Moving? Manage Expenses from Borrowing Boxes to Personal Loans



The word itself emits stress. And though it may be sitting up there above, alone, moving itself isn’t a singular act; with it comes packing memories into boxes, wiping down once lived-in walls, saying tough goodbyes and potentially leaving a career.

On top of moving’s emotional toil, however, sits a monetary one. When it comes down to it, moving is expensive: The costs of packing supplies and renting vehicles—not to mention possibly selling your house and putting a mortgage [] down on a new one—can quickly stack up.

Yet if your time is more valuable than money, then hiring moving professionals to box up and haul out your belongings is your best choice to ensure a well-managed move. A moving team will show up as a unit, have the proper equipment and work efficiently. They are professionals, after all.

If you’re working with a tight budget, however, and can’t afford to pay a costly moving crew, it’s up to you to balance the costs of packing, renting equipment and physically moving your possessions. Thankfully, preparing for a move ahead of time can easily alleviate these financial stressors, which in turn can morph moving into a smooth transition period.

Here are a number of ways to cut down on—and keep track of—moving costs. Why not use this new chapter of your life as motivation to better manage expenses?

o   If you’re working with a budget where every penny counts, then don’t buy boxes. Ask your friends if they have any from their previous moves, or go to a nearby grocery store and see if they have any leftover boxes from recent shipments.

o   Use packing as a motivator to get rid of possessions you’ve neglected for some time or know you won’t need at your new location. It’s easier than ever to sell belongings thanks to sites like craigslist and eBay, and of course, there’s always the good old-fashioned garage sale. Or, if you prefer, you can donate items to nonprofit thrift stores like Goodwill and claim a tax deduction in the process. Just remember: It can be cheaper to buy new possessions than to ship old ones.

o   If you find yourself with fewer items to pack than you originally thought, and your move is more than a few states away, shipping possessions via USPS may prove to be your cheapest option.

o   Though you might feel less comfortable driving a large rental truck, gas expenses for short distance moves can quickly add up. Be sure to rent the correct size of moving vehicle that will allow you to move your possessions in the fewest trips possible.

o   Moving on weekdays, during the middle of a month or during the moving offseason (October – April) will allow you to rent moving equipment at a cheaper-than-normal price.

o   Packing costs and equipment rental charges can add up, but they pale in comparison to the costs associated with selling or buying a home. As a general rule of thumb, it’s good to initially rent your new home—especially if you have yet to sell your old one, or you’re selling it at a loss.

o   Beware of the additional costs that come with selling your home or renting a new one, like security deposits, closing fees and real estate commissions. Be sure to set aside funds for these charges, as well as the time it will take you to search for a new home.

o   If you don’t have funds saved up for relocating, take out a small personal loan. This is a safer financial decision than using a credit card, especially if the loan can’t be paid off right away. For example, our personal loan rate at DCCU is 9.80% APR*, which is much lower than most credit card interest rates.

o   If you’re relocating for work purposes, try and get your company to pay for your move. Your employer can either offer you a lump sum to cover moving expenses, or they can pay a moving company directly.

o   If your company does pay your moving bill, you can no longer deduct those relocation expenses on your taxes, unless you have expenses that you weren’t reimbursed for…so remember to save those receipts!

Moving can be a stressful time, especially if it involves a career change, and if money is tight. But, as detailed above, there are simple ways to cut down on moving expenses, which in turn may ease your emotional stress. And though moving marks a definitive end to one of life’s chapters, don’t forget that it also marks the beginning of a new one.

If you’re moving away from the Madison area, we’re sad to see you go but the good news is that you can still keep and use your DCCU account no matter where you live. On the other hand, if you’re new to the region, we’d like to offer you a hearty welcome! No matter where you move, your relocation adventure is an important time to closely manage all the unfamiliar expenses.


*APR is annual percentage rate.


Published by

Tom S.

Tom is a 2006 graduate of UW Madison, currently residing in Verona with his wife and 2 girls. He has been passionate about writing ever since he was 15 years old, and displays that same enthusiasm in his work today. When he’s not sharing insightful financial wisdom, you can find Tom chilling on the Union Terrace, enjoying craft beer at the Great Dane, or hiking at Governor Nelson State Park. In the Fall he loves to take his family to Badger Football games!