First Person: Self Storage Saved Us $7,500

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A recent MSN.com article by way of Wisebread.com promoted reasons why self-storage units can be a costly option. I might tend to agree with such logic were we just storing junk we didn't know what to do with. In our case though, since we were relocating to an area in which we'd never lived and we weren't sure it was a geographic region in which we wanted to stay, a self-storage unit actually ended up saving us money.

We found a self-storage unit extremely helpful to our particular situation. In fact, it may have helped us save nearly $7,500.

The Cost of our Unit

We rented a 10 x 10 x 10 ft. storage locker in a relatively safe area of Chicagoland for $101 per month. We were on a month-by-month payment structure but we paid six months rent up front since we were moving and any overpayment would be refundable if we cleared out the space before those six months were up. We ended up using the space for a total of 10 months, so we paid just over $1,000 total for the space. While this might sound like a lot at first, it actually paid off in the long run.

Our West Coast Adventure Savings

As I mentioned, we wanted to move from the Chicagoland area to explore the west coast. Since we'd never lived out west before, we wanted to take our time and make sure it was right for us before making a full on commitment. However, having a friend who is a professional mover, we called to get a quick cost estimate of how much it would cost to move our family's possessions. While it was nothing structured, he estimated the cost of our move out there based upon the furnishings that he had helped us move in previous relocations at around $3,000 to $4,000.

Rather than jumping the gun and paying him to move our stuff out there where we'd have to rent a storage locker anyway until we found a place to live anyway, we decided instead to put the majority of our furnishings in storage in the Chicagoland area. Then we loaded up our SUV with what we needed to live for several months while we stayed at my mother's house out west until we got a feel for the area.

It was a good thing we did this since we ended up moving back to the Chicago area after about six months for job and health insurance related purposes, which saved us not only the $3,000 to $4,000 to move our stuff out there, but the same amount to move it back or a total of between $6,000 and $8,000.

Moving Expenses Covered

While the $6,000 to $8,000 in moving cost savings would have been great in itself, having our storage locker upon our return to Chicago helped us to save in other ways as well. Once we got back, since we had the majority of our stuff in our storage locker, and since we could temporarily make camp at the in-laws' house, we could take our time while we looked for a place of our own, meaning we had greater leverage and negotiating power when it came time to make an offer on a home. Not only this though, but since our mover friend was busy and couldn't move us once we purchased our home, we ended up moving ourselves since we could make trips at our leisure back and forth between the storage locker and our new home. This likely saved us an additional $400 in labor and moving costs.

So, just because a self storage locker isn't right for one person's needs, doesn't necessarily mean it's always a waste of money or a poor decision.

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