The Financial Burden of Moving (and Breaking Up)

As some of you may know, I am moving at the end of the month. No I’m not moving across the country or overseas to some exotic locale. I’m literally moving a 10 minute walk away. Even though it’s so close, it’s still a pain in the ass.

What Brought On The Move

The main reason for moving is that my girlfriend of 7+ years and I have decided to go our separate ways. Yet another victim of the dreaded 7 year itch.

We rent a nice enough apartment which we can comfortably afford between the two of us. On my own though, I just cannot justify paying this much in rent by myself.

Since I don’t currently have a daytime job, I’ve decided that it was time to tighten up my spending and focus on living modestly.

Moving Costs

In my case the move actually won’t cost a whole lot, but when you don’t have a job any added expenses hurt.

The biggest moving expense might be all of the stuff I need to replace. Since I’m breaking up with my girlfriend at the same time, one of us will need to replace the necessities that we share. That includes bigger stuff like couches, a bed, a tv and so on, but also smaller stuff like a can opener and random cooking staples. This list will end up being much longer than I anticipated. I won’t know the true cost of that until we figure out who gets what and how cheaply it can all be replaced for. I think I’ll be busy buying stuff on craigslist during the first week of March.

Another big expense is the moving truck itself. Originally I wanted to hire a moving company to help, but there is a 4 hour window between when I’m moving out and when my new apartment would be ready. There’s no way I’m paying the movers hourly during that time. Instead I’ll be renting a moving truck and recruiting friends to help, which is actually the cheaper option anyway. Plus there’s the necessary beer and pizza.

My biggest cost in the long run will be the increased rent and having to pay 100% of utility bills. Rent prices around Vancouver have increased a lot since last time I checked. Yes I am Canadian, but don’t hold it against me. I do spell words on here the American way and try to cover issues that are not country specific.

The cynics out there are probably wondering why I insist on living near Vancouver if rent is too high. What can I say? I like this city a lot and am too chicken to try to start over somewhere new. Besides if I try to get a new website marketing job, I really need to be in a big city. I never claimed that I always make good financial decisions. So do as I say and not as I do and move to an affordable small town if you can.

On top of the increased monthly rent, my new landlord insisted on a pet deposit of half a month’s rent in case my two cats damage the apartment. Since so many apartments don’t allow pets, I grudgingly paid it knowing that I would likely get it back when I move.

Also, since I would be worried about forgetting to change my address somewhere, I paid Canada Post to forward my mail for 6 months. Cleaning the carpets will cost money too and so will miscellaneous cleaning supplies.

On the bright side, at least I’m not moving somewhere far like my blogger friend Steve at Money Infant when he moved to Thailand years back. When he moved it must have been very expensive to ship everything over or else buy new stuff. That’s when moving gets really expensive. The change of scenery is probably well worth it though.

Time Is Money

This is the part that really annoys me about moving. Sure it costs money to do the actual move, but how do you factor in how much time the whole process takes?

The part I hated the most was actually looking for a new apartment. I spent days browsing the online classifieds trying to find something that wasn’t too expensive and not in a lousy neighborhood. In this city that truly is having my cake and eating it too. After checking out a few places I just settled on something that is a compromise in both price and location. It’s a little more than I wanted to spend and in a so-so area. I admit I probably should have spent more time looking, but I was tired of wasting time and I didn’t want to have to later settle for something worse.

Once I had an apartment lined up, I wanted to sell some stuff that we no longer use, especially bigger stuff that would be a hassle to move. I’m happy to say that is almost all complete, but it took a while to take photos, post it on craigslist, arrange for people to come over and then dealing with the potential buyers in person. In the end, I sold both of our bikes, a patio bench and a Rock Band video game including instruments. And I gave away 2 rusty BBQs and a broken dresser. At least it was satisfying clearing out some junk and reducing how much stuff we have to move.

Then there was setting up utilities at my new place and changing my address everywhere. Fortunately you can take care of a lot of that online these days.

Next week I’ll have to get started on the actual packing and cleaning. I just hope the rest of the move goes smoothly and this doesn’t require a part 2 post about all the unexpected costs.

Have you moved recently? If so, what was your biggest expense? Did it cost more than you expected?

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