Moving always means money out of your pocket; moving is expensive and it doesn't usually increase your bank account unless you make a profit on a home sale or are moving because of a new job and better salary. Still, we move. And we swallow the amount it costs for the benefit it will bring; new start and hopefully, a better life.
Even though you have to spend money to move, there are things you shouldn't do to ensure that you don't blow your moving budget total - small things that will cost you more money than necessary.
What Not to Do
1. Book the Moving Company or Rental Truck at the Last MinuteMy recommendation is that you book your moving company at least six weeks in advance, allowing yourself time to do a thorough check on their service before signing the contract. Also, this gives you time to shop around and negotiate.
Securing a rental truck, while not as critical to book so far in advance, do become less available during the busy moving season (summer and sometimes Christmas, as well). The less time you have to book, the more likely it is that you'll have to take whatever is available, which might mean paying more money or having to take a larger truck than you previously wanted or needed. The rental cost plus fuel cost will add to your overall budget. Give yourself time to negotiate, too. Often you can ask the company for a deal or include extra moving tools such as a dolly or packing blankets, items that are usually rented out for a fee.
Of course, if you need to move within a short time span, you really have no choice in when you need to leave your home and often times which moving company or rental agent you'll use. Just keep in mind that even though time is of the essence, try to get at least three quotes for services so you have some choice.
2. Move During the SummerWhile many of us can't choose when we move, there are ways to ensure that your move avoids the busiest and costliest moving season - the summer months. First, if you have to move during the summer, especially for people with children and wish them to finish off the school year before moving, consider booking your move immediately following your child's last day.
If you have to move in the summer months, particularly in July, August and early September, try to at least book the move for a weekday which is usually less expensive and easier to find available services, this includes truck rentals, too. And depending how far you're moving, you may be able to have the company deliver your household goods on a weekday, too. Ask your mover about weekend drop fees.
As previously mentioned, if you do have to move in the summer, try to ensure that you book well in advance. If possible, try for at least 8-10 weeks. This will allow you some room to negotiate and will also ensure that you have more companies from which to choose. Plan early then make sure you follow up with the company, either the mover or rental agency, again at least a month before you move so you know everything is in place. Some moving companies will overbook in the summer months which can leave you waiting for the truck to arrive. This also applies to rental agencies as well.
3. Assume That the Moving Company or Rental Agent will Tell You About Additional FeesSome of us just assume that the price quoted is the final price of the service rendered. Sometimes it is and sometimes the moving company or rental agent has to tack on additional fees for services that they hadn't anticipated. Make sure you find out ahead of time what services might be needed.
With a moving company, they should ask you if your present home or new home has stairs they need to navigate (this is critical when it comes to high-rise apartments and condos), however, they won't know if you have adequate parking in front of your old or new home. And if you don't have enough parking space for the truck, the movers have to use another truck, transfer your things then deliver them to your home. Ask the movers what additional fees might apply.
In the case of a rental, you need to find out if mileage is included and just how many miles are covered. Also, the details of the insurance policy and whether you're completely covered. Find out before you book it so you know exactly what you're paying for.
4. Move Without a PlanWe've made some quick moves in the past, usually when one of us has a job offer that doesn't allow us much time to organize a full-scale move. Regardless of the time you have to move, you should always create a plan; not only will this help organize your move and eliminate stress, it will also help you save money. There's nothing more frustrating than realizing at the last minute that you need a specialty service to move an oversized item or that the moving company you thought you'd booked is now overbooked and you have to go with a more expensive, last-minute quote. No plans means more money will be spent on getting things done. If you're able to create a solid timeline that allows you to research and properly complete all the necessary tasks you have to do, there shouldn't be too much need to stretch your initial moving budget.
5. Shrug-off the Need for a Moving BudgetWhether you're moving across town or across the country, everyone should create and maintain a moving budget; this will keep you on track, remind you of what you're able to spend and ensure that you have enough money to cover all the needed expenses.
This is not to say that your budget won't need tweaking from time to time, however, it does mean that you have a solid understanding of where your money is going. This will help you in determining where your priorities are, where you can possibly save money or the areas that you feel require additional funds.
To obtain a copy of a moving budget template just email me. Note: the template was created for MS Excel 2003.