Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Grad School Family Series: Moving

When we graduated college, we had a summer with no income in front of us.
We decided the best thing for us to do was to move twice, the first move was a practice move to Matt's parent's empty house in Logan and the second was to graduate school in Princeton, NJ.

The first move was a wonderful break for us financially. Since we only had a two and half month break between graduation and moving to Princeton, Matt and I both knew finding short term work would be difficult.Despite the fact we lived pretty cheaply, our expenses were about $1250 a month with rent, food, etc. in Provo. (We were thankfully on a month to month contract at this point.) It was only $400 to move up to Logan ~ 2 hours, and we kept our normal food budget of $50 a week.

So $1250 x 2.5 months = $3,125
$400 + ($50*10 weeks) = $900

Matt also donated plasma once a week while we were up there - which basically just ended up being our gas and spending money.

Then for our second move, we moved from Logan, Ut to Princeton, NJ.
We bounced around so many different ways to do this much longer move.

1) Flying Goobie and me out and have Matt drive across the country with his dad driving our car.
2) Matt and me driving across the country in our car and then Matt flying back and driving the truck.
3) Having Matt's dad drive the truck out and Matt and me drive the car.

We ended up choosing a variant of three. We had my mom drive out with me, and Matt and his dad drive the truck. (I could not drive alone with Madeleine.) This was wonderful for so many reasons: parent bonding time, went way faster, and more discounts on the moving truck.

We went with a Penske moving truck for both moves. They gave us the most discounts and they don't charge by the mile. We started with the 20% discount that our bank gave us. My mom had a AAA card so we got a 10% discount for that, and we got an additional 10% student discount! (You have to ask for it. It's not one that is done online.) I also asked the lady to waive the extra drivers fees and she did, saving us about $70. The total was around $900 with the damage insurance for the truck. With the gas for our car and the truck, our total for the move was around $2100. $1900 under what we had budgeted! 
(Sadly almost all of that savings went into our deposit...which we had forgot about.)

Another thing that really helped was not driving straight to Princeton. We actually drove to DC first where Matt's parents were living and stayed there for three days to visit. DC is only three hours from Princeton. By stopping, we were able to drive and unload the truck in Princeton after a full night of sleep. It was also nice because it gave us flex time in case Madeleine or us needed more breaks than we expected. We were pretty sure we could do the drive in two days, but if our six month old baby screamed the whole time, we had three extra days to drive a bit slower.

Visiting great-grandparents was just another perk of stopping in DC
So to summarize...

Our tips for moving across the country...

1) Find as many discounts as you can for the truck
2) Ask family for help
3) Come up with a plan way ahead of time
4) Travel mainly at night if you have a baby
5) Find a place that you can stay before you have to move in
6) Avoid tolls...trucks are really expensive to pay for on toll roads
7) Look on craigslist or freecycle for free boxes and paper
8) Get rid of as much stuff as you can
9) Watch videos on youtube if you don't know how to pack something
(Nothing broke during either move!)

All of this was pretty straight forward compared to heath insurance, which is going to be the next part of this series. :)

Our budget
Buying furniture and clothes
Menu planning and food management
Shopping for food
Affording a baby
Making friends
Family Time

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