Ready to move? Here is how to find the best insurance rates for your new home

Finding the best insurance rates

Whether you’re buying or renting a house at your new location, insurance is one of the most expensive costs you’ll have to deal with upfront. However, if you know the “ins and outs” of shopping for coverage, you’ll be able to get a great plan at an even better price. So, don’t think you have to just settle for mediocre coverage or pay a high premium when you purchase or rent a new home. Instead, follow these simple tips to find the best insurance coverage at an affordable price.

1. Bundle your coverage

Like any other company, insurance agencies want your business, and they are willing to give you a little incentive to get it. Most agencies do this by rewarding you with a better rate when you bundle multiple policies with them. In many cases, pairing your home or renters insurance and auto insurance with the same company can actually save you as much as 30 percent. In addition to those policies, many companies are even beginning to offer life insurance policies that can be bundled with your coverage to help you save even more. Bundling your policies isn’t only beneficial from a financial standpoint, though. Bundled policies typically simplify the claims and communication process, as it is the same for all of your policies.

2. Raise your deductible

Boosting your deductible is another way to save on your insurance premium. The deductible is the amount of the damage that you have to pay out-of-pocket before insurance kicks in in the event of a claim. Many policies with higher premiums are based on a $500 or $1,000 deductible. However, homeowners or renters who can afford to pay a little more out-of-pocket when filing a claim or who are willing to gamble that they won’t run into any issues may choose a deductible as high as $10,000 to save as much as 35 percent.

3. Update security

Most homeowners are aware that installing fire alarms and carbon monoxide sensors can lower their monthly insurance costs, but they may not realize that installing an advanced alarm system or otherwise improving the security of their home has an even bigger benefit. Alarm systems that are connected to a central monitoring system can often cut your premium by up to 10 percent, which is worth looking into as a new homeowner. And some systems may even cut your costs by as much as 20 percent, depending on what is included. While installing an alarm system may not really be an option if you are renting, you can still often get discounts on your policy for upgrading the locks on the door, improving the fire monitoring system, and taking additional measures to update the security of your rental property.

4. Shop around

Another great way to save on your new insurance premium is taking the time to shop around. Many new homeowners and renters are tempted to go with the first coverage they find in a hurry, but it really is to your advantage to get rates from at least three different companies to compare policies and rates. Make sure you’re getting a comparable quote from each company and compare the dollars and cents of each option.

5. Maintain a good credit rating

As you were looking for and finalizing your new home purchase or lease, you wanted your credit rating as high as possible. But, you might not have known that could also be beneficial for your insurance premium. Be sure to maintain good credit by paying your bills on time and avoiding a large balance on any of your credit cards to achieve a lower insurance premium.

Insurance is an important consideration when it comes to buying or renting a new home. From one location to the next, your premium could change significantly, so it’s important to take some time before you move to find the best insurance coverage and rate you can. Use these simple tips to secure the best coverage and have peace of mind as you move.

Michael Rogers, US Insurance AgentsAuthor
Michael Rogers is the Operations Director of USInsuranceAgents.com. With over 5 years of experience and knowledge in the insurance industry, Michael contributes his level of expertise as a leader and an agent to educate and secure coverage for thousands of clients.

Surviving your move: What to know about moving into your first apartment

Apartment moving pic

Written by Katie Peterson

At TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® we know moving can have its fair share of challenges. There’s the packing, the cleaning, and let’s not even mention move day itself. Moving into your first place is stressful, and apartment moving has its own set of headaches. Neighbors are more like roommates, there are a ton of rules and regulations while renting an apartment, and what about all those stairs? We’ve come up with some tips to help you survive your first apartment move.

Ask questions

-Ask the landlord about any concerns beforehand. Good questions to ask might include what kind of maintenance is available if something goes wrong in the apartment, how old the building is, and even questions about the previous tenants. Your landlord will love bragging about any new construction, and you will be making a more informed decision about your new place as a result.

-If you have a chance, talk to some of the current residents of the building while you are there. What do they think of the landlord? How are the other tenants in the apartment? This will help you make an informed decision about the apartment and give you a chance to introduce yourself to some of your future neighbors if you are already serious about renting.

Be prepared and organized

The actual move into your new apartment is all about being prepared and organized throughout the process. With these tips in mind, you’ll be ready for anything that comes your way.

Before your move:

-Make sure to bring paper documentation to your lease signing. This might include proof of employment or a copy of your lease with highlighted areas you might have questions on. Especially in competitive markets where multiple tenants are looking to rent, it pays to be prepared! This will also give your landlord a good idea of your trustworthiness and ability to bring important documents in on time (like your rent).

-Schedule a walk-through of the apartment with your landlord before you move in. This is a good opportunity to take photos of the condition of the apartment for reference when you are negotiating your security deposit. The photos can also be used to ensure you took care of the apartment when you eventually move out and want your deposit back.

-Measure the dimensions of your new apartment before you buy furniture or bring in items you already own. This will save you the headache of having to return any items that won’t fit, and the backache of your movers trying to fit the furniture through the door. Important spots to measure include the area for a washer and dryer and the nook for your refrigerator (if you have to supply them), tight doorways, and wall space for seating.

On move day:

-First things first, clean every nook and cranny of your new apartment! Scrub all those places you won’t ever be able to get to once your furniture is moved in, and even the places you will. It will save time and energy later in the day when all you have to do is a quick trip around the apartment with the vacuum.

-Schedule a timeframe to move into your new place at a reasonable and respectable time. The earlier, the better! Make sure you have enough time to finish moving in before residents in your apartment building are thinking about going to sleep. Your neighbors will appreciate meeting you during daylight hours as opposed to when they are complaining about the noise in their pajamas.

-Schedule any big items you’ve purchased to be delivered on separate days or spaced apart on the day of your move. Items such as mattresses and large furniture pieces will have their own deliveries and can create inconveniences on move-in day if arriving all at once. The day after your move, or a few hours after the movers have gone, are good times to schedule these deliveries to ensure the elevators and parking lots aren’t crowded and remain accessible to other tenants.

Be friendly and considerate

-This probably goes without saying, but be friendly! Introduce yourself to your surrounding neighbors. Even if you don’t go around knocking on your neighbors’ doors be sure to say “hi” in passing or on the elevator. You might make new friends, or at the very least, get to know their names in case their mail ends up in your box by accident.

-Make sure your landlord knows who you are and has a face to go with your name. It will be useful for him/her to know you in case you have a maintenance problem or you are a few days late on the rent. A little effort will ensure your landlord knows you as more than just a name on a check.

-Be considerate of the noise level and your activities at certain hours. Bouncing a basketball in your room on the third floor is never a good idea, especially if it’s at three o’clock in the morning.

Moving into your own apartment for the first time can be exciting, scary, and stressful all wrapped up in one. Making preparations beforehand, staying organized, and being considerate of your neighbors are great ways to help you survive your first apartment move!

What advice do you have for moving into your first apartment? We’d like to hear! Like us on Facebook for more helpful tips and updates. TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® is the first and largest franchised moving company in the United States. Let us help move you forward!

Easy ways to add green upgrades to your home

Home recycling center

You’ve just moved, so you want to start things off on a fresh slate with a brand new commitment to making your new place more environmentally-friendly. But after the torturous process of staging and selling, packing and unpacking, who wants to spend a bunch of time on complicated or pricey projects?

Luckily, many of the most beneficial home upgrades only require a few, easy-breezy changes —installing a new door or putting in a water filtration center, for instance. Let’s take a look at some of the simplest, fuss-free ways to give your home a green makeover.

Install a smart thermostat

Energy experts have long known that programmable thermostats could save homeowners beaucoup bucks — and plenty of energy to boot. The problem is they were often programmed incorrectly (or not at all!), so those energy savings wound up largely as missed opportunities. But now, many smart thermostats “learn” your behavior and tailor energy use to optimize efficiency while still keeping things comfortable, alerting you to fluctuations in temperatures in real-time that can affect energy expenses.

Why you should do it: It could save you a potential 1,785 kWh per year on your energy bills, according to initial industry estimates.

Swap out your front door

Homes lose a lot of energy to air leaks — and sometimes that energy escapes right out the front door, quite literally. Hollow metal and wooden exterior doors are far less efficient than their insulated steel or fiberglass counterparts, which have a polyurethane foam core that protects your home from the elements. That sturdy center keeps out the wind and chill, but it also moderates temperatures during the summer months as well, so you’ll save energy throughout the whole year. Plus, there’s nothing like a fresh new entryway to make a dramatic entrance into the next phase of your life.

Why you should do it: Not only do air leaks waste energy, they also allow more moisture to penetrate the frame, which could cause structural damage and even rotting!

Repaint using VOC-free products

If you’re planning on swapping out your home’s hues for a brand new shade, consider this: you may also be pouring toxic chemicals into the air you breathe every day. Many interior paints, thinners, and finishes contain what are known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which emit gasses that have been tentatively linked to a number of health problems, including asthma and even cancer, according to the EPA. Thankfully, many paint makers are now wise to this issue and offer VOC-free alternatives to their traditional offerings, so you can keep the air in your home clean and clear.

Why you should do it: Many states are already making moves to ban toxic chemicals like methylene chloride, perchloroethylene, and trichloroethylene, which may appear in paint thinners.

Set up a recycling center

An overstuffed bin waiting to be carried out to the curb definitely takes the thrill out of recycling, and it can be a real eyesore, too. Not exactly what you want your neighbors to see when you give them the tour! I love the idea of creating your own mini-recycling center in a drawer pullout below the counter — it will also save you some space if your kitchen is less than roomy, as well. No matter how you choose to do it, gussying up your recycling area with separate bins for sorting different materials will definitely help drum up the motivation to properly pitch your waste.

Why you should do it: According to Columbia University’s Earth Institute, only about 6.5 percent of the 33.6 million tons of plastic used annually by Americans is recycled.

Purchase a water filtration system

Americans are addicted to their water bottles. We each use an average 167 recyclable plastic bottles a year, and about 80 percent of those go into landfills, rather than recycling centers. But tap water doesn’t exactly have the best rep, either. Although the vast majority of tap water is considered safe, in small areas where public utilities are cash-strapped, water quality may not even meet the EPA’s federal requirements. If you have questions about your new water, you should always check with your public water system, but in most cases, our squeamishness over drinking from the tap is just a matter perception. Instead of opting for wasteful (and expensive!) water bottles, try installing a water filtration system on your sink so you can kick the plastic bottle habit for good.

Why you should do it: Not only are all those bottles piling up in our landfills, some of them are skipping the waste processing all together and ending up in our oceans — 10 metric tons of plastic are dragged into the Pacific each day, according to some estimates. That’s a lot of trash, but just by implementing a very small change, you can make sure at least some of that waste is diverted.

 

Erin Vaughan, ModernizeErin Vaughan is a blogger, gardener and aspiring homeowner. She currently resides in Austin, TX where she writes full time for Modernize.com, with the goal of empowering homeowners with the expert guidance and educational tools they need to take on big home projects with confidence.

Making moves in the COPA América Centenario

Written by Mark List

I’ve worked for TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® the last three years, the first two as an intern,

Mark List, TWO MEN AND A TRUCK International
Mark List, DOT and Fleet Safety Specialist

and this past year full-time after graduating from Grand Valley State University where I was collegiate runner in cross country and track. Sports had always been a staple in my life, and for many years I had participated in soccer. So when I was approached about helping coordinate efforts for COPA America Centenario, as TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® was contracted to provide trucks to transport the competing teams’ equipment to and from the airport during their stay throughout 10 different cities across the U.S., I jumped at the opportunity!

For the first time in its 100 year history, the COPA America Centenario was hosted in the U.S. Throughout the 10 cities, 16 men’s soccer teams played 32 matches during the month of June. Nearly 1.5 million fans came together over the duration of the tournament, averaging more than 46,000 in attendance at each game.

Camping World Stadium, Orlando, FL
TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® pictured at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, FL during the COPA America Centenario!

As part of my TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® coordination duties for the tournament, I “lived” in a hotel and worked in Chicago at the COPA America Centenario headquarters on Michigan Avenue for two weeks. With my “day job” as a DOT and Fleet Safety Specialist at the TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® corporate office, I had gotten used to traveling and life in hotels, but being 15 stories up on the north side of Chicago overlooking Lake Michigan was a pretty great start to this experience.

One of the first things I had to do upon my arrival in Chicago was meet with Delta Airline’s corporate team, and the head of security for both of Chicago’s airports, Midway International and O’Hare International. This meeting was to discuss standard safety procedures for entering and exiting the tarmacs, not only in Chicago, but across the country. This meeting was the first time I really saw the enormous effort it would take from our teams in each city. The expectations were already high, but at TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® our mission statement holds us to a higher standard!

It was at this point I actually stepped foot on the tarmac with Lauren Munson, marketing coordinator for our Chicago franchises. We were walked through how to get onto the tarmac, expectations of our drivers, and exiting the tarmac. Little did I know, in a few days I would be out greeting Team USA and assisting our move team onto the tarmac to load all of their equipment!

TWO MEN AND A TRUCK Chicago moving for COPA América Centenario
TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® Chicago crew members Jeff and Ethan working to move team equipment during the COPA América Centenario soccer tournament!

Overall, COPA went very smoothly for TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® due to the hard work of our franchisees, managers, movers, and drivers. Without their dedication and positive attitudes, this event wouldn’t have been as successful as it was.

I’m very thankful I had the opportunity to work with these franchises and develop several friendships within our system, as well as outside. It was an amazing experience on all fronts, and let’s be honest, how many jobs allow you to watch elite level soccer matches as a true facet of your position? I want to say thank you again to all the franchises for supporting me and making it an easy few weeks of coordination with TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® and the COPA tournament, the Transportation Team including Rich, Lisa, Gina, Mark, Jen, Maria, and Lou for a memorable experience in Chicago, and lastly, TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®/International, Inc., for setting me up for success and putting me in a position to learn and grow from various experiences I’ve had during my time with the company!

Mark List - COPA Transportation Team
Mark List with the Transportation Team in Chicago!

For more photos during our time moving teams throughout the tournament, view our Facebook album!

TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® is the first and largest franchised moving company in the United States. For more information or to learn about opportunities in becoming a franchisee at TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® visit franchise.twomenandatruck.com to begin moving your career forward!

Moving with kids: avoid the moving day blues

TMAT306

Written by Katie Peterson

In movies, it always seems like moving is just about the worst news a kid can hear. Boxes are packed, the sad music plays, and it starts raining just as the car pulls out of the driveway, right past the “sold” sign in the front yard. But moving with kids does not have to be a dramatic movie plot-twist. Here’s how to help your kids avoid the moving blues and maybe even have a little fun along the way!

Before the move

Move meeting

Conduct a family “move meeting” to talk about the process and ease their nerves about the move. The more your children feel involved in the decision making, the less they will feel like they are being forced to do something they don’t want to do. Create a moving day plan so they may check off the events as they happen. For example, 1. Movers arrive, 2. Truck is all loaded up, 3. Drive to new house … and so on.

Start planning their new room

Help your child plan their new room setup and design. Take your child to the new place and have them talk about where they want to put their furniture or what color they want to paint their walls. This will help build up their excitement and give them fun decisions to make.

New owner letter

Sit down with the whole family and write a letter to the new owners of your home. This can be a fun and memorable experience for everyone. Tell the family moving in why the house is special and what they need to know going in, such as the first bedroom being the best room for making forts or the neighbor’s cat Frisky often wanders toward the apple blossom tree in the back yard. The family will have fun remembering stories while you write and the new owners will love the personal instruction guide.

During the move

Put them to work!

Assign age-appropriate tasks for the kids. Utilize those extra helping hands! Older kids might be able to help label or tape boxes while younger kids help wipe down tables or clean windows. Make a game out of these mini tasks by awarding winners for the fastest packer or the most rooms vacuumed.

“Day of move” box

Pack a “Day of Move” box for each child to keep their favorite small items with them. Packing all of your belongings into boxes and putting them in the back of a moving truck can feel overwhelming, especially when you don’t quite understand where your stuff will end up. Your child might even like Truckie’s moving journal to write down some of their thoughts about the move to keep with them. If your kids have some of their favorite things, they will feel more comfortable with the rest of their belongings being packed .

After the move

Go exploring

Explore your new neighborhood! Once your tennis shoes are finally unpacked, take a stroll around the neighborhood with the kids. This will be a great opportunity to get familiar with the area and maybe meet some of your neighbors.

It’s all about attitude

Stay positive and keep your excitement up. Make sure your kids know how happy you are to be in the new house. Your kids will feed off of your energy and how you are reacting to the move, so if you are positive and excited about it, chances are they will be, too!

Moving with kids can be tough, but with the right preparation and a positive mindset, you can make moving with your kids a memorable adventure.

TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® is the first and largest franchised moving company in the United States. Let us help move you forward! For more helpful tips and information on moving services subscribe to our blog and like us on Facebook.

7 toy storage solutions that will save your sanity

Playing

Whether through a few too many well-meaning gifters or by your own hand, you may have reached a point where there are too many toys and something needs to be done. There are several benefits to downsizing and better storing your children’s toys, from encouraging creativity to simplifying your life. If this sounds good to you, here are some tried-and-true dos and don’ts to get you started.

DO:

Rotate toys

Consider packing away toys that aren’t played with as much. Every few weeks, make a point to rotate them back in and pack away another few toys. Make sure when you do this that you are involving your child in these decisions. According to Dr. Kim John Payne, “An avalanche of toys invites emotional disconnect and a sense of overwhelm.” Playful Learning actually has this down to a science, spinning off a ton of reasons you’re going to love it, including fewer sibling fights, easier cleanup, and deeper engagement with the toys that remain.

If you’re in need of storage for toys in rotation, TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® provides a variety of boxes ranging in size to fit any toy you’ve got!

Get crafty

Making toy storage into a DIY project has the added benefit of giving you a chance to get crafty. If you enjoy that sort of thing, this can be a fun activity you can even get the kids involved in. Bianca over at Cute DIY Projects shares more than 30 of her favorite toys storage ideas for crafty moms, including arty wooden crates, a toy box on wheels, and toy sacks for quick picking up on-the-go.

Upcycle household items

Repurpose used items around the home instead of throwing them away. Not only will this help get your toy situation in order, it’s good for the environment and saves you money. Common items to consider include planters, coffee tins, baby wipe containers, paint cans, and mason jars. Slap on some paint or fancy paper and you’ve got custom-made home storage without spending a bundle.

Get smart about space

Ottomans with hollowed out insides for storage are your best friend. Not only can they enhance the decorative appeal of the home, you also are maximizing your space. Using hanging storage is another way to maximize limited space. Combine your crafty and upcycling skills to deliver a triple threat of hanging toy storage that’s cute, crafty, and green!

 

DON’T:

Buy containers without planning

Before heading out and stocking up on containers, take inventory of what needs to be contained. For example, is it a small-toy situation that could use a sack? Are there too many stuffed animals, something a stuffed animal hammock could solve? Making a list and customizing your storage solutions will not just save you money, it will save you the insanity of having a bunch of unused containers floating around adding to the clutter.

Take a one-size-fits-all approach

Different containers serve different purposes. It’s a common mistake to buy a bunch of storage containers that are all the same size and use them for everything. Instead, try to diversify. Some popular examples of toy storage types include steel trunks and storage baskets. Wall organizers, hanging baskets, under-the-bed storage, and caddies also are popular choices.

Forget your audience

While organization is great, don’t forget your audience! When plotting your toy storage solutions, ensure the toys you want your children to access can be safely and easily accessed. In addition to considering physical constraints, think of ways to make it fun so that your kids will want to play along. This could be in the form of a storage crate or sack custom to each kid, or a chalkboard toy box they’ll want to use again and again!

 

Content developed in association with The Parham Group and Noah’s Ark Self Storage.

What movers can’t move

Written by Jessy Howe

The last thing you’ll want to run into come moving day, is learning a handful of items in your home are ones your movers are unable to move. To avoid being in a situation where you’re left to move certain items on your own, we recommend speaking with your movers in advance so you know ahead of time what the crew may not be able to transport to your new home. This way, you have plenty of time to make other arrangements for these particular items and there are no surprises on moving day.

At TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®, there are few items we are unable to move due to certain rules and regulations. Federal law bans moving companies from the transportation of any hazardous materials including propane, paint, antifreeze, or ammunition to name a few. This means items that have gas in them such as lawnmowers and grills are also prohibited. Other items we are unable to move include food, money, jewelry, living things including plants and animals, and other sentimental items.

As the Movers Who Care®, we have your best interest in mind and make it our goal to provide you a top notch move. Watch our animated video below for a detailed list and to prepare for a successful move!

For a complete list of items movers are unable to move, please contact your local TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® office!

Be sure to like us on Facebook and subscribe to our blog for more helpful tips and updates. TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® is the first and largest franchised moving company in the United States. Let us help move you forward!

TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®’s busiest move weekend is quickly approaching!

Written by Katie Peterson

 

TWO MEN AND A TRUCK's busiest move weekend

While most summer-lovers are looking forward to a relaxing weekend away from work, our teams at TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® are gearing up for our busiest time of year. On Saturday, June 25 and Sunday, June 26, TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® will experience its busiest weekend of the year, totaling 5,400 moves across the country in just those two days. This averages out to about 21 moves per franchise or three moves each minute! We cannot wait to get started, as this will be a great opportunity to move so many of our customers forward on to the next chapters of their lives.

As exciting as this is, we also know how stressful the moving process can be. Because of this, we have helpful tips and tricks to make your experience the best it can be. Together, we can ensure our busiest weekend of the year is also the best weekend of the year.

Get (and stay!) organized

We want to ensure you are prepared and ready for us when we arrive, and we know just how to help make sure that happens!

  • Pack and label your boxes according to which room they will go in at the new place and have them in a centralized location when the movers arrive. This will make it easier on you and on your movers for unloading and unpacking.
  • Make sure all appliances and electronics are unplugged before we arrive. You also may want to take a photo or make a note of how your electronics are set up before you unplug and pack. This will save you time later and maybe even a call to the cable guy.
  • Be sure your movers have enough space to move! Not only inside your home but outside as well. It’s important your movers have adequate parking for the moving truck near your driveway or entrance, and that walkways are clear to avoid trip hazards.

Being organized is important! If you take these steps beforehand, you’ll be sure to come out ahead.

Keep communication open with your movers

With more than 30 years of experience in the moving industry, there isn’t much we haven’t seen at TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®. It is important to communicate with us throughout all aspects of your moving process so we can provide you the best experience possible.

“Even if you don’t know the exact day of your move, calling in early and giving us an idea makes things easier. This gives us an opportunity to create more options to fit the needs of your move,” said TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® Boise General Manager Chris Jones.

The more communication we can have with our customers, the faster and easier the job will go, and the quicker you can be settled into your new place. Even after your move, keep in touch! We love to hear reviews of things we did well or even things we can improve on for our future moves.

Try not to stress

We’ve got this! Our professionally trained movers have the muscle and experience to handle your moving stress, and we are here to exceed your expectations. This is an exciting time for you and we want you to enjoy it. In the end, all you should have to worry about is how you’re going to decorate your new place. Even with this busy weekend ahead we are excited and inspired by the sheer amount of families we will be able to help and interact with, and we are well-prepared for the challenge. With your help and participation, we are looking forward to this fun adventure!

Like us on Facebook for more helpful tips and updates. TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® is the first and largest franchised moving company in the United States. Let us help move you forward!

 

Moving day essentials – what to pack

Written by Jessy Howe

Moving Day Essentials

Feelings of excitement to finally arrive at your new home mixed with an inkling of stress to complete the tasks of moving day can be overwhelming! We’ll do the heavy lifting, but we do have a tip to make your day run smoothly – pack an essentials bag for the day of your move!

It sounds so simple but can easily be forgotten with the number of other to-dos being taken care of on moving day. Set aside one bag, or box, and keep it with you throughout the duration of your move. This box should contain anything you feel is essential to have on the day of your move. If you need a day of the move box, ask your local TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®! Here are our suggestions to get you started.

Snacks

Chances are you’ll have cleared out your refrigerator by moving day and may not have time, or items unpacked, to prepare a meal in your new house right away. Keep granola bars, fruit, bottled water, and other packaged snacks with you to stay fueled.

Medication

Place any prescription drugs in your bag of essentials to ensure you know where they are at all times in case of a medical emergency.

Paper products

Imagine arriving at your new home to realize you’ve forgotten a key essential – toilet paper! In addition, bringing along paper plates, plastic silverware, cups, napkins, and trash bags will be useful if kitchen supplies are still boxed up.

Toiletries

Keep items such as a toothbrush, toothpaste, travel shampoo and conditioner, towels, and soap with you to freshen up upon arriving.

Tech needs

Avoid misplacing your phone, computer, or any other chargers you’ll need. Put them in your essentials box!

Important papers

We recommend keeping important documents including birth certificates, passports, and other information in a safe place on moving day. This can include a few boxes you choose to transport yourself, or a locked safe loaded onto the moving truck.

Change of clothes

Trust us, you may want a change of clothes with you, especially if you’re moving and organizing during the hot, summer months!

What would you deem a day of move essential? We’d like to know! Like us on Facebook for more helpful tips and updates. TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® is the first and largest franchised moving company in the United States. Let us help move you forward!

7 tips for making a move without derailing your 2016 budget

Stay on budget during your move

Moving can be very stressful. Aside from hauling heavy furniture, balancing cardboard boxes full of fragile items, and struggling to stay organized amidst all the chaos, moving between homes can also be financially demanding. An unexpected major expense can really derail your yearly budget.

There are ways to keep spending under control, however. If you have an upcoming move in 2016, use these tips to prepare yourself so you don’t feel the sting of excessive moving expenses.

1. Change your mindset

Treat your home budget as if you were running a business. Not only will you take money more seriously, but you’ll discover plenty of new ways to look at spending. To start, make sure all major expenses are justified by weighing the total cost against the potential returns. Develop a reserve fund in case some element of the move goes amiss. Pay close attention to each expenditure, and eliminate those that aren’t working.

When you treat your family finances as if you were a professional accountant, you’ll quickly find yourself more prepared for any unexpected moving expenses that may arise.

2. Cut costs wherever possible

If keeping your move costs as low as possible is a top priority there are ways to minimize the expense. If you plan on keeping the same phone and internet services, then you can take your equipment with you. You can pack your belongings yourself, schedule a shut off date for utilities to avoid paying for time you are no longer there, cancel or forward any magazine and news subscriptions, and be sure to be ready when the movers arrive.

Not only should you cut costs that directly relate to the move, but also those that arise indirectly as a result of the move. It may be tempting to eat out or take quick sightseeing excursions when you’re in transit, for example, but those options cost more money than making sandwiches and playing board games in the hotel.

3. Get quotes from more than one reputable mover

Every moving company has different rates, and some of them are much higher than others. Do keep in mind that cheaper isn’t necessarily better and you will get what you pay for. The most important part is understanding what you are buying, what is included in the rate. Conveniently many companies such as TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® offer free online estimates but you’re always welcome to call. Be cautious when considering nonprofessional movers, as scammers and thieves abound. A truckload of lost or stolen belongings will end up costing you much more than the services of a reputable company. Take the time to read reviews of the company and ask friends or family who have used the movers how their experience was.

4. Predict major upcoming expenses

Factor your moving expenses in with any big ticket purchases you plan to make throughout the year. Being aware of upcoming costs can help you to shift things around in your budget enough that you won’t have to scramble for extra money at the last minute.

If your schedule allows, booking your move on a weekday versus weekend is typically cheaper as there is more demand for moving on the weekend. If you have the flexibility, you may also consider timing your move to fall during a less financially stressful time of year.

5. Track your finances using an app

Budgets can be hard to follow, especially when you’re juggling receipts and bank statements. By using an app to simplify the process, you’ll be able to review your budget more often and stick to it more naturally.

Mint is one such financial tracking app that makes it easy to keep tabs on your income and expenses. You can easily create budgets and get a bird’s eye view of where your money is going, as well as manage your bills and monthly expenses.

6. Take only what you need

Moving can be a great incentive to do some spring cleaning, and getting rid of unnecessary possessions can make your move easier and cheaper. Take the opportunity to do a large eBay sale or an old-fashioned yard sale to recoup some of your expenses. You may find that the money you make can heavily subsidize your moving costs.

If you can’t sell all your unneeded items, donate the rest to charity and claim a deduction on your yearly taxes to save even more.

7. Claim work relocation expenses on your tax return

On the note of deductions, the IRS may allow you to claim a moving deduction if you are moving for employment. As long as the distance from your old home to your new workplace is at least 50 miles greater than the distance from your old home to your old workplace, you’ll likely qualify.

This deduction applies to all reasonable moving expenses, including the cost of the move, hiring a professional moving service, and insuring your possessions. You can also deduct several other expenses, including the cost of temporary lodging or the cost of storing your possessions at a facility.

With a little time and careful planning, you can ensure a smooth, successful transition to your new home without breaking the bank.

Alice Williams, AT&TAlice Williams is a digital communications expert for AT&T with an MA in Communication Studies. She writes extensively on communication, business and tech and is currently based in Salt Lake City.