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The hidden costs of moving

There are innumerable reasons why you might move to New York. Maybe you landed a new job, are craving new experiences in the country’s cultural epicenter, or simply need a new location to call home.

In my case, it was all of the above. Nervous for my first major move since college, I profusely googled moving advice. Despite this, I messed up in major ways that ended up costing me nearly $20K, taking into account all my purchases and the amount of time I took off work to move. So learn from my mistakes. Here’s how to minimize moving costs and stick to a budget:

Moving Tip #1: Be tactical about your needs.

I spent a lot of time looking at various apartments online, and not a lot of time reflecting on what I needed out of an apartment or how I would fit the furniture, my belongings, and apartment essentials I already owned into the new place. That negligence resulted in me shipping boxes that will perpetually be unopened, buying a lot of duplicates, and landing apartments that met only some of my necessities (there were central heat and air, but where was the closet? Nonexistent).

Moving Tip #2: Consider the timing of the move.

I chose to move in the fall because I figured it would be a good, temperate time to move to New York. What I didn’t consider was that everybody else was also thinking the same thing. Fall and summer are generally the most popular seasons for people to move, so I didn’t get the best deals when it came to renting, moving services, expenses et. al. Whereas in other seasons, you can usually negotiate rents down or work outside of brokers to avoid the exorbitant fee. If staying under budget is a priority, you may want to think about moving in an off-peak time, even though the weather may not be in your favor.
fall hidden costs of moving

Tip #3: Don’t ignore the elements.

Speaking of weather, don’t ignore the elements that will add frustration and moving costs to your move. New York, for instance, is not a car-friendly city. I was at least aware of this fact and asked a family member to help me move, which meant double the flight tickets. On top of that, the cost of Ubering from place to place — to and from IKEA, across town, and Trader Joe’s — stacked up. An Uber ride in New York starts at $8 without distance and traffic. Factor in about 20 Uber rides that week, and you’re looking at a whole lot more transportation costs that weren’t planned for.

Moving Tip #4: Choose a better living solution.

There’s actually a fairly easy solution for all of my mess ups: move into a home that is already furnished and easy to move into. I didn’t have the wherewithal to look into this as an option, but after I moved, I discovered Common’s coliving homes, where you have your own private, furnished bedroom within a suite similarly furnished to your needs. The homes also come with pots and pans, household essentials like toilet paper and paper towels, free laundry, utilities and WiFi included, and a whole lot more. Best yet, as someone who has just moved to a city and is struggling to find a group of friends to call my own, there’s a built-in communal factor to sharing a suite with other people that as this moment, while I type this from my lone studio, sounds quite appealing.

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Breaking down the cost:

My moving estimate (flights + security deposit + first month’s rent + last month’s rent + furniture + shipped goods + Uber rides + groceries + decor + and more) = $20K

Moving into a Common home (security deposit + first month’s rent) = $3K

Here’s to making better choices in my next move and wishing you a cheaper and better experience.

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