A few unplanned costs of moving
Those of you that have been reading Gather Little by Little for a while know that I’m a planner. I’m not a long term planner, but when I know something is coming up I work out all of the details ahead of time, and in particular the financial aspects of it. I generally layout a spreadsheet listing out all of the expected costs and how much I think each of those line items are going to be. Right next to that I layout where the money is going to come from.
I did this for our recent move probably 100 times. I started this whole process back when we started looking for a new home. I laid out a simple budget to determine how much house payment we could afford, I did it again when we were faced with having to pay two mortgages for a bit, and I did it another right as we began going through the process of determining whether or not we should move ourselves or pay someone to move us. I tweaked and adjusted the numbers constantly. I knew going into this that I was going to miss a few things and did I ever.
To be real honest, for the last two months staying on budget has been next to impossible both from an inability to properly anticipate our expenses and frankly due to just not having much time to work on it and track it. Starting today the, the budget is back in full swing! Funny how we come to depend on things. Without our budget, I feel out of control and that keeps me up at night.
We incurred quit a few costs during and after the move that I honestly didn’t plan for. I’ve often heard the phrase “You don’t know what you don’t know.” and that was so true for our move. Here’s what didn’t know I didn’t know:
Stocking the fridge
I didn’t anticipate the extra grocery expense of having the stock the house with food, in particular the refridgerator. A week or so before our move, we began letting our food run out of both the fridge and the pantry. The pantry so we wouldn’t have to move as much, and the fridge so the items wouldn’t spoil. Our first run to the grocery store bumped us way over our grocery budget.
Miscellaneous things we needed
This area was the heavy hitter. Once we moved in, we found all sorts of little things we needed. These included:
- CO2 CO detectors – The owners had a vent less gas fireplace and no CO2 CO detectors.
- Portable heaters – To be honest, this is one I should have planned for as I knew the house didn’t have central heat upstairs or in the basement, but I missed it. We had a few small portable heaters already and I guess I had convinced myself they would work. Nope, they were radiant heaters, we needed convection oil radiator heaters to heat the air. We had to purchase 4 of these.
- Yard supplies – The yard was a mess, more so than I remembered it. Grass was grown up everywhere and extremely high. I had to buy extra trim line for my trimmer and some RoundUp to kill all of the weeds and out of control grass. RoundUp is awesome, but man is it expensive!
- Various supplies for repairs – There were a few things on the house that needed repaired. A support on the front deck was lose and required some extra bracing, light bulbs were burned out, a few lights had shorts and didn’t work correctly, and some other small little things. While none of these individually where very expensive, added together they were more than I expected.
- School supplies – Since our children all started in new schools, their new schools had requirements for supplies that their other schools didn’t so we had to go buy some different notebooks, a few extra binders, some plastic containers, etc. As with the various items for repairs, it wasn’t a lot, just unexpected.
Tipping the movers
This was something I completely didn’t expect. The day our movers arrived, he was reviewing the expected cost and options for payment. He said, “We accept cash, Visa/MasterCard, and personal checks but if you decide to provide a tip for us that should be paid in cash. Of course this is completely optional and not required, but I just wanted to mention it”. Tip movers??? Since when do you tip movers??
Digging around on the internet, it seems that tipping your movers for doing a good job is fairly common practice and encourages them to be a little more careful and do an extra good job. My guys did a great job, so it seemed I should tip them. There was no rule on the amount, so I went with the 10% rule and tipped them $100 each. $200.00 I didn’t budget for!
I completely forgot that moving companies won’t transport gasoline. While we had the U-haul trailer, I was concerned that the fumes might kill or hurt my fish. I considered hauling it in the back of my SUV, but didn’t want to smell gas fumes for 3 hours while driving to our new home, so I left the gas at the old house. At the new house, I had to purchase new gas cans and fill them up with gas. Another $50-$60 I didn’t anticipate.
To make matters worse, not an hour after I came home with the new containers filled with gas I found 2 gas containers left by the previous owners under the deck! Grrrrr…
This is one I keeping kicking myself for as we should have anticipated it. Our new climate is significantly colder than where we moved from and thus requires warmer clothing. My wife and I have lots of warmer clothing, but our kids had outgrown most of theirs. We had to go buy new jackets and gloves for all of them. This was a big budget buster because I hadn’t allocated any clothing expense in our recent budgets.
Thank you emergency fund
So how did we pay for all of this? With our good old emergency fund. After all, that’s what it’s for right? All of the above unanticipated costs were needed and we hadn’t planned for them in our budget. That’s exactly what an emergency fund is for. Prior to having an emergency fund, we would have bought everything on a credit card. We would of course told ourselves that we’ll pay it back next month, only to pay minimums. Not this time. Another example of being able to survive without credit cards.
How about you? Move recently? Did you have unplanned or surprise expenses? Share your story, add a comment!
Photo by: alexik