You’ve decided to move to another city, perhaps someplace with a lower cost-of-living.
Now comes the hard part: Deciding what to bring and what to leave behind. Packing boxes. Hiring movers. Renting trucks. Unloading and unpacking on the other side. Renting or buying a home in your new state. Finding a job, if needed.
How can you balance everything without losing your sanity? Here are a few tips.
#1: Start Early.
It’s tempting to postpone packing until a few weeks or days before the move. After all, you feel like you need the belongings in your home, right? How can you pack them away when you still live there?
But in reality, you’ll feel much better if you start packing months before the trip. Try packing one box per day, setting aside only 15 to 20 minutes a day to focus on packing a box. Start with the items that you don’t use often, like seasonal gear or memorabilia. Then move onto decor, games, wine glasses and other special-event items.
As you approach the last two weeks prior to the move, don’t hesitate to pack away the items that you use on a regular basis, such as towels, soap, pots and pans, forks, plates and glasses.
Leave out just one item – like one plate per person, one glass per person, etc. – for your personal use. Leave yourself just one flat pan for cooking. Accept the reality that you’ll be making very simple meals, and probably dining out a bit more then normal, in the weeks surrounding the move. That’s a normal part of the process.
#2: Budget Extra.
Moving comes with all types of added costs, from hiring trucks to movers to dining out more frequently. Several months before you need to move, start saving money into a ‘moving’ fund.
How much should you save? Conduct a little online research. Find out the cost for:
• Hiring a moving truck
• Hiring people to help you load and unload the truck
• Buying boxes, bubble wrap, tape and other packing materials
• Fuel for the truck
• The cost of approximately 10 meals from restaurants (even if it’s take-out or delivery)
• The cost of 10 visits to cafes and coffeeshops (since it’ll take some time for you to unpack your tea kettle, find your coffeemaker, etc.)
• Babysitting or nanny costs
• Pet-sitting or pet transport costs
• The cost of replacing items that break or get lost (roughly estimate perhaps one to two day’s wages for this)
• A “buffer” of an extra 10 percent.
Remember, this doesn’t cover the cost of new furniture, decor or appliances that you might want for your new home. This only covers moving-related costs.
#3: Open a Specific Savings Account
How can you save this money? Open a savings account that’s specifically earmarked for these moving-related expenses. If possible, “nickname” the account as a Moving Fund so that you can visualize the goal.
If your bank doesn’t allow you to open multiple savings accounts (or sub-savings accounts), then link your account to an online program like Mint.com that allows you to “nickname” each goal. This way, you can visualize your progress.
Start contributing a small amount of every paycheque. The earlier you start, the smaller of a sum you’ll need to set aside (since time is on your side.)
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