My family recently bought our first home. While we have moved several times before, this time seemed more stressful than times in the past. Between the packing, hiring movers, getting rid of old things, buying new furniture and housewares, setting up deliveries and utilities, the list of to-dos and potential stress points seem to continue to pile up. All of these tasks are necessary to get you set up in your new home, and I’m sure this is just a partial list.
Whether you’re moving across the street or across the country, what should you expect before, during, and after your move?
How might this affect your short- and medium- term financial health?
While knowing the rent or costs of ownership are important, how does getting set up in your new location affect your lifestyle?
You should consider these things when you decide to move, but below we take you through the moving process and share with you some of the pitfalls I encountered, and am still encountering, as it pertains to time, money, and stress.
Before Your Move
Whether you plan on paying movers or will do it yourself, you can start preparing to make your move easier. Do what my wife and I called, “The Purge.” Go through all your belongings. Ask yourself what you still use or need regularly. What about those t-shirts from that event you went to years ago? Or those broken-down computers? Or those old appliances or sporting equipment you don’t use anymore? If an item has outlived its use, sell it, donate it, recycle it, or toss it.
If you are able to sell it, great. If not, donating the items may be able to get you a tax deduction. Some furniture items that you choose to donate may need to be picked up. Arranging for a pick up may take a month or more, so give yourself plenty of time to find an organization to pick up these items.
Also, consider the space you are moving to. Where will the things you are taking with you go? Look at online room planners to try different furniture configurations. This will also help you determine what furniture you may need to get rid of and what pieces you may need to purchase.
What, if any, renovations do you need to make to complete your home? If so, can you live there while you make them? If not, what will you do for short-term housing? Have you included those costs in your renovation budget? Even small renovations can be expensive in and of themselves, but when you include that you may need to carry two homes or stay in a hotel for a few weeks, the costs may become prohibitive. Include extra money in your budget for delays or overruns.
During Your Move
The move itself can also have varying costs. You can choose to move yourself, have a moving company take the lead while packing yourself, or you can have the movers pack for you. Each of these options has its own considerations to take into account in your budget that you may not have considered in your planning.
If you are moving yourself, how many boxes, rolls of packing tape; how much bubble wrap, and tissue or newspaper will you need to use to safely move all your things? How much will these supplies cost? How much time and energy will it take to get everything in boxes so that you are ready to make the actual move and vacate your current premises? Make sure you include these in the budget for this option.
If you choose to hire movers, ask what insurance coverage they have in case of damage to your old property, new property, or your belongings. Check your homeowner’s and renter’s insurance to see how those might cover these issues as well. You also need to consider the amount of time you have to allocate to your move, such as taking your items out of your old home, travel time, and moving them to your new home. Will the movers you hire charge you for time sitting in traffic? When does overtime kick in?
Finally, some moving companies offer a third option, where they will actually pack everything up (and perhaps even unpack) for you. How much extra does this service cost? Is that cost worth your time and energy? Additionally, many moving teams will also ask for a gratuity following the move, up to 20% of the cost of the job. In my experience, the move itself can cost several thousand dollars depending on the services you ask for and the number of belongings you are moving. Your budget needs to be prepared for the explicit and unexpected expenses.
After Your Move
Invariably, something will happen. You will be missing something you need. Extra stuff that you thought you would need, you actually don’t. Your stuff won’t fit the way you thought. TVs and other furniture will need to be installed or replaced. You will want to add different touches to match the new décor.
Obviously, new rugs, TVs, furniture, and art cost money. After everything you’ve already spent, how much more will your budget be able to handle? If your budget is tight and your cash is limited, prioritize the updates and changes you need to make so that you don’t have to feel house poor. You can’t do it all on the first day.
It’s been three months since we moved. There are still uninstalled TVs, furniture that isn’t in the right place, boxes of books that need to be unpacked, and boxes of excess goods that haven’t been donated or discarded. Even several months from now, I think we will still be looking to hang pictures, change rugs, and perhaps get new furniture.
Not being completed with your move can also be stressful. For some people not being “finished” can be uncomfortable, but you have to make sure your budget can handle living and moving at the same time.
I hope this article will help your moving process go a bit better than mine in terms of time and stress. Thankfully, we were mostly prepared for the money part of it as we had budgeted for it in advance. If you need help with budgeting your move, your daily spending or planning for other financial objectives, you can set a consultation appointment here.