As we wrap up the summer there are several trends and general stories that usually come to mind. Back to school shopping, the beginning of a new college year, the big business of football, and the onslaught of fall-related events tend to attract and retain our collective focus as the calendar flips from August to September.
There's an important story, from a personal finance perspective, that's lurking just below the radar this time of year: just how expensive moving can really be. You might not think moving is something you have to worry about right now, and you might be right, but you and I both know that moving is an inevitable part of life. So, let's focus on the big business -- not even including potential tax deductions -- of moving.
In fact, a high profile example of moving and relocation is currently underway.
That is right, we're talking about the start of college, and the start of jobs for students fortunate enough to lock up employment opportunities beginning after graduation. If you, or someone you know, is involved with this annual migration, you have first-hand knowledge of just how much it can end up costing individuals and their families.
Moving, however, is not something that only applies to college aged adults, or people relocating for work at the beginning of their careers -- this is an issue for individuals, entrepreneurs, and small business owners. Moving and relocating can open doors to new opportunities, new people, and new adventures, but it can also add up very quickly to an expensive activity. You may relocate your business to take advantage of tax credits or different customer bases, or you may move as an individual for any number of reasons.
Let's take a look at some suggestions and ideas to help keep those moving costs in check and under control:
1. Make a moving budget.
I know, the last thing you probably want to be thinking about as you're getting ready to move is putting together a budget. Moving already involved juggling a host of hookups, disconnections, and other issues, but putting together a moving plan and budget can really help keep you on track as things get frenetic during the moving process.
2. Use technology.
Having to haul boxes and boxes of stuff can test the strength of any friendship, even if you do order some pizza afterwards, so why not use technology to help gets yourself some additional muscle? TaskRabbit is certainly a high profile option, and any home improvement or services app should be able to help put you in touch with movers that are insured and experienced.
3. Plan ahead.
With any large project or idea there are always unexpected costs that pop up along the way. Just like you would not purchase a home without any extra cushion built into your budget, you should always make sure that your moving budget contains some wiggle room in case you hit some unexpected bumps in the road along the way.
4. Sell what you don't want.
Just because you liked that piece of furniture, or table lamp, or expensive coffee make when you bought it does not mean that you will still like it as you are preparing to move. Moving is a great opportunity to see if you can sell, or donate, some of your unwanted possessions. Even better, depending on what prices you can fetch for some of your unwanted items, you can help offset some of those pesky unexpected costs.
5. Document and backup.
Moving is always a relatively messy process, no matter how well it's initially planned out, so make sure that you document what paperwork you are taking, where that paperwork is, and make photocopies if all you have are originals. Additionally, go through your rooms and jot down what you have -- even incidental items like laundry hampers and toilet brushes can add up quickly if you are buying everything new in your new place.
We all realize that moving is a part of life, and that it's usually a stressful period for all those involved -- but that doesn't mean it has to blow a hole in your budget. Whether you're helping someone move for college, have a colleague or relative that is moving for work, or are thinking of moving yourself, you can keep your budget intact.