat out. Eating out certainly takes its toll on your budget though. If you’re not careful, this can add up fast!
Understanding the hidden costs that will come in your next move is the first step to avoid them. Don’t let the hidden costs sneak up on you and force you into a difficult financial position.
What are some ways you have kept your moving expenses to a minimum?