Make a Plan to Move to Another State
According to a recent poll, 33 percent of Americans wish they could move out of state. Whether you are a recent college grad or a midcareer professional, pulling up roots and moving to a new state comes with its share of headaches. Is it better to hire a mover or rent a truck? How will you insure your belongings during transit? What expenses will your new employer cover? Before you break out the boxes and shipping tape, consider these 10 ways to simplify the moving process.
Make a Budget and Start Saving
Shipping, gas, hotel and insurance costs pile up quickly. Add security deposits for renting and starting utilities in your new home, and it becomes clear that moving requires quite a few upfront expenses that can drain your bank account. Making a budget and a savings plan to cover the costs will help smooth the transition, but don’t rely on the security deposit from your old place to cover those costs. It often takes weeks and sometimes longer for a landlord to refund your security deposit (check your lease to be sure).
Your budget planning shouldn’t stop when you get to your destination. Cost of living varies from region to region, and your current salary might not afford you the same luxuries after the move. Use a cost of living calculator to determine how far your current salary will take you in specific cities across the country to see if moving out of state is a smart fiscal idea.
Check What Your Employer Will Cover
Some companies cover relocation costs, but it is important to know exactly what that entails. Your employer may reimburse items such as shipping and packing services, transportation, and travel expenses associated with searching for your new home—if you are moving specifically for the job. Negotiate during the hiring process and ask whether your employer will cover other costs such as lease cancellation fees, realtor assistance, temporary housing, and storage.
Decide What You’re Moving
Is it really cost-effective to move a decade-old, 100-pound couch and an outdated TV? Take stock of everything you own—especially bulky furniture and electronics—and calculate if it would make more sense to sell the items before you move and reinvest your earnings in replacements once you get to your destination. Don’t forget to factor in what you might save in time, money and energy by not hauling these heavy items. If you can’t afford brand new furniture, consider hunting down preowned items on websites such as Craigslist. Use your moving truck to transport your new finds.
Get Money Back Next Tax Season
If you are relocating for work and your move meets certain distance and time requirements, you can deduct related expenses the following tax season. (Sadly, highway meals at Cracker Barrel are not deductible). Just be sure to save your receipts.
Plan for Partial-Year State Taxes
While you are deducting expenses on your federal tax return at tax time, keep in mind that you may have to file two separate state tax returns when you move out of state. If you earned income in two different states during the fiscal year — unless you are moving to or from a state that does not collect individual income taxes, such as Texas, Nevada or Washington — you will need to file a return in each state to cover the time you lived there.
- Professional Movers:
If you opt for full service, the movers will pack, load, ship, and unpack all of your belongings, so the only thing left for you to do is to tell them where to park the couch.
Professional movers can get pricey, but their services will allow you to focus on other pressing issues surrounding a move.
Update Your Information
Moving out of state can be overwhelming, but it is important that you update your information in your new location as soon as possible. You can update recurring bills, such as car and student loans, as well as credit card and bank accounts online or by phone once you secure a new address. As for regular day-to-day mail, this online form alerts the U.S. Postal Service of your address change and will forward your mail for up to a year.
You also will need to obtain a new driver’s license and vehicle registration. Each state sets different timelines. Visit your local DMV to check that off your to-do list. While you’re there, ask for a pamphlet on state driving laws. For example, you might be surprised to find that it is illegal to drive while operating a cellphone in your new state. Do your research and know the laws before you get dinged with a ticket. After you’ve registered, don’t forget to update your car insurance policy.