“The earlier you plan your move, the less stressful and expensive it will be,” says Ali Wenzke, cofounder of the blog The Art of Happy Moving, which provides moving tips and how-to advice. With an early start, you’ll have time to sell or donate items you don’t need, which can help reduce transportation costs.
If you know you’re moving a few months ahead of time, start collecting boxes. “Most people don’t realize moving supplies can add up to several hundred dollars,” says Carrigan. Pick up free boxes from local businesses or search sites such as Craigslist and NextDoor for offers.
Research your options
Whether you hire professional movers or rent a truck and move yourself, transporting your belongings is the biggest moving expense you’ll face. As you consider your choices from how you’ll get your items from point A to point B, ask yourself the following:
- How much space will I need?
- Will I need storage at either location?
- Do I have items that require special handling?
- Am I shipping or driving my cars?
- By when do I need everything delivered?
- Do I have available parking at both locations?
- Can I pack myself or do I need help?
If you need temporary storage while you house-hunt, Carrigan says you may be able to save money by renting a portable storage container from companies like Pods or Smartbox.
Whether you hire a transport-only company or professional movers, get at least three estimates to compare price and services. Balance those numbers with company reputation and customer service.
Don’t rely on Internet-based quotes, which are often inaccurate, and be wary of websites that provide quotes from multiple movers, which Carrigan says are “notorious for selling your information.”
Save your receipts
If your employer won’t cover relocation expenses, you may be able to deduct moving costs from your income taxes. You may also receive a deduction for items donated to charity.
Meet with your tax advisor before you move to determine what’s tax-deductible, and keep all your receipts for documentation purposes.
It’s unlikely moving will ever top your list of fun things to do. But with careful planning and research, you can make the relocation process as affordable and stress-free as possible, so you’ll be relaxed, rested, and focused when you start your new job.