How to move as an expat without breaking the bank account
If you're an expat currently living in Germany and considering a move within the country, you're in the right place. Relocating doesn't have to be a financial burden. In this comprehensive guide by Boxie24 Storage, you'll learn practical tips to help make your move more affordable, and discover alternatives that can be even cheaper than hiring a moving company.
Planning ahead with a moving checklist
Before diving into the moving process, it's essential to create a detailed moving checklist. Start by setting a clear timeline for your move. Determine your ideal moving date and work backward to allocate tasks leading up to that date. This checklist should include the following tasks:
- Get rid of leftover food: Empty your refrigerator and cupboards of perishable items and any leftover food. Consider donating non-perishable items to a local food bank if feasible.
- Clean your old home: Before leaving, thoroughly clean your old home. This includes cleaning the floors, walls, appliances, and fixtures. It's a courteous gesture and can help ensure you receive your security deposit back if you're renting.
- Disassemble furniture: If you have furniture that needs disassembling, ensure you have the necessary tools and hardware. Pack screws and small parts in labelled bags to make reassembly easier at your new place.
- Unplug the fridge: Disconnect and defrost your refrigerator a day or two before moving. This prevents water leakage during transit and saves energy.
- Cancel or redirect pending deliveries: Ensure you cancel or redirect any mail, packages, or subscriptions to your new address. Inform your contacts, utility companies, and service providers of your upcoming move.
- Prepare for a final walkthrough with your landlord: If you're renting, schedule a final walkthrough with your landlord or property manager. Address any outstanding issues, document the condition of the property, and return keys if necessary.
Decluttering and downsizing
Moving is an excellent opportunity to declutter and downsize your belongings. Go through your possessions and decide what to keep, donate, or sell. Fewer items mean lower transportation costs, and selling unneeded items can even add to your moving budget.
There’s also the question of whether you should sell your old furniture or keep it. You should consider if selling your old furniture and buying new furniture for your new apartment is going to cost you more or less than paying for the transport and personnel needed to move it.
Budgeting is important, as moving can be expensive
Setting a budget for your move is crucial. Consider all potential expenses, such as:
- Hiring movers
- Renting a truck or booking transportation
- Packing materials
In Germany, the average cost for moving services starts at 500 euros and can go up to more than 4.000 euros. Yes, it’s expensive! But this is just an estimate; the price can vary depending on the distance and volume of items that you want to move.
Full-service storage is a popular expat choice
If you're in between homes or need temporary storage for your belongings during the moving process, you might want to consider full-service self-storage options. Many expats find this solution cost-effective and convenient.
The advantage of the full-service solution is that the company offering storage will do everything for you: they will come to pick up your things, store them in their facilities, and deliver them back to your new address when you ask for them. In many cases, it can work out cheaper than hiring a moving company.
You can get full-service storage services in Germany from as little as 30 euros per month, but you might have to pay extra fees for things like pickup or delivery, if you want to move a lot of items, or if you live on the second floor or above. This is the same as for moving companies.
Keep in mind that most full-service storage companies ask for a minimum of two months’ storage period when hiring their services, so you won’t be able to pay only for one month.
Are moving expenses tax deductible in Germany?
When you undergo a personal relocation, there are specific expenses that may be eligible for tax deductions. These expenses encompass payments made to the moving company and various services related to household relocation, among others. Notably, household-related services can account for up to 20 percent of the total relocation costs, capped at a maximum of 4.000 euros. To substantiate these deductible costs, it's often necessary to provide supporting documentation such as invoices, bank transfer records, or direct debit receipts.
In the typical scenario of relocating due to employment reasons, when your employer covers all or a portion of your relocation expenses, you are generally not permitted to claim tax deductions for those expenses. Tax deductions can typically be sought for items or services that you personally funded and incurred during the relocation process.
In any of the cases, you should consult with a tax advisor for personalised advice.
Relocating within Germany as an expat doesn't have to strain your finances. If you are one of the many expats who are considering a full-service storage solution to have a hassle-free moving experience, take a look at the storage solutions offered by Boxie24 Storage.