This probably comes as no surprise, but we move. A lot. In our six years of marriage, we have moved six times. Each move has had its own reason: internship, graduation, new job, and soon to be, lameface neighbor. The longest we’ve lived in a single dwelling is 23 months, and we’ve lived in five different states. And through all of that craziness, every move has had one common thread: we’ve rented a truck and moved ourselves.
When we were in college, renting a truck was a no-brainer. Our one-bedroom apartments were ideal for a UHAUL 10-footer, and our “what’s the cheapest model at Ikea” furniture was barely worth its weight. But as soon as my first real job offer (read: the benefits no longer included 50%-off meals at college cafeterias) came along, the decision wasn’t as easy. By that point, we were raging away in paying off our debt, so it didn’t take long before we realized the cost savings of making the 2,000+ mile trek to New York City by ourselves.
Those same cost savings lured us into renting a truck for our two most recent moves as well. I know I’ve said this on our blog before, but I promise we’re not sadists. Maybe we’re just in denial, but we really do like saving money at nearly any cost. Here’s a breakdown of our three most recent moves.
Utah to New York City (2,207 miles)
Reason for moving: Starting my career in advertising
- Before even leaving our driveway, my grandpa insisted on tampering with and ripping out the air filter with the bright orange sticker that read, “DO NOT TAMPER WITH AIR FILTER OR FACE FINE.” Rules never apply to grandpas.
- Driving in a state of hypnosis from staring at perfectly lined corn rows for, oh, 800 miles. Thanks Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois!
- Massive, massive summer thunderstorm while navigating the rolling hills of Pennsylvania in a 14,000 lb., 60mph Ikea-furnished missile.
Truck rental = $850
Gas = $550 (9/mpg hurts)
Hotel = $45 (Stayed with family friends for free in NE and PA. Cheap hotel in IN.)
Labor = FREE (Thanks, fam)
Tolls = ~$100 (No thanks, Ohio)
TOTAL = $1545
New York City to Boston (210 miles)
Reason for moving: Job opportunity
- Did you know that NYC’s parking patrol roam all hours of the night (like 4:45am) to issue citations to soon-to-be-departed NYC’ers for parking commercial vehicles in residential zones, despite any signage marking said zones? Yeah, we didn’t either.
- Early, early on the morning of our move, we left our friend’s place to make a final stop at our apartment. While pulling to the curb, the metal-step bumper clipped the front bumper of a parked minivan (a bad omen perchance?) and snapped it in half. Awesome. I swore like a sailor, left a note on their car and departed NYC in major Hulk-rage.
- Google Maps’ view of our North End street made us think we’d have plenty of room to park our truck on the sidewalk. Yeah, no. So we parked on a different, wider sidewalk down the street.
Truck rental = $185
Gas = $75
Labor = FREE (Thanks, church folks)
Ticket = $75
Accident = $0!!! (Long story short, the rental company covered it 100%. Hallelujah.)
TOTAL = $335
Boston to North Carolina (708 miles)
Reason for moving: New job
- For some reason, that same barely one-lane street we lived on didn’t get any wider. Weird. But I tetris-ed that freaking 16-footer on the sidewalk while Joanna batted her eyelashes at a questioning police officer.
- We gave our cat, Persie, every known over-the-counter animal sedative for our journey and surprise, surprise, they didn’t work. She pooped/peed her kennel within minutes of getting on the road (we cleaned it) and then proceeded to cry the remaining 14 hours of the trip.
- When we finally arrived to our temporary corporate housing at 1am, the lockbox keycode didn’t work. So we spent the next two hours finding a hotel that would take us and Persie in. We finally found one of those sketchy extended-stay places, but I had to stay up all night guarding the truck with our life’s belongings from some unsavory dudes hanging out in the parking lot.
Truck rental = $700 (We opted for truck insurance this go around after our last little snafu)
Gas = $270
Labor = $30 (Hired hands on Craigslist)
Hotel = $0 (Reimbursed by the corporate housing agency)
TOTAL = $1000
Just rehashing each of those memories probably took three years off my life expectancy. Moving yourself certainly isn’t the easy way to go about the process, but saving money usually isn’t easy. On each move, we saved at minimum $1500 from the quoted rates we received from moving companies (which didn’t include the cost of still getting ourselves from point A to point B = more money). And if our friends’ experiences with movers is any indication of how “professionals” treat your belongings, hope you’re good with super glue.
All that being said, we’d like to keep an open mind for our next move(s). It’s not like we enjoy doing it ourselves, but the opportunity/pain cost has never outweighed the dollar cost.
Are you a self-mover? If you’ve used professional movers, was it worth the cost? Do you think we’re gypsies?