Moving can be expensive. I recently left Los Angeles and moved across the country to Franklin, Tennessee. My husband’s work is based out of this town and they need him here for the final season of his TV show. We plan on returning to California late next year, but are also open to the possibility of a new show keeping us here a little longer. We were fortunate in that his company paid for the move, so we didn’t incur any expense from that portion of the transition. But settling into a new place–a bigger one at that–can have a lot of cost associated with it! Here are some of the things we did to soften the blow. If you’re interested, you can stay up to date on my personal adventure in a new state at sarapo.wordpress.com.
We used this company to hire movers on the cheap (mind you, this was reimbursed, but I think it’s a good suggestion worth mentioning). If you’ve never heard of it, it’s a website where you can hire someone to do just about anything for you. From grocery shopping to washing your car, running errands, packing your moving boxes, you name it. And you get to see the individual’s photo, profile, reviews and rate before you book. You pay through the app. It’s super easy, convenient and affordable if you aren’t comfortable asking friends for help moving. It’s only available in certain major U.S. cities so far.
Sell, Sell, Sell
Before leaving I made a lengthly list of things I was willing to part with. Everything from drawer knobs I got on sale at Anthropologie (sold for $5), to bookshelves I made ($100), to a vintage vanity I bought second hand ($60). I even sold a stack of magazines ($10) that I thought would be silly to pack in a moving van. All together, I raised a few hundred dollars that I was able to use to partially furnish our new place. It’s the purse fund all over again.
Find The Free
I got two loads of free boxes and packing material off of Craigslist in Los Angeles that was a huge help in packing. Then when I got to Tennessee, I posted them for free here and someone came and broke them all down and hauled them away.
Can you do it yourself? No? Well, can you learn? This is a very popular approach to home decorating these days and there’s a reason for that–it’s cheaper! There’s Youtube videos galore on How To’s. My husband and I had intended on making our own kitchen table as we had a little practice with our kitchen island (sold for $60!) but then fell in love with one we spotted in town and decided we’d rather have it sooner and collect a gorgeous handmade piece from our time here.
Buy Local And Talk Them Down On Price
The antique district of our town is actually at the end of our street, which is really convenient if you don’t want to pay shipping for furniture. We bought our console table and dining table from the same place. A shop called The Barn Door Company, a two block walk from our house. They sell really cool and unique vintage and repurposed furniture. Because they are a small business, we felt comfortable asking them to give us a deal on buying both items together and they did. That would not happen at a big box store!
Monitor Sales And Be Flexible:
I tend to stalk an item I know I want until it goes on sale. I don’t know if you know this–but dining chairs are weirdly expensive! Even at cheapo stores, they still can run from $100-$200 a piece! I found some I liked on sale at Target, with an additional 10% and have been slowly buying them one at a time. I’ve twice had to drive to the Target that is thirty minutes away (rather than the one that is only ten) to pick up one chair. We have guests coming the next two weekends, so I’ve ordered two more for pick up at two different locations– one is forty minutes away and one is thirty five–in different directions. An inflexible buyer might just settle for the online deal, which is okay–but not as good as the one they offer if you buy in store. Plus you have to pay an extra $20 for heavy item shipping and wait however long it takes to get to you. No thanks.
I’m also on the email list for stores I love. This seems like an obvious and easy way to stay in touch with what goes on sale. I have been eyeing some adirondack chairs from World Market for the backyard and they are selling fast. I called around last week to see what colors the stores near me had in stock and learned that supplies were low and not going to be restocked. I decided to hold off on buying despite this because I didn’t want to buy a non-essential item unless it was a crazy good deal. Then over the weekend I got an email that they had slashed the sale price to 50% off and had a 15% off coupon going at the same time. I also had $10 in store rewards, so I was more than willing to drive forty five minutes to the one store in the Nashville area that had two of the same color. It wasn’t our first choice in shade, but we like it well enough for the price.
Give Owned Pieces New Life
I can’t tell you how much I have rearranged old things in a new way since we moved into this house. Hooks that were once for towels in my bathroom are now in the entryway serving as a coatrack. Eric’s office chair is now the main chair in the living room since he doesn’t work from home anymore. A mirror that hung over my couch in LA is now my bedroom mirror for getting ready. Reinvent instead of starting fresh and you’ll save a ton.
Credit Card Incentives
If you are part of a credit card rewards program, you know that there is usually at least one retail store a quarter at which you can shop and earn cash back. Right now, Amazon is one for us and so I’m using it more than I normally would to find home furnishings in order to make extra money; or save on the purchase if you use the earnings to pay off the card.
Spread Out Purchases
Be willing to wait.
“It is much less expensive when you don’t buy a bunch of stuff at once.”
– Sara Branscum
I thought of that myself. Budget so that you can afford the essentials right away and all the non-crucial items (like a china cabinet that I know someone might want but doesn’t need but wants so bad) can wait. It is much easier on your bank account to get a couple of big things over a few months than it is to do it all at once. Then you’ll likely dip into savings or worse, go into debt and you don’t want to do that with a move unless it’s an emergency.