Graduation is finally upon us, and now is the time to plan for your first big move. Here’s everything you need to know for a smooth and simple move:
Our Top 13 Tips for a Successful First Move
1. Schedule a Moving Truck Before You Start Packing
Prior to your move, you should schedule a moving truck. Depending on the distance of your move, you can either choose between full-service movers or simply renting a truck and doing it all yourself.
For long-distance trips across the country, you may want to consider going with full-service professional movers that will handle everything for you — they will pack the truck, drive to your new city, and unpack the truck at your new home.
On the other hand, if you’re just moving down the road, you may want to rent a truck and handle the move on your own to save money. You can always hire extra help for loading and unloading the truck.
No matter which option you choose, advance planning is key, especially if you’re moving during the peak-moving season of the summer. Book your truck or movers as soon as you know your move-in date. Get quotes online from multiple companies and choose the one that offers you the best price and the best service.
2. Make a Moving Checklist
Whether it’s your first move or your fiftieth move, the process can be quite overwhelming with a seemingly endless list of things to do. To make the process easier, you should make a moving checklist that covers what you need to do before, during, and after the move.
There are tons of pre-made moving checklists to choose from online, and best practice involves using a folder or a binder to keep everything organized along the way. Here are just a few must-have items that you should have on your moving checklist:
- Create an inventory of all your items room-by-room if you’re hiring a moving company
- Take a day or two off of work so that you have plenty of time to start unpacking and get settled in your new home
- Go through all of your stuff and get rid of any unwanted items by either selling, donating, or trashing
- Clean your existing place to make sure that you get your security deposit back from the landlord
- Take pictures of your existing home once it’s cleaned and empty to prove that you left it in good condition
3. Calculate Your Monthly Income and Living Expenses
Before you move, it’s also a good idea to calculate your monthly income and living expenses so that you can start creating a budget. If you haven’t yet started your new job, it can be difficult to calculate your actual take-home pay. In this case, there are online calculators that you can use to help you come up with a rough estimate based on your pay and your location.
These online calculators will consider things like federal income taxes, state income taxes, and local income taxes. You may also need to take into account health insurance and retirement contributions.
Once you have a better idea of your monthly take-home income, you can start calculating your living expenses. Here are some of the different types of expenses you should include in your budget:
- Housing expenses — whether it’s rent or a mortgage
- Utility estimates — including electricity, water, gas, internet, and cable
- Insurance payments — including car insurance, home/renters insurance, pet insurance, etc.
- Subscriptions and memberships — including gym memberships, streaming subscriptions, online shopping subscriptions, etc.
- Debt payments — including credit card payments, car payments, and student loan payments
- Food and groceries — try to set a realistic budget here and come up with a shopping list that will help you stay within your budget when you go to the grocery store
- Transportation expenses — including gas and regular maintenance
- Pet expenses — including pet food, pet grooming, and veterinarian visits if you own a pet
- Entertainment — whatever you have leftover, you can spend on entertainment like movies, concerts, restaurants, travel, and more
4. Need Roommates? Meet Them Before You Move in
Many new grads end up living with roommates even after they graduate. And even if you lived with roommates for four years during college, it’s important to remember that living with roommates post-grad will be different since you’re all working now and are considered “real” adults.
It’s always a good idea to meet your roommates before you move in just to establish your relationship. Don’t be afraid to set expectations and guidelines ahead of time as well so that everyone is on the same page come move-in day. For example, some things to discuss with your new roommates include guests, quiet hours, cleaning, pets, bills, etc.
5. Arrange Transportation for Your Vehicle
If you’re moving thousands of miles away, then you should definitely consider arranging transportation for your vehicle. Having your vehicle shipped instead of driving it yourself can actually save you time and money. It also means that you’re not putting unnecessary miles on your car, which then requires additional maintenance.
Car transportation companies like Carvaygo frequently work with new grads to arrange transport for vehicles quickly and affordably. All you have to do is visit Carvaygo’s website and provide some information about your move and vehicle to receive a quick quote. From there, you can book your move, and Carvaygo will take care of the rest.
6. Renting? Look Over Your Lease Agreement
Many new grads also rent right after graduation as they start new jobs and navigate post-grad life. And while renting can be a great solution for new grads, you should always look over your lease agreement before signing anything.
Make sure that you understand your rental agreement, what’s expected of you, and what’s expected of your landlord. For example, can you have roommates? Can you have pets? How long is the lease? What is the penalty for breaking the lease? Are there any additional fees on top of rent like parking or insurance?
7. Memorize Your New Address
To make the entire moving process easier, you should try to memorize your new address as soon as possible. You will need to know your new address for everything from booking your moving truck to setting up your utilities.
8. Call Your New City and Set Up Utilities
Speaking of setting up your utilities, this is something that you need to do before you move in. If you’re renting, ask your landlord for the names of the utility companies that service the property. From there, you can either arrange for service to start online or over the phone.
Repeat the process for the electric company, the gas company, the water company, and the gas company. Also, remember to look into internet providers in the area to see who offers the best service for the best rates and set a time for them to install the internet.
9. Change Your Address
Perhaps one of the most tedious aspects of moving is changing your address. There are countless places where you need to change your address, and it’s very easy to forget some of them.
You should always start off by changing your address with the United States Postal Service (USPS). That way, they can forward your mail to your new address.
Next, update your address with tax agencies like the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). After that, notify your insurance companies of your new address, as your new address may result in a new rate for your policy.
Make sure that your bank, credit card companies, and loan providers all know about your new address so that they can contact you if needed. Also, make sure that your employer has your new address for paychecks and tax forms.
Finally, don’t forget about online shopping sites, subscription services, and service providers like doctors, dentists, and veterinarians.
10. Visit the DMV To Update Your License and Registration
The last place to update your address is at the Department of Motor Vehicles. Depending on where you’re located, this can be a challenging process. No one likes going to the DMV, so it’s important to come prepared with everything you need to make the necessary changes.
First, you will need a new license. For this, you may need documents that prove your identity, prove your legal status in the country, prove your state residency, prove your Social Security number, and prove your eligibility for a driver’s license if you’re moving to a new state.
If you’re moving to a new state, you may also need a new license plate and registration for your vehicle. For this, you may need documents that prove ownership of the vehicle, prove insurance for the vehicle, and prove that the vehicle has passed safety and emission inspections in certain states.
Of course, none of these items are free, and fees vary from state to state. Be sure to incorporate these costs into your budget.
11. Start Paying Off Student Loans
Even though most federal student loans don’t require payments until six months after graduation, you may want to start paying off your student loans right away if you’re able to. Any payments you make ahead of schedule will reduce your repayment time frame and reduce the amount of interest you’re paying over the loan term.
You don’t even have to make a full payment to make a difference. You could even make payments based on what you have left in your budget at the end of the month.
Once your six-month grace period is up, you need to choose the student loan repayment plan that works for you. If possible, choose a standard plan that minimizes the interest you’ll have to pay. However, other options come with lower monthly payments but entail paying more in interest.
12. Travel With Enough Money for the Essentials
Once you’ve taken care of the logistics of your move, it’s time to hit the road. Just make sure that you travel with enough money to cover the essentials. Depending on the distance of your move, you may need to cover things like food, drinks, and gas along the way. You may also need to stop at a hotel for the night if it’s a particularly long drive.
You can save money here by having your car shipped and simply flying to your new location. That way, you don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on gas, food, drinks, and accommodations while you’re on the road for countless hours.
13. Limited Space? Rent a Storage Unit
If you arrive at your new home and find that there’s not enough space for all your belongings, you may want to consider renting a storage unit. Even if it’s just for one month, renting a storage unit gives you the ability to go through your stuff and figure out what you want to keep and what you’ll have to get rid of for it to fit in your new place. Either that or keep your things there until you get a bigger place.
Ready To Move?
If you’re ready to move, get the process started with a quote from Carvaygo. Carvaygo is dedicated to making your move as easy as possible, thanks to our extensive network of experienced drivers.
Moving Checklist - What To Do Before You Move | Move.org
How To Make a Personal Budget in 6 Easy Steps | The Balance
Change of Address Checklist: Who to Notify When You Move | Moving.com