You may have heard that not only does New York City hold the title as one that doesn’t sleep, but it’s also currently the most expensive place to live in the US. With that in mind, it’s wise to find ways to cut moving costs when relocating to the Big Apple — but not at the expense of your belongings or well-being.
To get your move off on the right foot, here are some ways to assess and tighten up your moving budget:
1. Timing and distances are of the essence – and they impact your budget’s bottom line
If you have the freedom to choose when you’re planning your move, consider booking in the off-season. Early spring and summer are the busiest times for movers. It’s no wonder — the weather is pretty great during those times.
However, moves can certainly be negotiated safely and securely at other, more low-demand times of the year. If you can schedule your move in the fall or winter, you may save a pretty penny. Zooming even further in on the calendar, avoiding a move that’s not at the end of the month or the weekend may make your dollars stretch as well.
Lastly, it’s good to be prepared for the unavoidable cost of a long-distance move. It comes with the territory and is necessary to get your things safely to your new NYC home if you’re relocating from a location many miles away.
2. Carefully consider “cheap movers”
It may be tempting to peruse Craigslist for moving help or talk your old pals into helping you load up your moving truck with a round of drinks and pizza. However, depending on what you’re moving and how far you’re traveling to get to NYC, you may want to think twice. Paying for the expertise of experienced movers may seem expensive, but ask yourself:
- If anything gets broken or damaged along the way, do I have money to replace it?
- What if I get injured while moving my stuff — how much will that cost (in time and money)?
- What would I pay to be relieved of the stress of moving?
When it comes down to it, you may find that the bottom line of your moving bill could end up being less if you opt for working with professional movers who offer cheap prices. Those who are licensed, insured, and registered with the Department of Transportation are well suited to meet your needs and help you anticipate costs. That way, there aren’t surprise fees and charges upon your arrival to NYC.
3. Communicate with your movers and get clear on costs
Moving to NYC may be a little more complex than just moving your stuff from point A to point B. Talk with your movers about how they assess the costs of their services. For example, do they charge hourly, by weight, or by volume?
It’s also good to let your movers know what exactly you need to be moved. Do you have fragile antiques? Oversized items like pianos or artwork? These types of items need to be evaluated so the movers can tell you if they have the proper insurance and expertise. If they are able to help, it may incur an additional cost.
Other reasons you may have some additional, but warranted, costs to your moving bill include: providing moving supplies, packing or unpacking services, assistance with assembly or disassembly of your items, or requiring the use of stairs or an elevator in the move.
Again, understanding what these charges can be will help you keep your budget in check.
4. Get real with your budget and move-in fees
It may not surprise you to learn that renters, not owners, inhabit 60% of the available housing in NYC. And over half of renters spend more than 30% of their income on rent — about one-third actually spend more than 50% of their take-home pay.
Keep this in mind as you negotiate all of your other expenses. What’s more, there’s often an upfront move-in cost with rental apartments.
Paying a security deposit (often equal to your monthly rent amount) and your first month’s rent is typical when you sign the lease. You may also need to pay a broker fee, costing between 8% to 15% of the cost of your annual rent.
While apartment hunting, looking for a “no fee” apartment listing may help to avoid the broker fee (which means the landlord is responsible for paying it). To further lower your monthly rent cost, you may also consider living with roommates to share the cost.
As a bonus: If they’re relocating from the same location to NYC, they could also chip in on moving costs as well!
5. Be frugal, but fabulous, with your furnishings
The average square footage of an apartment in Manhattan is 702 sq. ft. and the average cost is just over $4,000 per month. So, it pays to think about what you’ll need to furnish your new place, especially if you’ll be moving out of a much larger space.
There are many ways to go about this, but assessing what of your current possessions is necessary to take with you. Then, you may need to downsize. Your comfy overstuffed loveseat may just be too big for your NYC apartment.
On the plus side, moving with fewer items may lower the cost of your initial relocation. The money you save on that cost can be put towards getting your new apartment aesthetic going. The good news is that there are many options out there to cut costs on furniture and apartment needs that won’t break the bank.
Giving a bit of thought to where your dollars need to go as you prepare for moving to NYC will pay off in savings and fewer headaches in the long run. Another bonus: you’ll have more dough to spend on dollar pizza slices and the rest of the sites and sounds of your new metropolitan home!