How to Prepare Your Finances for a Move
Moving is seldom as simple as signing on the dotted line and lugging your stuff to a brand-new apartment. While there are plenty of ways to help make the physical move easier, the money side of relocation can be complex. This makes advance prep essential if you're aiming to score your dream place without financial frustration.
We've collected five tips to keep in mind if you think you might be moving in the coming months.
No budget? Make one now
Even if you're just setting foot into the world of independent living, your future self will thank you for taking the time to create a budget to govern your finances. A well-thought-out budget should take all of your income and expenses into account, and it should help you determine how you spend your money and how you save it.
This might sound like a lot of effort, but you'll likely have to take stock of your finances when it comes time to move anyway, so you might as well knock it out ASAP.
Save hard and save smart
Money, they say, can't buy happiness. Fortunately, it can help you knock out that first month's rent and security deposit without leaving yourself financially vulnerable.
Not sure where to start when it comes to strategic saving? You have a lot of options, no matter your situation. One popular choice is to open a high-yield savings account, which will help you accrue interest at a faster rate than the everyday bank account.
You can also find accounts with higher interest rates at online-only banks, which are often recommended for better short-term gains.
Know your moving costs
The aforementioned rent and security deposit combo isn't the only thing you'll have to pay for when you're ready to relocate. There's virtually always a host of additional expenses involved, and identifying them can give you a better idea of whether you're actually equipped to move.
Costs you'll want to consider might include the price of a moving truck or a company, the cost of packaging materials, fuel and general travel expenses and more. Figure out what you'll need to make the move happen, and then shop around to find ways to save money ahead of time.
Up your credit score
Most landlords check your credit as a measure of your reliability. You don't need a spotless credit report to secure an apartment, but it'll definitely help you stand out from the crowd of prospective renters if you've kept on top of your debts.
Not sure what your credit history looks like? Under federal law, you can get one free credit report from each of the nation's credit-reporting bureaus per year. Consider checking your annual free credit report in preparation for your move.
If you need to improve your credit scores or haven't yet built credit, using a rewards credit card for essential expenses is arguably the easiest and most cost-conscious way to do so. Just be sure to pay off your statement balance in full before the billing cycle's due date to prevent interest fees while contributing positively to your payment history, which accounts for a whopping 35 percent of your FICO score.
Update your bills
If you're lucky, you might come across an apartment that includes Wi-Fi. For the most part, however, you're on your own when it comes to internet, cable and other location-specific services.
Make a list of the ones that are most important to you, and keep it with your budget. This will serve as a reminder that you'll have to cancel your current services and make arrangements at your new place once you're ready to move in.
The apartment search is rarely an easy-breezy process, but these tips should help ease the financial burden that goes hand-in-hand with the decision to move. With a keen eye on your finances and a bit of patience, you'll likely find yourself right where you want to be in no time at all.