Of the 35 million people who move each year, it’s estimated some 80% of those moves happen during the sweet summer months. If you’re one of the 28 million individuals moving this summer, you probably already have a lot on your plate: finding boxes, packing, scheduling movers, all while trying not to die in the heat.
You already know moving is both incredibly stressful and expensive, but there’s also a few very important financial to do’s to remember during a move too.
Swap your utilities; then double check
I write this advice from experience: during a hasty move in college I accidentally left a bill unpaid and eventually it went into collections (and onto my credit report.) I didn’t find out about the bill until nearly two years later when my first post-college employer ran a background and credit check on me.
The $70 I’d left unpaid turned into $340 after two years and left a derogatory mark on my credit.
The good news: it’s fairly easy now to transfer utility services if you’re moving within the same city, but if you’re moving out of state, or stopping connection altogether, I recommend keeping an excel file or Google Doc handy of every utility provider. Then, once you get the final bill or disconnection notice, track it in your spreadsheet.
If you don’t get a notice from a provider, be sure to follow up. With my old college internet bill, the final notice didn’t make it to my forwarding address. I was 20 years old and didn’t think about it, so I didn’t follow up.
A little more careful planning on my part could’ve prevented the financial misstep.
Buyers and Renters: Don’t forget to factor into your budget that many new service providers (especially if you’re moving to another city or state) may charge one-time “connection fees” to establish service.
Budget for incidentals
It’s easy to think of items you’ll need to buy during a move: packing supplies (like boxes, tissue, and tape), movers to get your stuff from “Point A” to “Point B”, and pizza for the friends who come over to help.
But the tricky thing about moving is there are a bunch of unexpected costs you may not consider: new toilet bowl brushes, for example. Who wants to move those?
Or, if you’re going to be in the car for a long time on a hot summer day, those cold items in your old fridge may go to waste before they can make it into the new one.
They’re little things, but they do add up. Below are a few of the more important items to remember when building out a moving budget:
- For home buyers: $2-$400 for a home inspection, $2-$400 for an appraisal, Survey fees (if applicable) and more
- For renters: Service providers (Cleaners, handymen, or painters to get old place into “turn-key” shape), money for credit and background check of new rental (if applicable)
- For both: Tipping the movers, pet care for the day (if moving locally), condiments and cold kitchen items
This tip isn’t about your moving budget, but more about your long-term financial health and data security.
Mail forwarding through USPS only costs $1.00 and it is so, so important. Especially in today’s era when a new identity is stolen every two seconds. Mail seems so small and unimportant, but you really don’t want a stranger accessing your bank or credit card information.
It’s better to log in and update your address directly with the company, but to buy you some time, set up mail forwarding.
Buyers and Renters: You never know who is going to move into a property after you, and they may not be as honest as you’d like them to be. Take precautions to secure your important information.
Don’t forget the security deposit (or the closing costs)
Everyone knows to rent an apartment you’ll have to provide some type of security deposit, but it’s highly likely you won’t get your security deposit back before putting down a deposit on your next home.
This means you’ll need to have enough of a rainy day fund squirreled away to float the security deposit on your new place without the aid of that hefty check from your last landlord.
For home buyers, many know they’ll need to bring money to the table at closing, but many are surprised by just how much they’ll really need. Closing costs vary by lender and by state, so a good rule is to take your home’s purchase price and factor in 2-5% in cash for closing. It’s a lot, but preparing for this expense ahead of time is always the best option.
While moving is a stressful (and often expensive) endeavor, it’s worth it. Whether you’re upgrading a rental, moving somewhere new and less expensive to better accomplish financial goals, or getting the keys to your first place, you won’t remember next year how much it cost or how much of a headache it was. You’ll just be in love with your new place.
Still, it’s best to over prepare. After all, you can use any leftover money for more pizza.