Joseph D. Federico's Blog
When you’re relocating you search for a property and learn the real estate market in your new area. Are you also looking at what the general cost of living is in your new city? The cost of living can be very different from state to state and city to city. Here are some common daily expenses you may want to research as part of your relocation planning.
The cost of groceries and home goods can vary drastically from place to place. If you’re moving to a new city or state your general cost of goods may increase or decrease depending on where you move. This is a cost many people don’t consider when thinking about the affordability of a new area. The price of milk might be 50% more or even double the cost from where you live now. The same shampoo you purchase in California might be half of the cost in Arizona. A change in sales tax will also make a difference in what you pay for goods. To gather information about how this may impact you, check into a few retail stores in your target area (or online if you can’t be local) and make some price comparisons based on the products you purchase regularly.
Gas prices can make a difference to your monthly costs. On the coasts, prices can be as high as $4.00 or more per gallon, but in the Midwest and South prices can be under $2.00 a gallon. If you’re moving to a location where gas prices increase consider those additional fill-ups when determining what commute you can manage. Is it most cost-effective for you to live further away from your workplace in a less expensive home? Does it make more sense to find a home closer to work allowing for a shorter commute or the use of a public transportation option? Consider also the amount of time you’re willing to spend on your commute each day.
Food and Entertainment
The amount you spend on entertainment and dining each month may change when you move. In some places a higher minimum wage is set for service industry workers, so a lower tip percentage is common. In other locations the service industry wage is quite low, so a higher tip percentage is the norm. Explore the activities you enjoy while you house hunt to get a better idea of what differences you might experience in your new location.
Finally, the cost of general services can affect your bottom line. From your new hairdresser to housekeeping services to home repair companies you could see a change in pricing. If you frequently use these types of services or would like to, consider how the average cost for them fits into your monthly budget.
These cost differences may not seem like a big factor, but they can impact your monthly expenses. If you’re moving to a more affordable place you may save enough on basic goods and services that you can increase your mortgage budget. However, if you’re relocating to a city with a higher cost of living, you may need to revisit your monthly budget to see what you can really afford.
A lot changes when you move into a new home. For the first few weeks you’ll most likely be focused on getting everything arranged and put away in their proper locations. You’ll be adjusting to your new work commute, meeting the neighbors, finding out where to shop, and so on.
It’s easy to forget about updating your budget during the first couple of months in your new home. However, if you want to be mindful of your spending and gauge the true cost of living in your new home, it’s essential to start tracking expenses and creating your budget as soon as possible.
In this article, we’re going to show you how to make a new budget for your new home so that you can start accurately planning your long term finances. That way, you and your family can rest assured that you aren’t living above your means in your new home and can stop stressing about spending.
Cost of living changes
When most of us move we think about the change of our mortgage payments, property taxes, and home insurance. However, there are several smaller changes that will occur in your day-to-day spending habits that you might not think to update in your budget.
First off, make a note of how much you’re spending on transportation (whether it’s train fare or gas for your car) in your new home and adjust this on your budget. This is hard to predict before you move since you can’t be sure of the traffic patterns until your first trip to the office.
Next, make a list of your monthly services, including utilities. We’re talking about internet, cable, trash and recycling, heating and electricity, and so on. At the end of the first month, add each of those to your budget and decide if you want to spend less on any of them.
One surprise expense that many people have when they move is the cost of internet. Your old plan at your former residence might not cut it if you move to an area with different coverage.
Furnishing your new home
Even if you’re moving with most of your furniture and appliances, there will likely still be expenses that you’ll need to plan for in your new home.
It might be tempting to make all of these purchases at once so that you can feel like your move is “complete.” However, the best course of action is to include these items into your monthly budget so that you are prepared for emergency expenses.
Decide which items you need the most in your new home, and prioritize purchasing those on the first month. You’ll likely realize after just the first couple of nights in your new house which items you need now and which can wait.
Budgeting apps and tools
Everyone has their own preferred method of record-keeping. Some people keep their budget in a notebook or planner, whereas others like to use an app that they can access on their phone or laptop.
There are dedicated budgeting apps and web applications that link to your bank account and tell you how much left you can spend that month and if there is an issue with your budget. Several such apps are available for free in both Android and Apple app stores.
For a simpler budget, you can simply use the spreadsheet application of your choice (Excel, Numbers, and Google Sheets are all sufficient).
Regardless of what tool you use, make sure you check in on your budget frequently to ensure you’re sticking to it and making adjustments as needed.
- Window Treatments are one of the quickest, simplest and most affordable ways to change the whole look and feel of a room. If you prefer to take the focus away from the windows, choose neutral colors, and a simple style. If you would like to create a dramatic look and emphasize the view, choose more color or a bolder style in the window treatments. A layered look with sheers or a top treatment will also do the trick.
- Lighting can definitely add color. A simple solution would be to add colored bulbs to some of your light fixtures. Incandescent lighting can also add more warmth, and accent lighting can highlight an area of the room. Transform a room’s mood with dimmers, uplights, and sheer textile lampshades. Wall sconces, floor lamps and even candles can also change the look of a room.
- Artwork can change the look without busting the budget. Artwork can be from a local gallery, children’s drawings or just what you already have hanging around the house. Choose pieces that showcase intense colors but also work well with the existing pieces in your room. Try moving your current artwork around. Photos, vases, and other collectibles can give new life to a room. Group them in sets of three or five for an instant eye-catching display.