Tuesday, September 2, 2008


The current balance in my bank account is $1.71. I've never in my life seen a bank balance like that.

Somehow the moving expenses this time have been thousands of dollars.

I do not get reimbursed any moving expenses, and my first 6 weeks of pay go entirely to moving. I am detailing my expenses so people can see what it goes to, even for someone who is very careful about money. I shopped around a lot for things like moving and car shipping companies where there were many estimates, and chose the cheapest options by far in each category. I packed lots of things that people tend to throw out and buy new in each new place, like bathroom and bedroom trash cans and silverware trays, and I got these things free in the first place. Much of my furniture comes from Craig's list and Goodwill, but I also didn't have time to do Craig's list for everything or ability to (e.g.) move a couch by myself.

Here is the list of expenses:

- $1100 moving
- $600 to transport a car.
- $150 one-way plane fare
- $100 to rent a car to shop during first 3 days because my car's shipment was delayed by 10 days.
- $900 in new furniture: kitchen had no counter space and little storage- $125 for countertop/storage (on clearance); my roommate owned our couch and I can't move a couch from Craig's list in my car - $400 for new couch that arrives by UPS and can be assembled and disassembled for moving; twin bed for guest bedroom + extra mattress + sheets: $240, new armchair $90.
- $500 in other set-up expenses: food, lightbulbs, lamps, cleaning supplies.
Total: 3450. And there's more beyond that, I'm sure.

Some of these expenses could have been less if I spent more time --- e.g., the gas estimate was $300 to drive the car instead of $850 to ship car + fly + rent car due to late car shipment --- but there is a time and practicality trade-off, and the car is more than a decade old and not necessarily reliable. I could have found a couch for free and rented a UHaul and found someone to help me move the couch, instead of spending $400 on a new one shipped to me.

This way, I was done with all moving activities in a few days and was able to move everything by myself since I don't have anyone to help me.

It does seem inadvisable that someone should spend more than 10% of their annual post-tax income on moving. And yet that's how it fell out.

1 comment:

Brett said...

I just moved across the country for a new postdoc and was amazed at the cost as well. There are a lot of lessons to be learned, particularly that the cheapest moving companies end up costing you more due to delays and damage.