When You're About to Move

by Vicki Simons

Hi, frugal friends! Imagine a scene where you and your family have packed all your belongings in a large moving van. You're traveling to your new destination, following the route you carefully mapped out. Everyone is excited about the move. You're especially excited about the money you're going to save by making this move yourself. You're approaching the exit to a connecting road. Suddenly, a sickening, sinking feeling hits the pit of your stomach. A sign reads: "No Trucks". The stress (and expense) of moving can be reduced through advance preparation. If you are considering moving within the continental United States -- and will not be hiring a professional company to relocate -- you might benefit from asking yourself these eight questions.

  1. How much space will I have at my new location?
  2. TIP: Do you want to have to pack up, transport, and unpack everything you own? Will everything you plan to transport fit into the space you'll have at your destination? Will you need to put items in storage or divide them among family members, friends or neighbors? What items can you recycle, give away, or sell? If you have four to six weeks to plan your move, consider hosting a yard sale or garage sale as a way to get rid of items you no longer want or don't want to transport to your new location. If you would prefer not to host a yard sale, consider donating items in good condition to a worthy cause that will accept them. Be sure to ask if the donation is tax-deductible.

  3. Can I share my move with someone else?
  4. TIP: Think of it as a long-distance "car pool." By sharing a move, you might be able to split expenses and trade driving responsibilities. (This is especially popular among out-of-state college students traveling home for the summer.) How can you find someone else who is simultaneously moving to, near, or along the route to your destination? Check message boards, classified ads, and the newsgroups.

  5. How can I obtain a vehicle?
  6. TIP: Assuming that you will be requiring a vehicle other than your own, methods of obtaining one include:

    • Purchasing a well-maintained vehicle that can be resold at the destination;

    • Borrowing a vehicle (and courteously returning it with a full tank of fuel);

    • Renting a vehicle from a reputable firm.

    In all cases, make sure that there is a clear understanding of the legal issues involved and the insurance coverage needed during your use of the vehicle.

  7. What can I expect if I rent a moving van?
  8. TIP: Before you rent a van, determine the exact cost of the rental and the exact turn-in time. Popular charges for moves are a "per mile" fee, a "per day" fee, and a combination of both. Local moves often cost a flat rate per day plus mileage. Long-distance rental may be less expensive if you return the vehicle to the same location from which you rented it; for this reason, compare rates of one-way versus round-trip rental. If a deposit is required, learn what it takes to guarantee it is refunded. Familiarize yourself with available trip insurance, evaluate the differences in coverage among policies, and choose the type that meets your needs. Also, determine incidental charges, such as those for the use of a rental handtruck, for not cleaning the van, and for returning the van with less than a full tank of fuel.

    Ascertain and understand the legal terms of your individual rental contract. Before you leave the rental agency, verify that all lights (headlights, taillights, brake lights, and turn signals) are in working order. Plan to tow a boat, trailer, or auto? If so, understand the procedure for connecting and disconnecting lights between the van and the towed vehicle.

Vicki Simons and her husband Michael own Probe Consultants. They provide products and services that save consumers money.

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