Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Saving Money While Moving

My mother has offered to pay for movers for me. I have been trying really hard not to take money from her - as far as I am concerned she is one of my "last resorts" when it comes to this whole financial mess. In my opinion, borrowing from relatives is never a good idea, so I told her I am holding her as my "ace in the hole." If things get so bad that I am going under and the repo men are calling - I'll make sure to call her first.

Still, she wants to help. Her daughter is in trouble and naturally she wants to do something. I understand that, so I am trying to find a good compromise by picking specific things I need and can accept help with. Sometimes this works really well, other times she doesn't seem too excited about the idea - she was happy to help me out with getting a vacuum for the house, but not so excited about helping me with getting an ironing board. (Hey, I need one, my apartment is so small I've been using one of those rotten college dorm-sized ones. It is totally impractical and I want to throw it out the window - preferably at the guy who designed it!)

My mom is the one who came up with the idea of paying for movers for me. I had this elaborate plan that involved eight friends, four SUVs and a partridge in a pear tree. Mom put the kibosh on it and insisted on me just hiring movers to do the work; as she said, "You will be relying on your friends for a lot over the next year, let's save them (and their backs) for something else." I couldn't argue with her logic*, so I tried to graciously agree.

Still, that doesn't mean that I can't do this whole thing as frugally as possible. Master Your Card has an interesting article about Managing Your Credit Cards While Moving. There's some good tips in it that I plan on following. Here are some other things I am working on:

1. My goal is to move over most of my personal items myself or with the help of friends. Especially awkward things like clothes - then I will let the movers take care of the heavy things. This will save them time, and since they are getting paid by the hour, it will save me (ok, mom) money.

2. I am using boxes and old newspapers
given to me by friends and family to box everything up. Since I am moving literally .5 mile down the road, I am not sealing the boxes with tape. The only thing I have purchased for packing so far is a roll of trash bags ($4.99) because they are my favorite way to pack shoes, linens and folded clothes. (And I can reuse them later!)

3. Each day on my way to work I am going to drop off a few bags of stuff. It is on my route anyway, so that will hopefully save some back and forth trips later on - hence, saving gas.

4. After the move, I will be giving the place a good cleaning so I can be sure and get my security deposit back!

5. I am resisting the urge to give in to my "moving stress" and spend money. For example, this morning I actually thought to myself, "I don't want to make a lunch. I'll just buy something." What?!?! Where did that thought even come from??? Then I realized - it came from the fact my apartment is in a disarray and that is making me feel unmotivated. I also feel like I "deserve" to eat out because I am stressed. At the same time I knew the following: a) I had good food in the refrigerator, b) it was healthier than anything I could eat out, c) it was cheaper, and d) I knew that I wanted to eat down my food so I didn't have to move it! I blame this momentary lapse in judgment on the chaos of moving; it just seems "easier" to eat out and with so much going on, easier sounds good. But in fact, it took me about 2 minutes to whip up and bag a tasty lunch. These potential slips are things I am going to try and avoid.

6. I have already switched over utilities for the house and the apartment starting June 30th. By setting this all up in advance I hope to avoid any unexpected charges.

7. I am dropping off a change of address form to the post office today, again by acting early I am hoping to avoid important mail getting lost in the shuffle.

8. As I pack I am making eBay, garage sale and charity boxes. This is a great time to sort things out - I have the time to decide what I really want to keep and what I can get rid of.

Do you have any tips for keeping moving costs low? Let me know - I would love to hear them!

*Especially as mom's logic is essentially the same "I don't want to squander this great resource" logic I am using on her.

Photo by Adrian F

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