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Moving can be scary. There are so many factors to consider — finding a job, leasing an apartment, the costs of moving your stuff, etc. — and the expenses quickly add up. My girlfriend and I moved from Washington, DC to San Francisco last week and I got a crash course in Moving Expenses 101. I’m lucky that my girlfriend is a meticulous planner (because I probably would have missed … oh, just about everything) but if you’re thinking about moving, here are a few things you may need to add to your plate.

  • Finding (and getting rid of) an apartment: Most leases charge a penalty if you break your lease early, but many may be willing to negotiate other alternatives so it is worth checking with your landlord. We got lucky and were able to avoid paying a penalty as long as we found someone to sublease the remainder of our contract. Even more difficult is finding an apartment when moving across the country. Craigslist and local want ads can be helpful but be careful and make sure you understand your rights as a renter.
  • Utilities: Don’t forget to set termination dates for your electricity, gas, water, cable and Internet. Worst-case scenario: you forget to shut down your cable service and miss a payment. You don’t want to hurt your credit score by missing a payment for a service you aren’t even using. When setting up utilities for your new apartment, you may want to consider scheduling an automatic monthly payment.
  • Transportation: By far the biggest cost of moving is transportation of all of your junk from one place to the next. It can be a pain, but don’t shell out the extra bucks to hire professional movers if you don’t have room for it in your budget. Renting a truck and seeking the help of a few friends could save you hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars. Plan ahead and research all available moving companies. A truck is a truck; so find the lowest cost available to you.
  • Set aside money for emergencies: Moving is stressful and, inevitably, something will go wrong. A new job may not work out. Your dog may destroy the carpet just days before moving out. It’s important to plan for emergencies by setting aside a little money every month. Hopefully you will never need it but this Emergency Fund calculator can get you started with preparations.

With the proper budgeting and planning, the moving process can be much less stressful. By planning ahead, you can guarantee you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy the opportunities that your new home has in store for you. For more help budgeting and a downloadable budgeting worksheet, click here.

by JohnH

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