The One Day That It's Cheaper to Relocate

NEW YORK (MainStreet) – Keri Madonna has moved every year for the past 12 years first for college and subsequently for jobs in Miami, Westchester and upstate New York.

"The moving process itself is emotionally draining, because when you move out of one place, you leave behind memories," the 29-year-old Madonna told MainStreet. "I've moved myself. I've moved across state lines. A man with a van has assisted me, my father and friends have helped me, but this time around I hired a moving company."

In August, the communications specialist paid a moving company a flat rate of $500 to move her bedroom belongings from Manhattan to Hoboken, where her boyfriend was waiting in their new apartment.

"It is an expense that was worth it, because as you age, you accumulate more and more stuff," Madonna said. "I don't have just a bathroom basket and a trunk of clothes anymore. I have an overwhelming amount of stuff that's not going to fit into the back of my car or a U-haul."

Madonna 's experience is typical of the average American that moves an estimated 12 times in his or her lifetime, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

"The most frequent movers are typically in their 20s and 30s. Graduating from college, moving to a new city for work, moving to a better, bigger home as they advance in their careers, getting into a serious relationship, getting married and having a baby are all events that inspire a relocation, said Sharone Ben-Harosh, founder of FlatRate Moving. "In urban areas, you may see even far more movement as rental markets can dictate the ebb and flow of many renters."

Although moving yourself appears easy to do in theory, hard costs like fuel, labor, tolls, materials and manpower make up financial costs that young movers expect.

"Do-it-yourselfers often overlook all the costs associated with renting a truck, such as gas, mileage and hourly charges, along with the time value of having to manage all the details without the expertise to do so efficiently," Ben-Harosh told MainStreet.

To lower moving costs, consider the tips below:

  • 1. Move on off peak days, such as the eighth day of the month or a weekday, when far less people are moving in or out. Because most apartment leases are signed on the 1st or 15th of the month, peak days are generally considered the first, last and middle day of the month, such as on or around the 15th. "People are more likely to move on a weekend so they don't have to take time off work," said Ben-Harosh.
  • 2. Pick up used boxes at local grocery stores
  • 3. The packing of items in furniture is a feature that many consumers don't think of when determining whether to pay their mover for packing services. Asking your mover if they have these services may save you some time or money instead of doing it yourself or paying for a full packing service.
  • 4. Don't overlook building fees for elevators or dedicated services, parking tickets and tolls and even personal transportation costs when determining the full cost of a move.
  • 5. Create a relocation budget that includes the hidden costs of replacing broken items when accidents happen.
  • 6. When paying an hourly moving rate, underestimating the time required to complete a relocation could cause the final bill to be higher than expected.
  • 7. Ask the moving company whether it offers repeat customers cash back incentives.

--Written by Juliette Fairley for MainStreet

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