Moving Expenses – Paying Bills On Time & Avoiding New Fees

October 30, 2008

When you’re caught up in the mayhem of a big move, the thought of setting up a new utility account or closing out a cable bill may be one of the last things on your mind. It seems there are always additional expenses when closing out old accounts and opening up new ones, and many of us blindly pay the fees tacked on to new bills. My wife incurred quite a few extra fees during our move, and the current utility company was a bunch of jerks, and they wouldn’t work with us. Here are a few tips to easily transfer your life from one city to another without incurring many expenses.

Request a mail transfer online.

If you’re local post office is not convenient to get to, you can go onto and make a request to transfer your mail from one address to another for only a $1.00. It’s really convenient and very cheap. It’s free to transfer your mail if you fill out the paper form, but I find that the $1.00 is worth the convenience. You want to make sure your transfer your mail right away so you don’t miss any bills and end up owing late fees.

Avoid putting down a deposit on a new utilities account.

Our new utilities company in Orlando slapped a $165.00 deposit fee onto our first bill. We had never paid a deposit on our utilities in the past, so I called them up and asked if they would accept letters of reference from our old utilities company. They refused, so I was stuck putting down the deposit.

However, some companies will accept a letter of reference from your past utility company showing that you have a history of paying on time. If at all possible try to avoid putting down deposits with utilties companies, it’s easy to forget about collecting this money years down the road when you’re in the middle of a big move.

Avoid Paying Service Initiation Fees.

Again, our utilities company tried to slap us a service initiation fee, but we got this waived after a long conversation about how they didn’t do anything to warrant charging this fee. Bright House, which has been a GREAT cable company for us so far, did not charge any set-up fees when they came out to set up our cable. Many companies will try to slip these fees in on your first bill, but call up their customer service line and try to get them waived.

Find a new bank with a no fee checking account.

We use Bank of America largely for the fact that we can move anywhere in the southeast and have a BOA branch next to us. We aren’t the biggest fans of Bank of America for a variety of reasons, but the convenience and the free checking account keeps us there. If you need to move away from your local bank that doesn’t have a branch in your new city, you can check out the local credit unions in your new city. They typically have no-fee, no-nonsense banking principles.

With the squeeze of the economy, finding ways to save money has become more important than ever. Moving can be a big expense, and the last thing you want happening is to get slapped with big fees from your new utility or cable company. If you have more ideas for saving, comment below.


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Erik Folgate is a husband and father living in Orlando who's been writing about money online for 6 years. Digging himself out of $20k of debt after college and his former experience in the insurance industry give him some useful insights into personal finance issues.

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2 Responses to Moving Expenses – Paying Bills On Time & Avoiding New Fees

  • Emily

    I’m skeptical about doing the mail transfer online. I went to Europe for two weeks this summer and requested the mail be held online, and the USPS totally screwed it up. It has made me not want to do online business with them anymore and just do it in person to make sure it is done right. But I think it’s definitely worth it to try to avoid those utility deposits — they are a killer! Love the idea of getting recs from past utility companies. I had never thought of doing that before.


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