Wishes And Pixie Dust

Follow the journey of a Wisconsin family of 4 who relocated to the Walt Disney World area in July 2011


The Cost of Relocation

While the kids are enjoying some pool time, we thought it would be a perfect time to put up a new post.  This is one of the moments that kept inspiring us forward during the not-so-fun packing moments of the past several months:  sitting underneath palm trees using the computer while the kids enjoy swimming in the pool.  Yea, life is good.

One of the questions we’ve been asked is how much money do you need to relocate to Florida.  This is a decision your family will need to make, depending upon your circumstances, but we’ll share what our expenses have been for our relocation.

Boxes.  Whether you use a professional moving company or plan to move yourself, you will need boxes.  We were fortunate enough to have Mayflower give us a stash of free boxes, Nick brought home several from work, as well as obtaining a few on Freecycle.  We ended up only spending $10 on boxes, but this could well have cost us hundreds.  Our advice is to start collecting boxes now, because you will underestimate how many you need, and better to have too many than have to pay for them as your move gets closer.  We ended up having 288 items packed on to the moving truck, and most of those were boxes.

Paper to stuff the boxes.   We opted to purchase end rolls of paper from our local newspaper company, for $2 a roll.  We estimate we’ve spent $90 for this.  You can elect to use newspaper to stuff boxes, but you risk the newsprint transferring to your items.  We had no problem using newsprint for local moves, but felt for a week on a moving truck it might be best not to use that option.

Packing tape.    We didn’t keep track of how much packing tape we used, but it was a lot.  It easily surpassed one hundred dollars, as towards the end we were using four rolls a week, and at $5 per roll, it adds up quickly.

Moving Truck.   We chose to use professional movers for a long distance move.  We have always used U-Haul in the past, and it was always totally exhausting and always took hours and hours longer than we expected.   That is not the experience we wanted this time. We wanted to go with a reputable company, as some moving companies will under quote and then hold your goods until you pay what they demand.  We paid $3400, all based on weight, so the more you dispose of, the cheaper your move will be.

Housing Costs.  Our experience is based on apartment living costs.  We paid a $149 non-refundable fee to apply for residence living as well as $100 deposit fee which was applied to our security deposit, which was $554 total.  Upon move-in, we wrote a check for $1233, which covered the first month’s rent plus a pro-rated amount for the week of July 25-July 31.

We recommend doing an internet search on apartments in the area and narrowing down your search to one or two options.  We originally were going to put in applications at two or three different complexes, and then tour when we moved down here, but the application fees were too prohibitive for that to happen.

If you plan to travel down before you move to check out the area, be sure to factor in that expense as well.   Airplane tickets, rental cars or cab fares, and incidental expenses add up quickly.

If you are looking at renting or purchasing a home, factor in the expenses of pest control and pool maintenance, as these are necessary items that must be done regularly, and if renting, are usually not included in the price of rent.   We can tell you how nice it is not to have to worry about those two things.  We don’t pay any more in rent for our apartment than we would if we rented a house; in fact less if you factor in the expenses of these two items, and it simply is awesome to be able to walk to the pool and not worry about cleaning it.

Car Maintenance.  This is necessary if you are driving across several states, as we did.  You definitely do not want to break down in the middle of nowhere needing extensive repairs. We paid over two thousand dollars to get our vehicle ready for the trip; we definitely did not account for so high a cost, so please be sure to over-estimate your possible expenses in this area.

AAA.   We highly recommend AAA coverage.  This cost us $82 for the year, and gave us a personalized Trip Tix, state guidebooks, maps, and peace of mind if the unthinkable would occur.  (It didn’t).  We are now covered through next June, and this is something we always renew.

The Next Exit.  This book is very helpful if you are traveling interstates; it allows you to see at what upcoming exits there are food, gas and hotel stops.   We used this book to guide us to what exit to take, and then used our GPS navigator on our phones to determine the exact location.

Tolls.  We paid $2.50 in Illinois, $5.60 in Indiana and $1.00 in Florida using our SunPass. The SunPass unit plus ten dollars worth of toll money cost $36.50, and the unit was mailed directly to our house in Wisconsin  We still have a balance of $6.75, as we find that we do not need to take the Turnpike to go to Disney World, and most everything else we could need is located in Clermont.

Iphone or Android.  While not a necessity, we highly recommend having a phone with GPS functionality.  It helped us find various things while en route, and it literally has been a life saver in finding locations in Clermont.  If you’re into social media as we are, it also allows you to post status updates and tweet endlessly 🙂

Gas.  This of course is dependent on gas prices in the various cities you travel through, and you really have no control over this expense.  We paid $225 for gas from Wisconsin to Florida.

Hotels.  We found it interesting that as we traveled towards Florida, the cost of our hotel stays kept decreasing.   We took four days/three nights to reach our destination, and our total cost for hotel stays was $249.

Food/Meals.  Our original intent was to eat home-cooked meals through the Wednesday night before we left, but things really got way hectic and we wanted to have meals at our favorite places one last time, so this was an added expense the week of the move that we hadn’t anticipated.  We also experienced a similar experience once in Clermont:  even though our intent was to eat in the apartment, the lack of cookware and with everything going on, we ate out a lot more than anticipated.

Shopping.  If you are donating or selling items that you plan to purchase again once you arrive, be sure to keep a list and tally those costs.  They really do add up.  This includes everything from furniture to kitchen utensils to groceries.

Disney Passes.  For us, this was one of the main reasons for relocating to Florida, so we factored in the cost of annual passes.  We chose to purchase premium annual passes, which required a down payment of $362.12 for the four of us and monthly payment amount of $150.52.  Disney does not charge any fees for this option, and you may pay extra to bring your balance/monthly payment down or pay it off at any time.

Car/Renter’s Insurance.  Renter’s insurance is a prerequisite for living here, but it proved to be an additional expense for us as our insurance carrier in Florida does not offer renter’s insurance and needs to underwrite it through a different company, so we were not able to add it on to our monthly payment plan as we did in Wisconsin.  This required a $157 deposit, plus quarterly payments.  Our car insurance rates should stay about the same, but with less coverage (we dropped collision and comprehensive) and minus the renter’s insurance.

Driver’s Licenses.  We will blog about our experience later, but in terms of costs it runs $48 per person to convert an out-of-state license to a Florida license.

Car Registration.   We had estimated this expense to be $180.35 based on the information available on the website.  Our actual expense was $408, so we were way off in our estimation.  Again, we will blog later on this experience.

Utilities.  If you rent a house, you may be required to pay a deposit for water to be turned on.  Because we live in an apartment, the entire complex is billed at once, and management just sends each resident a bill that we just add on to our rent.  Progress Energy may also require a deposit payment, depending on your credit history, up to two months service at your new address, based on prior usage.

We’re sure there are expenses that we are forgetting to mention but we wanted to hit on the highlights.  We hope this proves helpful to those of you who are considering a move to the beautiful state of Florida 🙂  We absolutely love it here!  We keep hearing from our friends here that we will get used to the heat, and really the only times we find it overbearing is when we do hours at Disney 🙂