In the first five years of my career, I moved five times to chase increasingly better jobs—from Seattle, WA to Shawnee Mission, KS to Independence, MO to St. Louis, MO to Central California and on to Raleigh, North Carolina.

There. Now you have my bonafides for talking about how to move without going broke.

With realistic expectations and some planning, you, too, can move and fill out your new home without breaking the bank.

First, let’s look at the move itself.

Find boxes, don’t buy them. Everyone has boxes they’re trying to unload. I have a friend in the team sportswear business and he always has extra boxes. Ask other stores if they have ones they want to give away. You know where the empty paper boxes are at your office, I’m sure. Grab those. No need to pay the moving company for boxes. Just to give you an idea, U-Haul charges roughly $1 per small box on up to $13 for a wardrobe container. Pocket that cash for your “moving day, first meal in a new place” pizza and beer.

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Use a portable storage container. I rented one of these in North Carolina as I was downsizing. Had I just shoved everything in the container and had it shipped, it would have cost about $3000. Had I hired a moving company to do the same, it could have cost between $4,500-$5,700. (I used this calculator.) You will save money, but you’ll pack and unpack your container yourself.

Simplify. Moving five times taught me how much easier it is to move without a ton of stuff. Even today, my entire life, —save the bed, couch, TV and chairs—can fit in the back of my SUV. Even now, it’d only need a truck big enough to haul the furniture, clothes and a few boxes to get me from one coast to the other. It remains true because I am in a constant state of getting rid of things. The fewer things you keep, the less space you need on the moving truck. The less space you use, the cheaper the move. If you need to feel all chic and hip about your quest to have less, then, yes, try the KonMari method developed by Marie Kondo.

Now, let’s look at how to save money once you arrive.

Surf online. It will be tempting to buy, buy, buy everything new, new, new when you’re breathing in fresh paint. Smash that instinct by getting online. Let the search engine do the heavy lifting as you find great stuff and the best prices. For example, if you need a mattress, you’ve come along at the best time. The online mattress industry is booming. Competition is stiff and mattresses are more affordable and customizable than ever. Brands will even deliver them to your doorstep for free. You’ll want to learn what a good mattress should cost and when cheap is too cheap.

Take it room by room. Your mattress is a big purchase. You’ll want to manage all big purchases. Taking it step by step will give you time to save and find great deals on couches, chairs, etc. Take the time. Which item will I buy first, second, etc.? How much do I need to save? If your Uncle Manuel has to sit on a folding chair the first couple of times he visits for dinner, as you save for the diner chairs you love, so be it. Uncle Manuel is going to love you anyway.

Take pressure off yourself. You’ve just moved. You have a new job to master and new friends to make. Find a good pace for you and let ‘er rip!

Guest Post by Lisa Smalls

 

 

posted by Eric Rothman

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