Thousands of people move abroad each year, whether it’s to be closer to family members, pursue career opportunities, experience new cultures, save money by living in more affordable areas, for love, or other reasons.
If you’re thinking of joining them, it’s a good idea to investigate ways to cut costs when relocating. There are numerous steps you can take to spend less money on the move.
Plan the Move
Plan out your move as much as possible. The more time you give yourself to get organized, the better. Sometimes this isn’t possible if you have to move quickly due to job changes or a sick family member, but wherever possible, plan far in advance to save money on some of the most expensive costs.
For example, you should get cheaper plane tickets, and more affordable shipping fees for your belongings, if you don’t book at the last minute. Be as flexible as you can to save money. If you don’t have to travel on a specific date or have your possessions arrive in a hurry, you’ll pay less. Watch for good airline deals and hotel stays along the way, and consider cheaper plane tickets with more stops and longer layovers.
If you ship your household goods by sea rather than air, you’ll save considerable money. This method takes longer, but it’s worth it if you can afford to wait. To make this work, perhaps pack up your things and stay with family members before you leave, or stay in a furnished apartment for a few weeks when you get to your destination.
Also, when you plan ahead, you can often avoid relocating at the busy and, therefore, more expensive times of the year. Steer clear of relocations around Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Chinese New Year, in particular.
You’ll save money, too, if you talk to shipping firms about using the groupage method. This phrase refers to consolidating shipments, so you share a container with other people and don’t have to pay for a whole container you may not fill up. This option needs organizing in advance, though, too.
Save Money on Financial Transactions
Many people spend more than expected on financial transactions when moving overseas. For example, extra costs can come when paying shipping companies, international removalists, and other services via credit or debit cards, and getting charged foreign transaction fees and lousy currency exchange rates on purchases.
When relocating, you’ll likely also need to transfer money overseas, whether to buy a car or house or pay for other necessary things in your new country or when moving your savings across. To cut costs, use cards with zero international transaction fees, fix exchange rates where possible, and look for online options for moving money around with fewer expenses. Check out resources that identify the best way to send money for more details on this matter.
Declutter So You Have Less to Move
Another way to significantly reduce your moving costs is to declutter, so you have less to ship. The fewer boxes and pieces of furniture that have to go in containers, the less you’ll pay. Before you start packing, purge your possessions.
Sell, donate, or recycle anything you have multiple versions of, the items you no longer use, damaged goods, and more. You might also have a variety of belongings you use now but won’t need overseas, particularly if downsizing homes, such as from a house to an apartment. Plus, keep in mind that any money you make from selling possessions before you go can help you pay for your moving expenses, pay off debts you need to settle before you go overseas, or give you more savings to have on hand as a buffer at your destination.
Some other tips to help you cut costs when moving abroad include:
- Use free and low-cost packing supplies, such as getting boxes from friends and family members or at recycling drop-off points
- Pack your possessions yourself rather than paying hired professionals to do this task for you (unless your employer is willing to cover this cost as part of your work relocation)
- Obtain multiple shipping costs to ensure you get the best price
- Read over all contracts carefully to avoid incorrect charges or hidden fees companies may try to sneak in
Moving overseas is a stressful and often challenging time, not to mention costly. Look for ways to reduce your expenses and make the process take less of a toll on your finances and health. Following the steps above can add up to significant savings in the end.