Moving day takes months of preparation. There’s the mental preparation of getting ready and not stressing out too drastically, along with the physical preparation of cleaning, packing and organizing. Not to forget the debatably most important preparation – financial. Being financially prepared for a move is absolutely crucial, and this begins with a well-planned budget.
There are several options available for use online when it comes to budget services. There are even applications you can download on your phone for easy “one-tap” editing. However, the easiest and most organized way to keep track of a large budget is through good old-fashioned Excel. Not too savvy when it comes to this number crunching software? Look up a tutorial online for how to make a budget with excel. DigitalUnite offers a great step-by-step break down for a basic budget that you can tailor to moving. The Excel software has incredible potential and a large variety of options to make your budget calculated, defined, and easy to read.
Once you have locked down a program and figured out (roughly) how to use it, the next step requires some decision making. The first major decision has to do with how you’re going to move. Check out our article on whether you should hire professional movers, moving pods, or move yourself; which includes pros and cons with each. Once you have decided which option best fits your situation, it’s time to do a little research. Figure out how much the service you have chosen costs, and what your personal costs are going to be as well. For example, if you are hiring professionals, you’re still going to need to factor in the price of boxes, tape, and markers, and gas for your car on moving day.
In order to reduce some costs, take a look at our previous article on the IRS and see if you qualify for any reductions. In addition, you should ask moving companies what kind of deductions they offer, especially when you choose one. Odds are there may be deals you aren’t aware of until you ask.
When it comes to hiring outside sources like professional movers or portable storage units, fees are a huge factor many people tend to overlook. Often times, there are many hidden costs when it comes to hiring professionals, which can include things like accessorial fees or appliance service fees. While you are gathering different estimates from companies, ask these questions up front about where they tack on extra charges and how much those are. You don’t want to be given an estimate, enter it in your budge, then receive the receipt at the end of your move for a much larger amount due to those extra fees.
Add a cushion for safety:
Although you may have put ample amounts of time and energy into your budget and are feeling pretty confident that it is going to remain accurate throughout your move, you should always leave a small amount of wiggle room. Before you ‘Save’ and ‘Close,’ add a 5% increase on to your final expenses to ensure you plan for any unexpected costs. If you only budget exactly what you anticipate on spending, you may find yourself in a tough situation if anything comes up where you many need to spend a little extra. If you give yourself more than enough money, even just 5%, you are preparing for anything that might have otherwise thrown you for a loop.
There are several resources online that will help you think of additional costs to factor in to your budget. Also, if you know anyone that has moved recently, don’t be afraid to reach out and ask them, “what was one cost you wish you would have prepared for better before your move?” Asking someone with experience will give you an even more accurate answer than anything you find online. Continue to check back as we give more advice on how to best prepare for your move and how to get ahead in the planning process!