When the going gets tough the tough get going, and these days, it seems as though there's a lot of going… going on. It is no secret that the US economy is in a bit of a sticky spot, and the stickiness varies from state to state and even city to city. So all over the country, people have taken to relocating. People are relocating within their current companies; others are relocating for new job offers or opportunities in other areas; and still others are picking up their roots, simply to try their luck looking for a job in a new place.
Whatever the reason, moving is expensive, particularly if you're going long distance. Often times it comes down to furniture: Should you sell or donate it, and eliminate much of the cost of moving? Or is it worth the cost of moving it across country?
To answer this, we decided to do a bit of a cost comparison. In this infographic, we compare the costs of moving from Austin, Texas to L.A. and Austin to New York City with different moving scenarios.
Obviously each moving situation is unique. First of all, you're probably not moving from Austin to L.A. or New York (but a happy coincidence if you are!) and there are also tons of other factors to consider in a move. Will your company be paying for any of the costs? If so, it might be worth it to bring along your favorite furniture. If not, it still might be worth it, but you’d need to make sure that your new job, whatever it may be, will pay enough to make up the cost of moving. (For a list of other things you might want to consider, take a look at the list at the end!)
In the end, we found that in moving to either city, it was really more economical to just get rid of as much stuff as possible in this hypothetical situation. And it was hypothetically cathartic too, of course!
You may not be going from Austin to New York or L.A., but this infographic is a great jumping off point if you're thinking about moving yourself.
IF YOU DECIDE TO SELL YOUR FURNITURE…
You'll still need to pack your clothes and smaller possessions. Let’s estimate it’s around 500 lbs.
So you can
1) Fly and check your bags up to the maximum amount (150 lbs), and then ship the rest. This shipping calculator can help you estimate the cost of shipping.
2) Fly or drive and ship all of your stuff, or
3) You can drive and pack your car to the gills
IF YOU DECIDE TO KEEP YOUR FURNITURE...
You have several options, some, where you drive your own stuff, and others where you don't. Let's assume you need to move 1 person and 2 rooms' worth of furniture. Some companies quote prices by space and others by weight. If you’re having trouble estimating the weight of your possessions, use this handy weight calculator.
1) You can rent a trailer and pull it behind your own car.
2) You can hire movers to haul your stuff for you, and either drive or fly to your destination.
3) You can rent a moving truck and make the drive yourself, or
4) You can rent a moveable storage unit and have a company move your stuff (this includes 1-month storage) and then either fly or drive to your destination.
CONCLUSIONS, based on these two hypothetical moves
- Moving to a high-density city, like New York, is more expensive than a city that has more accessible road transportation (like L.A.)
- Companies vary on prices, so it's important to price shop. One company might be cheaper for one city, but more expensive for another.
- It's much more expensive to hire movers, whether a unit or a truck, and about a third of the cost or less to rent a truck to drive.
- The fastest way to reduce moving costs is to move less stuff.
- Use reputable movers and pay for the insurance coverage. Not to sound like a downer or anything, but always assume the worst will happen to your stuff, because moving accidents are quite common. So prepare for the worst: theft, damage, and costs that exceed quotes. You can read reviews and avoid scams using MovingScam.com.
- Weight plays a bigger factor than distance when moving. If you don't need something, get rid of it! If you need to cut costs, get rid of stuff you don't need.
- If you're renting a moving truck, make sure you check tires! Many rental trucks are old and not maintained really well. Again, prepare yourself for the worst!
- Quotes are more expensive when your starting city has a higher cost of living. It will likely cost you more to move from New York to Austin than the other way around!
- Always keep your valuables on your person, in your car, in the cab of your truck, or in your carry-on. Do not let them out of sight.
- Using smaller moving companies may allow you some negotiating room (though be careful that the small company has a good reputation!) Negotiable prices are not a guarantee, but they're not unheard of. You might as well give it a shot!
- Because every moving experience is different (yet inherently the same) people have a lot of advice to share. Here are two really great and thorough discussion threads of people's cross-country moving experiences.
OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER
- Will your company pay for any of the relocation costs?
- How many people are you moving? Are you moving a family with lots of furniture? Upgrading a rental truck to accommodate a family of four plus a family car is nearly the same price as a single person with a car. More furniture and more people help justify the cost of professional movers.
- Do you have a job lined up when you get there? What's the likely increase in salary vs. the cost of moving? How long will it take you to make of the difference? Are you prepared for the lag? You might want to check out the difference in the cost of living in cities with this calculator.
- Where do you WANT to be? Great article on taking the big move here!
- Will you have to pay for storage at all? (Usually costs around $200 per month!)
- Do you have any big/unusual items that you will need to move? Find affordable movers for these items at UShip.com.
Are you relocating? Share with us how you are planning your move.
1. U-Haul (rental)
2. Penske (rental)
3. U-Pack (truck for hire)
4. ReloCube (units)
5. PODs (units)
6. Mayflower (truck for hire)
7. AA.com (flight and baggage quotes)
8. In calculating our costs we assumed: $3.50/gallon for gas; 20mpg efficiency; $80 for one night lodging. These may vary by location, date, and vehicle.
Natalie Grigson and Melissa Reese are bloggers for www.MangoMoney.com/blog, the official community for Mango Financial. MangoMoney is committed to educating and entertaining consumers on everything from living frugally to current economic events. Mango Financial, Inc. is an innovative consumer financial services company that seeks to empower underserved customers in the U.S. to achieve their financial goals. Mango offers services and products, such as their reloadable prepaid card, both in retail and online at www.MangoMoney.com.