Thursday, May 10, 2007


That is what the transcontinental move cost me. Not bad, if I do say so myself.

Here's the breakdown, for anyone who's interested:
  • $999.11: Shipping costs from the post office and UPS; altogether I sent 58 boxes (at an average cost of $17.23) to Oregon. That might sound like a lot of stuff, but they were usually pretty small boxes, as I was mostly sending books. I lovingly carried most of them in my little rolling "granny cart" the three-quarters of a mile to the post office (where I would wait in line 30-45 minutes each time) or six blocks to the UPS store. The only exceptions were the final 11 boxes, the bulk of my CD collection, for which I arranged a ground pick-up. All 58 boxes arrived, with the notable exception of #14, which apparently succombed to the rigors of being transported across the country by media mail through the postal service. No word yet on the missing contents.

  • $823.71: The rental car, including taxes and fees, for a full 7 days. I had a nice, dark red Dodge Grand Caravan, which easily accommodated everything I decided to bring but not ship. It was a comfortable, easy ride. If you're interested in renting a car for a cross-country drive, you can probably get something decent for as little as $450, but obviously I needed the maximum amount of cargo space.

  • $352.99: Gas. Oof. Well, good thing I went when I did. Right now gas in the Portland area is going for as high as $3.49/gallon, so I guess I got off relatively lucky. The Dodge got about 26 mpg in the flat, open places, and 21 mpg going through the mountains in Montana.

  • $310.52: Motels for six nights. Here I think I did pretty well. It helps to have low standards (and also to get military discounts). There aren't many places in New York City you can stay for even one night at that price. All of them were pretty decent, but I really couldn't recommend the Guesthouse Inn in Spokane by the airport.

  • $259.16: Food and miscellaneous. This figure is too low, probably by $150 or so. I'm sure there's about $60 in packing materials from Staples that I didn't record in my ledger, and also I didn't keep up with all the cash receipts from McDonald's/BurgerKing/Dairy Queen/etc. during the drive itself.
I think I made the best choice for myself. The initial moving quotes I got ran about $3,000, but those were probably low, first because they always are (to get your business) and second because I'm sure I underestimated how much crap I had, now that I've seen how much I threw out or gave away. So, $3,000 or so would have gotten all my stuff here and would have saved me, according to my ledger, nine trips to the post office and five trips to UPS, but it wouldn't have gotten me and the cats to Portland. By the way, mad props to the staff at the UPS Store on W. 181st Street, those guys are awesome, some of the absolute best customer service to be found in the entire city. Nine trips to the post office means I spent somewhere between 5 and 6 hours standing in line there. Ugh.

Neither U-Haul nor anyone else will let you rent an actual cargo van (one of those nice Ford Econoline things) one-way; they are all in-city only. The cheapest truck U-Haul will let you have on a one-way rental is the 10-footer, which was quoted to me at $2,700 for a week. This truck gets 12 mpg, which would have doubled my gas costs. Also, they don't go real fast, so it probably would have necessitated an additional night on the road.

The bill for the credit card on which I put most of this came in yesterday. I've been saving and planning for a long time, so it felt nice just to write a check and be done with it. Paid in full.

Now, I just need to buy new furniture. Hello, debt! Whoo!


Jade said...

Wow... you are detailed.

I far prefer going to a UPS store or something of that kind over going to the actual Post Office... even at the height of the Christmas shipping season the line for those places isn't ever more than 2 people. The only reason to go to the post office is if you have to have the package actually leave TONIGHT (using the mail places usually adds a day to shipping if you're going USPS, since the post office has to come and get your stuff)

Silus Grok said...

When I take road trips, I stay at Motel 6 — I have their directory in my glove compartment. They're everywhere, and I appreciate their no-nonsense pricing ($35–$55).

Just curious: why didn't you have UPS pick-up all the boxes?

Also, if you have the money in the bank, I'm surprised you didn't pay the bill off over 3 months to give a boost to your credit rating (I'm not an expert, but my understanding is that caring a sizeable balance and paying it off quickly, but not immediately, makes creditors happy).

: )

Andy said...

Media mail (for books, CDs, and videos) is significantly cheaper than the UPS Ground rate, and is actually a pretty good deal. I couldn't really have all the boxes picked up because, until I was done packing, I had no idea how many there were going to be; plus, UPS charged $10/box to pick them up. That was fine for the last set, because they were pretty heavy.

I love Motel 6, but was only able to stay at the one in Mitchell, SD. There aren't any in western Pennsylvania, and I didn't make it to Rockford, IL on Day 2. I forget why I didn't stay in one in Billings; the one in Spokane did not have wi-fi access, and I know how you, my dear readers, depended on daily updates. : )

Andy said...

Oh, re: the credit card. I just didn't want to accrue the finance charges. I'm still paying off the new Mac and the digital camera, and I'll have to finance the furniture.

Silus Grok said...


Well there you go.


Andy said...

PS, I don't understand this whole credit rating nonsense. I had my credit score checked right before I moved, just to make sure I wouldn't have any trouble getting an apartment, etc., and my score is "excellent." : )

Just why it is that someone is careful enough to plan and budget for a major expense like a move so that they are able to pay for it without incurring debt or having to pay interest should be detrimental to a credit rating is just silly.

The credit report's advice to improve my score said I had too many credit cards and not enough debt. Well, debt's on the way...LOL.

Andy said...

Clarification: I didn't mean that your comment was silly or off-base, I mean that I think "credit ratings" are bizarre.

Brechi said...

I lost a box of books in Media Mail also!!! Contents never to be heard from again :(

Gino said...

all this expense, but the trip was priceless.

Hybee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Elizabeth said...

Oops--I didn't realize my daughter was logged in--I'll delete and try that one again. :-)

There are *great* consignment shops in the area--the one we went with, that has very good quality used furniture is Consignments Northwest (or is it Northwest Consignments?) in Beaverton. On....Allen? I don't remember--one of those major streets off of 217. They deliver for a flat fee, no matter how much stuff you buy. On the east side, there's Rerun, which sells lots of good stuff. We bought our dining table there. A little more funky than Consignments NW.