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How to save money during a move

By Georgie Miller

How to save money during a move

My husband and I recently moved after living in the same place for over five years. Whew! I'd forgotten how much work it is. While moving expenses can add up fast, your move doesn't have to become a cash emergency. Think ahead and try these strategies on for size.

1. Only move what you have to

There's no sense in moving more stuff than is necessary. Depending on how far in advance you start making your plans, you have several options for getting rid of stuff you no longer want or need.

  • Start by selling. If you have valuable items that are in good condition, selling is the first step. Selling items online, hosting a yard sale and consigning items at thrift stores are all options.

  • Then try donation. Anything that doesn't sell but is still in nice condition can be donated to a charitable organization. You get a tax break and will have fewer boxes to pack. Plus, many organizations will come and pick items up from your house!

  • Throw away the rest. If you're holding onto items that are worn out, broken or otherwise can't be used any longer, don't take them with you.

Note that some things, such as chemicals (paint, motor oil, used cooking oil) and some bulk items (mattresses in particular) must be disposed of in very specific ways. Some cities also have guidelines or availability restrictions surrounding bulk pickup. Be aware of the laws in your area and follow them.

2. Don't accept connection fees without a fight

One of the hidden costs of moving is getting utilities (like water, electric, and gas) as well as services (such as Internet and cable) cancelled, transferred or activated. Your providers may charge you $50 or more in "connection fees" -- even if the connections are already there! However, you may have some options:

  • Cancel services you no longer need. Moving is an exciting change! Take this opportunity to really analyze whether you still even need cable or the fastest Internet speed possible.

  • Keep your credit score high. Sometimes utility companies or service providers are willing to waive (re)connection fees if you have a high credit score. Others may do so if you've been with the company for years and have a history of paying your bill in full and on time. Never hurts to ask, right?

  • If you're charged without your consent, follow up. Our Internet provider never mentioned a connection fee, and neither did the technician who came out and did the installation. When I was charged $60 on my next bill, I called the company to ask why. When I explained no one I had spoken to mentioned the fee, the customer service rep waived it.

3. Change your address promptly

This one seems pretty self-explanatory, but your address is hiding out in more places than you think! You don't want to miss a bill and potentially be charged late fees because of it. Here's a brief list of crucial updates to make:

  • Identification, such as your driver's license.

  • Financial accounts, such as credit cards, student loans, retirement accounts, insurance policies and bank accounts. And keep in mind that your new location and lifestyle may involve opening a new bank account or shopping at new stores. New grocery credit cards or a different gas rebate credit card may also be in order.

  • Anything with an Internet log-in. I discovered that if I log in with a password, they might have my address. This isn't a hard-and-fast rule, but is something to be mindful of for the first couple of months after your move.

Whether it's across town or across the country, getting everything you own safely from one place to another can be an ordeal. Fortunately, there are ways to save money beyond "get your boxes behind the grocery store" and "offer your friends pizza and beer for helping." Following the simple steps above can make the process a tiny bit less of a pain.

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Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accurate information. See the Discover online credit card application for full terms and conditions on offers and rewards.

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