When you go new places with Atlas, we want you to get the best value from your moving budget. That means saving money on your moving expenses—even making money in the process. Here are 19 practical tips for lowering your moving costs.
If your gas, electric or water utility has not yet returned the deposit you made for your current address, ask for the money now. If you have paid your bills on time, request a good customer letter. It might save you a utility deposit in your new town.
Coupons can save you money on all kinds of purchases... dining and groceries, services for home and auto, even home furnishings. You can get coupons online at Groupon.com and LivingSocial.com. Visit www.entertainment.com to find books of coupons for meals, travel, and leisure. Such books are usually good for a year and may sell for $25 to $45. You can recoup the cost after a few meals. For even more options, go to your favorite search engine and enter coupons with your city's name.
It's smart to sell or give away things you are sure you won't need. However, don't be too hasty to get rid of furniture when you downsize. Replacing it may cost a lot more than you think. Keep any big pieces you might use. You can always sell or give them away after you've settled in.
Round up the records that you will need to take with you—medical, dental, school and veterinary files. Ask your child's counselors and coaches for letters that document what your child has accomplished in karate, dance classes, swimming, etc. These letters can help your child fit into favorite activities in your new community.
Turn unwanted items into cash with a moving sale. See How To Hold a Moving Sale for tips, including advice on writing an ad and questions to ask before you place a classified ad in the local paper. You can also use the Internet to sell your items. Craigslist.org connects you to free online classifieds all over the world. Online auction sites, such as eBay.com, let you sell to the highest bidder. There are even businesses that will manage an online auction for you.
When you donate items to charity, ask for receipts. You can use these to claim tax deductions and save money on your federal income tax.
Selling your furnishings on consignment may bring more money than you would make from a moving sale. Visit one or more consignment shops to find one that is a good fit. Do people shop there for the kind of furnishings you have? Is the pricing attractive, yet high enough to make a nice profit for you? Consign only items that are in good condition. Usually, you specify an amount you will take and the shop adds a markup. If the item remains unsold after a period of time, the store may reduce the price.
Before you sell or give away that unusual item, do you know how much it is worth? If you are in doubt, have it appraised. Many jewelry stores offer free appraisals. For antiques, rugs and other furnishings, search online for appraisers. Some of them may offer free services as well. You might be the lucky one who finds something buried in the attic worth big bucks! This is especially true of inherited items, such as furnishings or odds and ends. Don't be too hasty to get rid of old tins, books, odd pieces of china, etc. Do some homework before you put them in a moving sale or consignment shop.
Is your pooch moving with you? See if you can get some free pet-sitting credit with a friend or neighbor who owns a dog. Take his or her pet for a day or two, perhaps while the family is away. Then cash in your chips when moving time comes. You will like having your pet out from underfoot. Your pet will be happier with a familiar friend than in a kennel. And you'll like saving the kennel fees.
A GPS or similarly equipped smartphone can help you get around in your new community. So can online map resources such as maps.google.com and mapquest.com. If you prefer traditional folded road maps, you can likely get them for free. Ask your real estate agent or check with the local chamber of commerce or tourism bureau. Some banks include a street map in their newcomer kits.
When you are ready to explore your new community, you can probably get free printed materials about what to see and do. Check with the local chamber of commerce, convention and visitors bureau, and historical societies. You can also learn about area attractions via their websites. Discovering all that your new community has to offer can be fun for the entire family. You might even let the kids plan the first excursion.
Request a newcomer kit from your bank. It will likely offer free products, services, or coupons and discounts to welcome you.
Are you a moving because your spouse is taking a new job? Get busy now to find work in your new locale. If your spouse's company offers assistance, take advantage of it. To get a feel for the local job market, subscribe to the daily newspaper and find classified employment listings online. Look for jobs on careerbuilder.com and monster.com.
Start networking locally through professional associations in the new community. Reach out to your connections on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Perhaps they know someone in your new town. Ask for an introduction.
Temporary work can produce income and give you valuable exposure to people. It may even lead to a permanent position. The temporary work force is not limited to clerical and industrial positions. Attorneys, accountants, nurses, architects, and other professionals can find temp assignments these days.
Ask your insurance company to quote coverage for your new home. But don't stop there. The Internet makes it easy to shop around. Beware of overlapping coverage. Compare your homeowner's and automobile policies, and any umbrella policy you may have. Don't pay for coverage you don't need.
Are you vacating an apartment? You may be owed a refund of your security deposit. Keep the name, telephone, and address of the apartment owner or manager. Follow up if you have not received your money within 15 days after you vacate. Many communities require the landlord to return deposits with interest. (Owner-occupied buildings of three units or fewer are usually exempt.) If you paid a pet deposit, get that back as well.
Check out AngiesList.com and Yelp.com for honest consumer reviews about local restaurants, lawn services, heating and cooling companies, doctors, and more. Go to Twitter and follow local users who tweet about happenings in the community. It's a good way to get instant updates on sales, store closings, and free events. And check out local news providers for free electronic alerts on weather and breaking news.
Soon after you have moved in, you may get offers in the mail for free or discounted products and services. Don't be too quick to toss out what looks like junk mail – it could be valuable.
Check online for information on newcomer activities in your area. Many media outlets publish searchable community calendars on their websites.You can use Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to connect with others who share your interests. Meetup.com is good place to find events of interest near you.
Visit your local library and sign up for a library card. It might allow you to borrow framed art, which you can use for a couple of months on those bare walls in your new home.
For free entertainment, check your library's selection of audio and video discs. Or check out a book on local history or places of interest in your new community. Read a book? Watch a movie? The time will come... and you'll be settled in and ready for it.