The following is a guest post by Jim Wang who is the founder and editor of Bargaineering.com
I don’t like moving… I don’t think anyone does. It usually takes hours, if not days, to pack up your things, only to have half of them break on the way to your new place. Then it another day or two to unpack and it costs a bundle! Moving trucks aren’t cheap, gas isn’t cheap, moving companies aren’t cheap… fortunately there are a few things you can do to lessen the financial hit of moving. Even if you do just a handful of these ideas, you’ll find that you will save enough to take the sting out of moving.
Employer Moving Benefits
Many employers, even in this economy, offer moving benefits for new hires. They recognize that moving is difficult enough, especially if you’re a new graduate, and you don’t need the added stress of trying to figure out how to pay for it too! Employer moving benefits come in two varieties:
- Pay for actual costs up to a dollar amount.
- Pay a flat amount to you.
When I moved from Pittsburgh to Baltimore, my employer paid the actual costs of the move. In those cases, take advantage of moving companies because they are absolutely incredible and worth every penny of your employer’s offer. The company came to my apartment, carefully packed up all of my belongings, moved them, and then stored it while I looked for an apartment. The cost to the company was around $2,000 and that was after their negotiated discounts! I may have saved hours of packing and moving, I didn’t have thousands of dollars to spend on a moving service.
If you are paid a flat amount, here are a few more tips on how you can save by moving yourself. You can take any extra money left over and treat yourself to something nice for your hard work. Or, stick it in a high yield savings account for a while.
Ways to Save Money on Moving
- Sell or donate to reduce your load – Getting rid of things you no longer need is absolutely crucial whenever you move.
- Bribe your friends to help – Sharing a case of beer and some pizzas is a great way to save on moving. This also requires you to help others when they ask for your help, so do your part to help out.
- Scour Craigslist for people giving away cardboard boxes, instead of buying them yourself.
- Rent a smaller truck and more frequent trips – People think of Ryder and UHaul when they want a large truck, but if you can manage in a few trips you can always rent a van from Enterprise or another car rental agency. The larger trucks charge by the mile, whereas the smaller ones may only charge by the day.
- If you’re moving cross-country, you will probably need to use a moving company to do the actual transportation of your possessions. I don’t recommend renting a moving truck and driving it cross-country. Reduce your load, as moving companies charge based on weight and distance and the Tariff 400-M, and you will go a long way to saving some cash.
- Shop around when it comes to moving companies, you can usually strike a good deal if you are willing to negotiate.
- If you use a moving company, save the heavy stuff for your own vehicle. Boxes of books, which take up little space and are quite heavy, are ideal for the back of your car. Also, be sure to check out the 10 things moving companies won’t say, it’ll educate you on the things a moving company might try to pull.
You may be eligible for tax breaks if your move was work-related and you pass the 50-mile distance test. The 50-mile distance test says that distance from your new job to your home has to be 50 miles greater than the distance from your old job to your home. So if you lived 5 miles away from your old job and your new job is 55+ miles away from your home, then your relocation passes the 50-mile distance test. You will need to deduct the moving expenses within a year of starting your new job and you have to work full-time at your new job for at least 39 weeks of the first 12 months, that’s to stop people from “changing jobs” just for the relocation benefit. If these things all apply to you, I recommend checking out this tax guide for moving expense deductions for more information.
Hopefully these tips in for moving will help you save some money and reduce your stress level. Moving is never fun but can give you an excuse to hold a garage sale of all the stuff you’ve accumulated over the years!
Check out more personal finance tips at bargaineering.com.