Moving into a new place can be an exciting, stressful, and expensive time. There are movers to hire, apartments to scout, and belongings to pack. Whether you're moving into your first apartment, looking for a new place to call home, or are a budget-conscious student dreaming of your own study space, try these cost-cutting tips to help your next move go smoothly.
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1. Make a packing checklist and download a moving planner. Being prepared is money in the bank when it comes to moving. Planning ahead by hiring movers with references, booking a move date, buying or finding the right packing supplies, and contacting utility companies to switch over services can save you hundreds in last minute fees, and ease stress on move day. To help you avoid all the last-minute gotchas, download this free Printable Moving Checklist and Planner to help you stay on schedule and identify your moving tasks on a single master list.
2. Purchase and pack only the essentials. Moving into a new place presents a great opportunity to downsize, declutter, and sell the stuff you no longer need. Why pay to move all that clothing if you don't wear it anymore?
If you're moving into your first place, knowing what you need to pack or purchase can be daunting -- especially if you seemingly need everything from a sofa to a sauce pan. This handy Printable First Apartment Essentials Checklist will help you identify things to buy before your move. If you're off to college, try the Printable Dorm Room Essentials Checklist to get you to school in style and on a budget.
3. Create a home inventory. Once you've cut through the clutter and downsized your stuff, get super organized by creating a home inventory while you pack. Knowing what you packed is key to making a claim if anything goes missing during the move. Having a detailed list of your possessions can also help to determine how much renter's or homeowner's insurance coverage you'll need in your new place. Besides, having a home inventory can strengthen and establish an insurance claim in case of fire, robbery, or natural disaster long after your move. Try this booklet of 15 Free Printable Home Inventory Worksheets to account for your belongings.
4. Rent less apartment. One of the easiest ways to cut costs on your next place is to rent less apartment. Renters have many housing options, including: condos, high-rise and low-rise apartments, houses, and single-room rentals. As a general rule, apartments on lower-level floors cost less to rent than units on the upper levels, and places with fewer rooms or less square footage are big money savers too.
So on your next hunt for the perfect place, skip the room with a view and the spare bedroom you'll never use, and find a place with less space to save hundreds of dollars a month on rent alone. Renting a smaller space also has the added advantage of reducing your energy costs and requires fewer furnishings.
5. Add up utility costs before moving. Rent is a given expense you can budget for on a monthly and yearly basis, but consider the real costs of your monthly utilities before moving into your dream apartment. Asking a neighboring or previous tenant about their average bills may be a real eye-opener that can help you budget for -- or steer clear from -- added expenses. Also, be sure to calculate all services charges for connecting your phone, television, and heating before your move since these additional fees can bust your budget when the bills arrive next month.
6. Rent a place with essentials included. If amenities like laundry and parking are expensive extras in your city, then you may be better off renting a unit where these essentials are included in your rent. Some apartments even include heating and cable in the total tab, saving you from paying additional bills. Rentals with on-site coin-free laundry can save you at least $20 a month, and the convenience factor of not having to search for change to get your undies clean is priceless.
Kerry K. Taylor writes at Squawkfox.com, a blog where personal finance and frugal living are sexy, delicious, and fun. Kerry is the author of 397 Ways To Save Money: Spend Smarter & Live Well on Less.