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Even a Small Move Can Push Your Budget

Kristin McGrath

March 1, 2013

I’ve been moving into a new apartment this week. This summer, I wrote about how my boyfriend and I were willing to stay in our current apartment to save money, but that has changed. We’ve lost track of how many times our heat and air conditioning have gone out, our energy bills are astronomical because of poor insulation, chunks of patio have been falling off and we hear critters scuttling around in our walls at night. It’s a good thing I’m so eager to move, because it’s taking some of the pain out of the costs.  “Take all my money — I won’t feel a thing!” is how I feel about this move.

Still, once the new-apartment smell has faded, we’ll have to reckon with the fact that our bank accounts have taken a beating the past couple weeks. Here are some of the costs we’ve encountered — and some of the ones we’ve managed to avoid.

The costs we couldn’t escape

  • A rent increase: Our new apartment is nicer than our old one and has been recently renovated. That means we will be paying an extra $160 a month. I wish we would have seen this blog entry on Careful Cents, which has a great tip for dealing with rent increases: A couple months before the move, warm up by putting aside the difference in rent. If we had put an extra $160 in a savings account for two months before we moved, paying the first month’s rent today would have hurt a lot less.
  • Double rent: Our new landlord thankfully held our new place rent-free for us for a month. But there were still two weeks of overlap with our old lease. Having plenty of time to move has been nice. Paying for an empty apartment? Not so nice, although I hope the wall-dwelling critters are having fun in there.
  • Fees: Alex Blaca of The Billfold paid an $800 security deposit, so our $150 deposit makes me feel like we got off relatively easy. However, we also forked over $100 in application fees and $150 in “administrative fees,” which our landlord perkily described as “paper-pushing” fees. Still, we didn’t pay nearly the $1,000 to $2,000 in fees estimated by this blog from rental payment service William Paid.
  • Eating at restaurants: When you’re trying to move the contents of your fridge and pantry to a new place and your cooking supplies are packed away, it’s not easy to cook. My checking account statement bears the scars of having an excuse to eat at my favorite restaurants this week.
  • Splurges: When you move to a nice new place, suddenly your second-hand furniture and old decor starts looking a little … shabby. Guess who dropped $90 on a new area rug while buying cleaning supplies?

The costs we managed to avoid

  • Movers: I’ve used movers in the past, and I’ve found the time and stress they’ve saved me to be worth the cost. In fact, Blaca writes she wished she had paid movers to move everything instead of transporting her small items herself. My boyfriend and I opted to go it alone, with help from a wonderful friend when it came to the bigger stuff. The one perk of cheap furniture is that you can disassemble it and move it piece by piece.
  • Moving supplies: I used social media to ask my friends if they had any spare moving boxes — and they delivered. We ended up with about a dozen cardboard moving boxes and avoided buying more by unpacking each load at the new place and re-using them.
  • Other cost increases: Careful Cents outlines a list of surprising cost increases many don’t think about — increased commute costs, increased rental insurance costs and increased energy costs. Since we moved just down the street, our insurance premiums stayed the same and our commutes will not change at all. Our new place also has energy-efficient appliances, which (we hope) will actually decrease our energy bills.

Have you been dealing with some big expenses lately? Consider drawing some inspiration from our weekly blog roundup:

Beating Broke admits there are times when paying for services is smarter than going the DIY route.

Squirrelers demonstrates the importance of checking for money leaks.

Elizabeth from Simple Finance Blog reminisces about how much she’s spent on her friends over the years.

Money Beagle confesses to breaking a frugal vow — and buying a new TV.

Jordann of My Alternate Life shares her experiences of dealing with debt as a millennial.

Financial Highway suggests some ways to spend your tax refund wisely.