After working for years to receive a college degree it’s finally time for graduation. Receiving your degree is a relief and sense of accomplishment, but few graduates have time to reflect on their education – because now it ‘s time to use it!
For many college graduates, using their degree means relocating for a job or moving back home to get support from family while launching a career. Making a move without accumulating additional debt is a matter of finding ways to save on moving expenses as well as accurately calculating the associated costs. Here are a few tips to help you with the latter so unexpected expenses don’t blow your moving budget.
Do You Need a Moving Company?
One of the biggest expenses related to moving is hiring a company to help you pack up and transport everything. Budget conscious movers usually try to do it all on their own, but this may not be the most effective way to save.
There are three things to consider before deciding whether or not to hire a professional moving company: resources, time limitations and safety. If you don’t have a vehicle that’s capable of hauling all your worldly possessions you’re going to need help. If you’ve got to make a move quickly you might have to hire movers to get everything done by the deadline.
Safety is possibly the biggest concern. Every day people injure themselves while moving. Not only does it derail the moving process, it also costs a pretty penny depending on the injury that was sustained. Professional movers know what they’re doing, and they’re covered by worker’s comp.
If you do decide to use a moving company make sure to compare all of your options and request a firm quote that includes all of the services provided. Without locking in the rate it will be difficult to accurately calculate your expenses.
Don’t Forget About Small Supplies That Add Up
With any budget, the more detailed you are the more accurate it’s likely to be. Sure, you’ve probably already projected for things like moving truck fees and boxes, but what about packing tape?
Too often people fail to include small expenses in their budget thinking it’s not worth the time. All of the little extras add up over time. Small supplies that should be noted in your moving budget include:
- Packing Tape
- Sharpies for Labeling Boxes
- Packing Paper
- Bubble Wrap
- Bottled Water
- Specialty Boxes
- Plastic Sheeting
- Moving Blankets
Uprooting your life and relocating is no simple process. It requires a lot of work, which means you’ll need the right tools and supplies to get the job done. Anything that you don’t already own or can’t be borrowed will need to go under the itemized list of expenses.
Additional Fees That Aren’t So Obvious
Some fees are straightforward and obvious. Others are easy to forget about. Some of the related fees movers forget to include in the budget are:
- Storage Unit Charges
- Utility Setup
- Cancellation Fees
- Moving Insurance (or an Insurance Rider)
- Added Cost for Handling Bulky or Heavy Items
- Elevator Fees
- Long Carry Fees
- Charges for Extra Drop-Offs or Pick-Ups
Account for Gas Prices Throughout the Entire Trip
The gas needed to transport all of your stuff is another major expense of moving that people tend to miscalculate. If you’re moving to one of the popular college graduate cities, it could mean moving from one side of the country to the other. Getting an accurate estimate of the gas expenses means going a few steps further than calculating the total miles traveled and a vehicle’s MPG rating (although it’s a good start).
Once you’ve decided on a relocation route, determine how many times you’ll need to stop along the way to refuel. Next, figure out an approximate area where the gas stops will need to be made. You can then use an app like GasBuddy to find current gas prices just about anywhere in the U.S. This will allow you to calculate the cost based on local prices, which can vary dramatically. You may also find that stopping a little sooner or a few miles down the road will help you save a bundle on gasoline.
While you’re evaluating your route watch out for added expenses like toll roads. You’ll also need to account for hotel stays and meals while you’re on the road.
Factor in a Contingency
Anytime you’re budgeting it’s a good idea to factor in a contingency. A contingency is a percentage of the estimated costs that’s set aside for unexpected expenses. For example, if your original moving day gets rained out the contingency could help negate any added expenses caused by the delay.
Your contingency should be at least 10% of the total estimated costs, but factoring in 20% is often recommended.
Robert Farrington is America’s Millennial Money Expert® and America’s Student Loan Debt Expert™, and the founder of The College Investor, a personal finance site dedicated to helping millennials escape student loan debt to start investing and building wealth for the future. You can learn more about him here and here.
He regularly writes about investing, student loan debt, and general personal finance topics geared towards anyone wanting to earn more, get out of debt, and start building wealth for the future.
He has been quoted in major publications including the New York Times, Washington Post, Fox, ABC, NBC, and more. He is also a regular contributor to Forbes.