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The Unexpected Costs of Moving

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The last time I moved was 14 years ago and it was 20 minutes from where I was living at the time. I was wholly unprepared for moving…halfway across the country…with a family of six.

Where did we go wrong??

  1. We didn’t plan to pay for two houses for an extended period. We were remodeling our house in preparation to sell it and we didn’t expect the remodel to take so long. My husband is an experienced remodeler but so many factors messed up the timeline. It took more than a week to drive me from San Diego to Texas and get settled then hubby had to drive back home. He also had to spend more time with the kids since I wasn’t there. The remodel moved very slowly. We are covering two household expenses for 3 months. That’s a cool $20K. Add on the costs of remodeling and our checking account is on E. Hold on a minute while I cough up some blood. Emergency fund? What’s that? We haven’t gone into debt but that’s simply because I work every waking moment and we built a buffer in anticipation of the move…thank all that is holy.
  2. We waited too long to sell things. We sold the obvious first: couches, tables, chairs. What we forgot about until the 11th hour? All the crap (excuse my French) in the attic and garage. We could have made a pretty penny on camping gear, tools, etc. but we had to get rid of it in 24 hours as we panic cleaned out the house for sale. We would have put it at fire sale prices on Facebook Marketplace but we didn’t have time to even do that which meant Goodwill got a huge load of expensive gear. At least we can write some of it off?
  3. We sold stuff we shouldn’t have sold. Our motto, ‘We’ll buy it when we get there’ seemed like a good idea…until we realized that our dining table, refrigerator, deep freezer, and chair would have been less expensive to move. Everyone told us, ‘Sell EVERYTHING! Buy off Craigslist when you get there’. Those people are dumb. We have a trailer. We should have planned the move better. Fortunately we caught some of the stuff before we sold it and packed it for the move.
  4. We packed too little the first trip. We bought a trailer for moving since rental moving trucks are only $3K less than buying a cargo trailer. The problem? We thought we’d have TONS of room…and we did…on the first trip. 40% was packed on the first trip. 87% was packed on the second trip. Math doesn’t add up? Yeah, I know. It’s called moving math. Be prepared.
  5. We had no idea how much gas would cost. You’d think that we would be better at this since we spent a good portion of the last year on the road with a travel trailer. The difference is, travel trailers are super aerodynamic. Cargo trailers? Heck no. It’s like traveling with a parachute behind you. We stopped every hour for gas.

Regrets? I have a few…but man, I LOVE Texas.


9 Comments

  • Reply Rick P |

    Ah, joys of moving! I moved/we moved moved several times due to military orders. As you recalled, we sold and gave away a lot of items. Some of it we bid farewell, but some of it, we should have kept. The hardest part was once we finally settled, we kept adding stuff to ourh ousehold. Now that we are closing in on retirement, we are in the, “let’s get rid of it” or “downsizing” stage. This is something that is not taught in schools. Hmmm, maybe I’ll create a course! One day at a time. Keep blogging! 🙂 PS We “like” Virginia….nothing political here. LOL

  • Reply Kelly |

    1. Solo parenting three kids while trying to remodel a house – no wonder it went slower than expected. Why didn’t you take the kids with you so he could wrap up the remodeling and get the house on the market sooner?

    2-3. The point of *selling* these things is so you can use the money to replace them! Especiaflly since you then blew more money on…

    4. Spending “only 3K” extra (note: 3K is a lot of money for most people) to buy a cargo trailer that you then did not use to its full capacity, in part because you gave away most of the things a cargo trailer would be useful for moving?

    5. This one gets a pass mostly because after 18 months of quarantine I barely know what gas costs for one car, let alone the amounts and MPG that a vehicle + trailer would use.

    None of these would have been “unexpected” for anyone who took a minute to acknowledge they had never undertaken a move of this size and scope before and that major planning would be needed. This whole moving series reads like you impulsively decided “housing prices are way up, let’s sell the house, take the money and run to Texas!” and then were shocked, shocked! that a) relocating a houseful of people thousands of miles is a major undertaking and b) housing prices were also way up on the other end.

    • Reply Beks |

      1) it’s 4 kids and I couldn’t watch them since I can’t take them to work with me like he can.
      2) we discovered we’d rather keep our old stuff that we liked than buy someone else’s old stuff that we don’t.
      4) the trailer is $3k more than a rental. What you forgot (but I mentioned in previous posts) We are using it for the next year as a storage unit until we move into a permanent home. Then, we are selling the trailer next year and will recoup quite a bit. This decision is saving us thousands.

      This decision was by no means impulsive. We’ve been looking at moving to Texas for over a year – before the home prices went bonkers. We just didn’t expect to go from 0 to 60 so quickly.

      • Reply Kristina |

        “We’ve been looking at moving to Texas for over a year – before the home prices went bonkers. We just didn’t expect to go from 0 to 60 so quickly.”

        You and me both, and I live here (Central Texas). A neighborhood near me had homes in the 400’s to low 500’s two years ago when I moved up here from south Texas. They now are trying to sell for 800’s. Thank you Tesla, Amazon and Samsung. Ay dios mio.

        • Reply Beks |

          Exactly! I feel bad for all the Texans. California moves are definitely screwing things up. I apologize daily!

    • Reply Rick P |

      @ Kelly. Throwing stones at glass houses gets one no where. I’m sure there were a lot of things that should’ve, could’ve, would’ve been done diffrently in retrospect. My first military move didn’t go as smoothly as I had expected. But after 7 move moves, I think we finally got it right! 🙂 Hindsight is 20/20.

  • Reply K |

    Beks, Congratulations on doing the move! You’ve really been through a lot but hopefully things will settle down now.

    Besides the lower cost of living, what do you love about Texas? I am considering a move out of California (mostly political reasons), perhaps to Oklahoma or Texas.

So, what do you think ?