Unless you’re downsizing, moving doesn’t usually lead to saving money. After all, between hiring movers, renting a moving truck, furnishing the new space and making back-and-forth trips (not to mention potentially having to break your lease), moving is usually something people have to do, not something they choose to do to save money.
But if you’re moving locally, or even out of state for work or other reasons, there are some ways you can save money if you plan.
Whether it’s picking a cheaper ZIP code or renegotiating some of your bills, a move doesn’t have to incur costs. Here are several ways you can save money with a new address.
When moving to a new city, or relocating to a new part of town, take into account your commute.
Driving 40 miles versus five of course makes a different, but what about taking the highway versus side streets?
I recently relocated locally and ended up moving farther away from work. However, because my commute now entails 9 miles of highway driving versus 3 miles on congested side streets, my car’s use of fuel has become about 15 percent more efficient. I’m going an extra 40 miles per tank, which is reducing my monthly gas costs by about one tank, or $55 dollars. It helps too that my highway commute is against traffic, whereas my side street commute was with it.
In my recent move, I also made the mistake of purchasing everything for my new apartment before changing my address. More than $300 was racked up on the basics, from cleaning supplies to trash cans and additional kitchenware.
Once I changed my address online I received a packet in the mail with a dozen coupons to Home Depot, Pottery Barn and Target, among others. I made sure to go back to each store with my receipts to get the discount after the fact, but if I’d waited to change my address for much longer I could have lost out on my opportunity to save as much as 20 percent on my purchases.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, nearly 12 percent of Americans moved between 2012 and 2013. Of the roughly 36 million who did, more than 23 million moved within the same county, nearly 7 million moved within the same state and nearly 5 million moved out of state. Those who move across state lines might find it cheaper to buy some items new rather than move everything they have.
Renegotiate your lease
If you’re not looking to move but are faced with a rent increase at the end of your lease, you could save money by opting to move rather than pay more rent. Look at prices for comparable apartments or homes in the area. If you live in an apartment complex with vacancies, look into the listing prices for these units. Oftentimes, updates and renovations are done to apartments between tenants, so a unit that just opened up in your building might have new appliances or a carpet for a lower price than your landlord is now asking of you with a lease renewal.
If that’s the case, doing some market research could equip you for a negotiation with your landlord or an apartment swap, saving you money.
Lower cable, Internet bills
Moving can be a great opportunity to renegotiate your cable and Internet package, especially since many introductory rates expire after a year or so. According to The Fiscal Femme, Time Warner Cable increases certain packages by $20 each month after the second year of service. Starting over, even locally, can give you the opportunity to take advantage of introductory rate periods again.
While at it, you can also potentially cut costs by looking into new banks and credit unions in your city. If you’re paying $30 in monthly maintenance fees, it might be time to cut costs on that front, as well. A move can feel like a new start; so apply that mentality to your regular bills and financial products.
The ZIP code factor
This might surprise you: Retailers charge different prices based on ZIP code. This is referred to as dynamic pricing. According to Life Hacker, as early as 2000, retailers like Amazon were testing this by offering three different prices on DVDs based on the location of the purchaser. In 2005, the University of Pennsylvania revealed that retailers can adjust prices based on an Internet user’s spending habits and search histories.
When looking up interest rates for national banks or cable package costs, a zip code is often required and serves a purpose for the retailer. If you’re looking to move within your current city, compare prices in different zip codes. Even a move of a few blocks, especially in highly populated areas, can put you in a new zip code and affect the prices you’re offered. But beware, moving to a less expensive part of town — especially in sprawls like Los Angeles — can backfire in terms of city maintenance and safety depending on the municipality in charge.
You’ll also want to investigate which cities have high salaries and low costs of living — it’ll greatly affect whether your savings grow or dwindle post-move.
Christina Lavingia writes for GOBankingRates.com, a leading portal for personal finance news and features.