Friday, March 27, 2015

Tips for dealing with hidden moving costs

My family relocates frequently because of my husband's job. Hidden moving costs used to catch us off guard. Not anymore. We have always successfully budgeted for the rental truck and other big expenses. Now, we have learned how to spot the hidden moving costs and cut them off at the pass. The unexpected expenses no longer have a coke hold on my moving budget.

Here are some tips that my help. The first is to look at some of the hidden moving costs.

Boxes (Technically, these may not be a hidden expense, but there are ways to ease the financial pain.)
Packing materials
Meals out because you are too exhausted to cook
Vottled water and snacks
Extra babysitting
Increased gas expenses

Morguefile: EHensley
Here our our strategies for dealing with the  costs.

Reuse, don't buy new. Call stores and businesses ahead of time streamlines the process. Several places have held onto boxes for us and told us the best days to pick them up. One or two box sources can be all you need.

Soda and bottled water
Snacks and drinks from convenience stores and drive-thrus are expensive. Save a bundle by buying canned or bottled drinks from the grocery store. Put a sandwich in an insulated lunch bag with a frozen bottle of water, and you've got a lunch that will stay cold for a few hours. Fill a cooler with ice, sodas and bottled water on moving day. It's more convenient and  you'll save money.

Say Yes! to friends
One way to avoid hidden moving costs is to say yes to friends. Extra hands on moving day can mean hiring fewer movers. Plus, we've found that friends pack breakables better than a moving company.

Think ahead
Did you know that dishes can be packed between layers of styrofoam or paper plates? A friend told me about this years ago. My dishes have always arrived safely and I had disposables for our first few dinners at the new place. Some costs are worth it.

Packing materials
The hidden moving cost of packing material can break the bank. Ask friends to save newspapers, check groups like Freecycle or Craigslist. Use prudence when picking up from strangers.

Exchange child care if you can. Ask a friend to watch the kids after school and take the day to get some packing done. Bring in the grandparents or great aunt, borrow a teenager that you trust and/or ask a trusted parent to allow your child to spend the night. As a last resort, pay a teenager to take the kids to the movies. Be prepared to buy tickets, popcorn and dinner if you choose the movie option.

Gas costs
Hopefully you'll have a few weeks' notice before you have to move.  Start sticking a few dollars into a jar on the day that you find out that you are moving. Continue doing so for as long as you can. Use it for extra gas or other expenses. If your grocery store offers fuel points, save them to use for moving week (just be sure that they don't expire first).

Traditional moving expenses
Use the right size of truck for your needs. Extra space in a large truck can cause items to shift. Getting the right size can help you save money in both the truck cost and unbroken items.

Always ask about any discounts or deals. We have gotten good prices by moving during the week, or during certain times of the year. Check for online coupons. But, above all, ask.

I hope these tips for dealing with hidden moving costs will help. Do you have other ideas? Please leave them in the comments section below.