The Cost of Moving

The other day I was talking to a friend of mine. He and his fiance were moving into their new apartment prior to their wedding (this is the same friend whose wedding I was in – read all about how much it cost me). As our conversation unfolded, the topic of moving came up. I remarked how much I hate moving and was surprised to hear his positive response. I have met very few people in my life that enjoy moving and so I was utterly shocked to hear that someone might enjoy moving.

Sure, moving might be a sign of change and exciting things to come in the future, but it is full of busyness. Unless you can afford to pay someone to move for you, moving consists of full days, back-breaking grunt work, and lots of stress. Why would anyone want to move?

As it turns out, my wife and I have been contemplating moving for some time. We like where we are living, but we don’t plan to be here long term. A couple personal issues have come up in the past year and life isn’t as great as it once was. The idea of moving to a new place, getting a fresh start seems quite appealing in many ways. In fact, my wife and I had a serious conversation just a few days ago when we listed the pro’s and con’s of getting up and moving sooner rather than later.

In the midst of our conversation, I realized that moving costs a lot. Not just money-wise (although it does cost this too), but in other ways as well. I thought I would share some of my reflections on moving to a new place.

The Social Cost of Moving

One of the most significant costs of moving, in my eyes, is the social aspect of starting over. Whether you realize it or not, when you get settled in one place, you establish a group of friends that you can rely on. Whether it’s asking for a ride to the airport, or people to celebrate Holidays with. Your social circle is only made possible by time spent in one place. Getting up and moving to a new state or city wipes the slate clean and you are forced to build up your circle of friends from scratch. This is never an easy task.

Career/Employment Costs

Moving also can disrupt your career track. Many people work their way up the corporate ladder and being uprooted doesn’t help this. Moving, unless you are a full-time blogger, requires you to apply for jobs and hope that you get lucky. While it is possible to land a great job (or even one for which you lack the experience), in this economy it can be a long process. My wife applied for jobs for a good 6 months before she got her recent job.

Financial Costs

While some of the financial costs of moving are incorporated in the career section above, moving can be quite expensive. When you add up the transportation, increase in food (from eating out a lot), Hotel (when you are looking for a new home), and the down-payment on your new home (whether you are renting or buying), it can be quite expensive. This does not even include the “necessary” costs to furnish your new place or to store old furniture. Not everyone can furnish an apartment for $600, like we did when we first started out. The increase in costs can put an even larger strain on a family that is already pushed to the limit.

Why We are Delaying the Move

As we talked through our discussion about moving, my wife and I decided that we will be postponing our next move (if not forever). We realize there is the possibility that we will stay in the same area for the rest of our lives, but we don’t think it will really happen. There were a few major factors that are keeping us in the area. First, (and perhaps foremost), my wife just started Graduate school. I will be finishing in December, but she will still have 2 years after this summer course. There is a chance for her to transfer if we did move, but she is enjoying her program and it makes little sense to move now. Plus, if we did move, it would probably delay her graduation even longer and we would rather be done with school sooner rather than later.

Another reason is that we are just not ready to move emotionally. It takes a lot to be able to get up and move to a new place without knowing anyone. We did it once already and don’t look forward to doing it again. Last, but not least, employment. For the most part, we are both happy with our jobs and we have some financial security with both of us working. (After all, we just created a fun budget – talk about a sign of some security). It will take a great job offer for us to get up and move. It is highly unlikely that both of us will have a new job if and when we do move, so we would have to be able to live off of one income for a while until the other can find suitable employment.

Overall, moving far away takes a lot of commitment and energy. While we do anticipate that we will have to make this change in the coming years, we just aren’t ready for that kind of change.

Have you had to make a significant move? Have you decided that you will be staying put? What informed your decision?

10 Responses to The Cost of Moving

  1. All of what you say above is certainly true.. and if you have kids- there are additional factors as well (forcing the kids to start over in a new school).. and the act of actually relocating your stuff is a total pain in the butt..

    But at the same time, there is something exciting about starting over in a new place, and completely changing things up. We have friends who are house shopping right now and for some reason, I feel a tinge of jealousy.. even tho I am perfectly happy in my current home.

  2. We are contemplating an in-town move, so a little different than what you’re discussing. I’m actually starting to itch to move cities as well. I’ve been in this one for four years and that seems long enough – the longest time I’ve lived in one city aside from where I grew up. I think being a student (more than part-time) creates a different mindset. We knew we would be here only for a few years, and we’ve seen many friends graduate and leave. Soon it will be our turn and I’m excited. Even with our possible in-town move I’m looking forward to culling some of our stuff – a good opportunity to do so before our Big Move in a couple years.

  3. The last time I moved moved, it was from PA to KS. I did it on a bus with one suitcase and it was for a variety of reasons. In the end, I have a grown up job (I was working retail part time as it was all I could find out there), a fiance, a house that we rent (I was sleeping on a couch in PA), and a cat for a pet. For me, the move has benefited me greatly. That’s not always the case and it was rough the first year out here. I used to move a lot when I was a kid (16 different counties/school zones before I was 16) and I hated it. Now it will be moving from in town to in town until we can afford to buy our own house (not for a while yet).

  4. I will be making the BIG cross-country move, from Maryland to California. Law school was the main factor in that decision.

    I’ll be packing only essentials (all my clothes AND shoes naturally – I am a girl), a few knickknacks/picture frames, and thats about it. No furniture whatsoever. Its actually cheaper to drive everything out in my car than ship the car AND clothes AND fly myself across the country.

    I wont be bringing my beloved dog until my second year of law school when I am settled in. She will be staying with my parents in the meantime. 🙁 Thats the hardest part about the move, leaving my dog.

  5. I agree that moving is a hassle, even if you are just moving a few streets down the road. Now that I’m out of school I can settle down and live in the same apartment for more than two years.

  6. I love moving not for the physical act of it, or the financials (it’s straining, it’s expensive, etc), because those are short term. I do enjoy moving to get a change of scenery and have a new neighborhood/city to explore. We had a lot of fun moving to Vancouver and I would do it again.

  7. Not only do we not mind moving at all – but we’re crazy enough to tackle it by ourselves! Both times we’ve moved (in town), my husband and I rented a cargo van and gave ‘er. Both moves were done over the course of 2 days. It’s exhausting… but so much fun… and so exciting!

  8. Like you Corey, I dread moving. I don’t mind the physical labor part of it, but I absolutely hate packing and unpacking.

    I have however, saved a ton of money the last two times I’ve moved. My money saving tip isn’t for everybody though – consider hiring day laborers. For 8 hours of hard labor, I pay two people $100 each and buy them lunch. Unfortunately, one or two things are bound to get broken, but to me, it’s worth it.

  9. At one point in my life, I moved 10 times in less than 10 years. I was always in the same state, but moving just became a way of life. Now that I’ve purchased a home, I don’t plan on moving for another 7 years at least, so the idea of moving is not even on my radar.

    I did move out of state once, and it was actually relieveing because I had just gotten married, and my wife and I had some time to get used to married life ourselves. We knew we were moving back in a year, so it wasn’t too bad, though.

    On our last move, we saved money by packing well and having 10 friends help us. From start to finish, it only took 3 hours to be fully unloaded in the new home. As people have mentioned, though, it’s the packing/unpacking part that’s tough. We rented a truck for under $100 and had free labor (bought some pizzas), so wasn’t too expensive at all.