6 Techniques for a Great Move When Time and Cash are Short
Not everyone has the luxury of planning for months and moving under the best of circumstances. For many people, packing up and moving on happens quickly and when cash is a little on the lean side. Fortunately, you don’t have to shove half of your belongings into the trunk of your car and leave the other half behind in order to save time and money.
Things to remember up front: An expense isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes spending money saves more in the long run. And cheap isn’t always the best approach. Saving money in one area could cost you in other ways.
Here’s how to get it together and move to your new home, even if you’re strapped for cash and time is of the essence.
#1: Get Rid of Everything That You Don’t Need
Decluttering is a job that you can take on first thing, long before you have any idea about who will move you. So while you’re making those decisions, you can stay busy and make real progress toward a great move that doesn’t cost you dearly.
Whether you choose to hire a moving company or pack and move everything on your own, the less you take the less it will probably cost. You’ll need fewer boxes, which can be expensive. Movers who charge by volume will probably give you a better rate. And if you move yourself, less weight means less fuel to haul it.
Start at one end of your home and work your way through. Sort out items that should be trashed and those that can be donated to family, friends or a charity. A good rule of thumb is to trash what’s broken or damaged. Nobody wants someone else’s unusable hand-me-down.
#2: Source Free Packing Boxes and Supplies
For such humble things, packing boxes can be downright expensive. The same goes for foam peanuts, bubble wrap and packing tape. But you can probably find some of those items for free if you know where to look.
Liquor stores are famous for their super-sturdy boxes. They’re not especially large, but they’re thick, rigid and made to protect fragile glass bottles in transit. And they’re ideal for fragile items, including kitchen glassware. Most liquor stores give away boxes at no charge, but you might have to check with them on a certain day. After a shipment is received, many boxes are quickly snapped up and others are crushed for recycling. While you’re at it, check with grocery stores and other shops.
You don’t need brand new padding, either. Electronics stores sometimes have bubble wrap and peanuts that will otherwise go into the dumpster. Look around your house, too. Everything from clothing, sheets and bath towels to magazines and newspapers can be used as padding inside boxes.
#3: Ask Friends to Help
It’s a longstanding joke that everyone you know will inherently have plans on the day that you need help moving. If your moving date changes, they’ll probably have plans then, too. But you can improve the odds of getting help by offering something valuable in return. Pizza and beer don’t always cut it since they can have that at home without the sore and aching muscles.
Offer to help them in return once the move is over, at least if you’ll still live nearby. Maybe they don’t plan to move, but they might appreciate a helping hand with yard work or some other project.
You might also host a big party or barbecue as a “thank you.” If you’ll move away, have the party beforehand. If you’ll stay in the same area, think of the party as equal parts gratitude and housewarming.
#4: Give Serious Thought to Hiring Movers
Some professional movers can be pricey, but sometimes it pays to step back and look at the bigger picture. When you go with a pro, you won’t risk hurting your back. You won’t have to ask friends for help, and everything will be done right.
Also, renting a DIY moving truck isn’t exactly cheap. Once you pay for the rental plus fuel, and then factor in the inconvenience of moving yourself, you might not save much money at all. And you’ll definitely not save time.
In fact, time and care are two of the biggest benefits of hiring pros. If you damage anything, you’re stuck with replacing it. If they damage anything, you’ll get reimbursement. And while they’re loading up the truck, you can find other ways to spend your time.
#5: Compare Several Movers Instead of Going With the First One
If time is short, you might be tempted to skip your due diligence and hire a mover almost sight unseen. That can turn into a costly mistake. At the very least, talk with three reputable movers and compare rates.
Always compare apples to apples when you evaluate a quote. One mover might offer you a great quote that doesn’t include the cost of offloading at the destination. That’s a real possibility. And another might charge extra for stairs or heavy furnishings.
Never get a quote over the phone. The most reputable movers can give you a general, non-binding estimate over the phone. But for the final quote, they will need to visit your home to see the property, any obstacles to be accounted for and all of your belongings.
#6: Get Some Financial Help
Believe it or not, some moves qualify for a boost from government or employers . If you’re relocating for a new job, you might fit the criteria. You won’t get the money up front, but it can come in handy as a tax deduction on April 15, says Bank rate. They also suggest asking your employer for some help.
Excellent receipt and record keeping is a must when you opt in for a tax break. You might not need to provide the original receipts and documents at tax time. But you will if you’re audited in the future.
Talk with a tax adviser or an accountant before depending on a tax break. If you’re only moving a short distance, it might not be worth the trouble. But if it’s an expensive, long-distance move, you could get a tidy sum credited back.
#7: Take a Minute to Chill
Moving is a serious stress inducer. When you’re short on time and cash, the effect is amplified. You need a break, even if time is of the essence.
Although stepping away from the work of moving seems like a counterproductive endeavor, it can actually help the whole process. Less stress means fewer mistakes, bad decisions and poorly packed items. When you come back refreshed, you’ll likely be more productive.
So if your nerves are shot, try some of these de-stressing tactics recommended by Huffington Post:
- Play some music
- Turn off your phone
- Eat a banana (potassium helps regulate blood pressure)
- Break away and work on a project (knitting is a great one, and so is journaling)
Many people find themselves in the middle of an unexpected move with few resources and even less time. Unless you only own a suitcase worth of clothes and not much else to speak of, moving isn’t cheap. But you don’t have to break the bank. You can trim down on the financial and time costs with a little focus in the right direction.