The key to any move is planning. Essentially, long-distance moving involves three phases: packing and preparing, travel, and setting up your new home. For the packing phase, you will need to have an idea of your items that need to be moved. For the move, you either need to plan to move yourself, or choose a mover and make plans to get yourself and your family to your new home. Be sure to think about the things you will need to do post-move before you leave. This will prevent unforeseen costs when you unpack and settle in.
Start putting together a budget for all three stages of your move (packing and preparing, travel, and setting up your new home). Make two columns to track estimated expenses and actual expenses. That way, if one area is a lot more expensive than you thought, you can compensate by choosing a cheaper option in another area. Planning ahead for little things like travel costs, incidentals, and repairs will save you money in the long run.
When you are packing up your items, really ask yourself whether or not you have used that particular item in the past year, two years, or even five years. Try to sell, donate, or throw away as much as possible. If your couch won’t fit in your new living room, sell it. If you have parachute pants you haven’t worn in decades, donate them to charity. Hosting a garage sale or selling smaller items on Ebay (like purses, artwork, jewelry or sunglasses) can even help you to recoup some of your moving costs.
If you aren’t careful, the little things will pile up. Be sure to budget for little things like food, packing materials, and repairs for your new home. These could mean the difference between an affordable move and one that breaks the bank. Be extra careful of the last two weeks before your move date. Try to use all of the groceries in your refrigerator and freezer, so you aren’t wasting any food up until move time.
Many of your moving costs can be written off of your taxes. Be sure to check IRS Publication for details and keep a record of the costs that you incurred throughout the entire process of moving. Also, when you donate your items, be sure to take pictures of the items you are donating, make a list of the approximate depreciated value, and get a receipt. Use all of this at tax time to save money on your move.
If you choose a moving company, ensure that moving yourself and your family won’t break the bank. Check travel sites for cheap airfare, and compare this to driving or taking a train. Travel deals are out there, you just need to find them. If you are flying while your items are being moved to your new home.
Before you move, be sure to locate “essentials” in your new neighborhood. Know where the grocery store, drugstore and gas station are before you arrive to make your arrival smooth.