Moving expenses . . . How do clerks do it?

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CurvedSurface

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Moving expenses . . . How do clerks do it?

Postby CurvedSurface » Wed May 10, 2017 3:45 pm

I'm graduating this month, and I have two one-year clerkships lined up for the next two years. They're state-court clerkships, so pay for each of them is ~$50K. The courts are in the same general region of the country but about three hours apart driving. The likely, but not certain, plan is to settle in a city in that region after the clerkships are over. The city is about a two-hour drive from clerkship #2. I live in a very different region of the country, approximately a 30-hour drive from clerkship #1.

My plan had been to rent a UHaul when I move across the country. If I do that, I can avoid the cost of replacing my bed, desk, night stand, coffee table, kitchen table and chairs, and bookshelf (and maybe even the old couches that I am ready to be rid of but could stomach living with for a while longer yet). I'd also be able to bring all my accumulated crap that I don't need but like to have--think clothes beyond the absolute basics, board games, books, and such. But oh my goodness, this plan is more expensive than I was anticipating: ~$2300 ($1600 for the UHaul; $300 for cross-country hotels; $200 for a one-way plane ticket for my sibling who would drive with me, help me unpack, and then fly back to home state; $200 estimated for gas). And then I'd have to haul all this stuff from clerkship #1 to clerkship #2 and from clerkship #2 to final city. It's possible that I'll work in big law after clerkship #2, and then the firm would pay for moving expenses from clerkship #2 to firm. But it's also possible that I won't, so I don't want to bank on that happening. The intra-region moves are obviously going to be cheaper than this first move, and but they'll still cost a non-negligible amount. My best guess is ~$250 for each move.

The thought of that cost and hassle has me rethinking the plan. The best alternative that I can think of is flying out to clerkship #1 for ~$200, more likely $250 with checked bags and just trying to make things work on a minimal amount of clothes and an air mattress. I can buy a folding table to use as a desk. While my preference is to rent a studio or one-bedroom (doable but budget-stretchy in this place on this salary), I might end up just moving into an already furnished house that's just looking for another roommate. I wouldn't have to worry about couches or a kitchen table in that scenario. Either way, the downside of this plan is that living an air mattress/skimp-on-the-furnishings lifestyle for the next two years seems like a downer (though this is more of a downer if I get the studio/one bedroom). I'm graduating from law school. I want to be an adult. The upside is that it keeps my life relatively simple, which is good in light of the moves that will follow. Also, as family members visit over time, I'll probably be able to reabsorb all my beloved tchotchkes (aforementioned gratuitous clothing and board games and such) because they'll likely be able to pack an extra bag of my stuff for me. I'd finally work on having a nicely furnished home once I settle in final city.

Has anybody gone through a similar decision and able to share thoughts on their choice? Or does anybody just have perspective they can share about starting out as a lawyer and still having the apartment of a college student? Any and all suggestions/input are welcome.

Note: I don't currently have a car. My tentative plan is to lease a car for 2-3 months after moving to clerkship #1 and then once I'm a bit settled and have positive cash flow, purchase a car then.

P.S. Sorry for the long post -- just trying to be thorough.

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Re: Moving expenses . . . How do clerks do it?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed May 10, 2017 3:54 pm

I did a one-year clerkship in between 2 biglaw. All three gigs were in three different cities. Granted that I've always been a minimalist, during my clerkship, I had an unfurnished studio, a mattress+box spring (total $25 craiglist), a couch ($60 goodwill), an iron, some dishes/utensils, and clothes/suits. I figured that was all I needed and I survived on very minimal expenses. I threw the mattress/couch away when I moved to the third city. I have a personal car and everything I have fits in my car in each move.

CurvedSurface

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Re: Moving expenses . . . How do clerks do it?

Postby CurvedSurface » Wed May 10, 2017 4:15 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I did a one-year clerkship in between 2 biglaw. All three gigs were in three different cities. Granted that I've always been a minimalist, during my clerkship, I had an unfurnished studio, a mattress+box spring (total $25 craiglist), a couch ($60 goodwill), an iron, some dishes/utensils, and clothes/suits. I figured that was all I needed and I survived on very minimal expenses. I threw the mattress/couch away when I moved to the third city. I have a personal car and everything I have fits in my car in each move.


That's what I'm leaning toward doing. It's just a tough pill to swallow. I like having friends over for a meal or wine night, and while I don't need things to be fancy, I want my place to be comfortable. I also know that whenever family get around to visiting, they're going to be like, "You spent three years getting a law degree, and now you live like this? You had a nicer apartment when you were working before law school." That shouldn't matter to me, but it does. I want to live up to all their (and my) bougie expectations.

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Re: Moving expenses . . . How do clerks do it?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed May 10, 2017 4:21 pm

^your issues sound more personal than anyone here can help you with. You do what you can to get by when making $50k/yr for 2 years; family and friends should be the first to understand.

Same anon as the second poster. I had girls over and family visited, no complaint. That said, my studio was vintage and hip (like those hipster places--not fancy).
Last edited by Anonymous User on Wed May 10, 2017 4:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

clerk1251

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Re: Moving expenses . . . How do clerks do it?

Postby clerk1251 » Wed May 10, 2017 4:21 pm

I'm on my second federal clerkship. First one was about 2000 miles away from where I was previously living, and it was literally in the middle of nowhere. I had thought about just selling all my stuff and getting new stuff after I moved, but I decided against it. I didn't know what options I might have in the middle of nowhere, and also really just loved my furniture (especially my bed!). I hired movers and it cost me about $1600. Then I drove out with a few backs and my car. I shopped around for movers for awhile, until I found ones that I felt were trustworthy and reasonably priced.

I started with an air mattress for about 10 days until my furniture arrived, which kind of sucked, but it was what it was. It was also a dream, not having to do any heavy lifting.

My co-clerk did the opposite. He flew out to the middle of nowhere with nothing more than one suitcase and an air mattress. He might have gotten a chair and a table after a few weeks, but generally his apartment was as bare as can be and he slept on an air mattress the whole year. He'd come over and watch tv at my place on my couch (we lived in the same complex and there was nothing else to do in this town). I really enjoyed that I had all my furniture there.

After that I moved another 1000 miles for a second clerkship. This time, I decided to do the move myself. I found Penskie (sp?) to be the cheapest moving truck option. Best way to get the best price is negotiate with Uhaul and Budget, pin them against one another and get the absolute lowest price you can. Then get it in writing and call up Penskie and see if they will match or beat that price. I had the truck for about 4 or 5 days, and it was only about $800.

Sure it sucked paying all of these moving expenses, but it's just a part of life. Also, I claimed a deduction on my taxes for both of these moves, so at least there is that.

- side story - my car got broken into on the way to the first clerkship. Two windows shattered and a bunch of stuff stolen. Totally sucked. If you end up driving out there, I'd recommend two things: 1) make sure nothing is visible inside your car. Don't load it up, it's just not worth it; and 2) make sure you get renters insurance either from your current place or for your new place, and start it a day early (or have it go a day longer), as all your stuff is actually covered under your renters insurance policy if it is in transit during a move.

Also, one last side note, Penskie was the only moving truck company who's insurance option serves as the primary insurer. Meaning, if something happens to the truck, it goes solely through their insurance which you should pay for (it was about $125 for me, if memory serves me). Uhaul and others, their insurance, if you opt for it, is secondary to your own car insurance. So, if you get in an accident you'd have to first go through your personal insurance and anything not covered would then go under theirs. I did TONS of research into all different moving options each step of the way, so if you have any more questions or want some more advice, feel free to message me.

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Re: Moving expenses . . . How do clerks do it?

Postby clerk1251 » Wed May 10, 2017 4:26 pm

CurvedSurface wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I did a one-year clerkship in between 2 biglaw. All three gigs were in three different cities. Granted that I've always been a minimalist, during my clerkship, I had an unfurnished studio, a mattress+box spring (total $25 craiglist), a couch ($60 goodwill), an iron, some dishes/utensils, and clothes/suits. I figured that was all I needed and I survived on very minimal expenses. I threw the mattress/couch away when I moved to the third city. I have a personal car and everything I have fits in my car in each move.


That's what I'm leaning toward doing. It's just a tough pill to swallow. I like having friends over for a meal or wine night, and while I don't need things to be fancy, I want my place to be comfortable. I also know that whenever family get around to visiting, they're going to be like, "You spent three years getting a law degree, and now you live like this? You had a nicer apartment when you were working before law school." That shouldn't matter to me, but it does. I want to live up to all their (and my) bougie expectations.


This was the way I felt as well. I don't know how happening the place you are going to, but I was so happy to have a really presentable apartment. Because it was the only place available in this town, I ended up getting a 2 bedroom apartment, which I furnished with the air mattress I was previously using until my furniture arrived (see story in previous post). I enjoyed having friends over, or hosting dinner parties, or whatnot. It's really a "to each their own" type of thing. It's something that you'll just need to figure out what you want, and if you can afford to do it on your budget. I kind of looked at it as the cost of accepting my clerkship - so instead of it paying $60k, I basically just looked at it as paying $55k on account of moving expenses.

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Re: Moving expenses . . . How do clerks do it?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed May 10, 2017 4:32 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I did a one-year clerkship in between 2 biglaw. All three gigs were in three different cities. Granted that I've always been a minimalist, during my clerkship, I had an unfurnished studio, a mattress+box spring (total $25 craiglist), a couch ($60 goodwill), an iron, some dishes/utensils, and clothes/suits. I figured that was all I needed and I survived on very minimal expenses. I threw the mattress/couch away when I moved to the third city. I have a personal car and everything I have fits in my car in each move.


same anon. I should mention that all the three cities were happening places, so I had no problem seeking entertainment outside the apt/home. I might have thought differently re having a fun apt to go back to had I moved to arkansas or nebraska or the like.

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Re: Moving expenses . . . How do clerks do it?

Postby lolwat » Wed May 10, 2017 5:22 pm

Back when clerking, I was one of those people like the anon who had everything fit in their car. When I got to my apartment, I bought two folding tables for about $30 each and splurged a few hundred on a comfortable bed that I gave away when I moved out. Nearly everything else came with the apartment (microwave, etc.) or fit into my car (clothes, computers, laptop, utensils and plates, etc.)

I would recommend figuring out what you need, getting what you need for cheap, and settle down only when you get to your final city. For example, I do think getting a bed is a good investment because getting good sleep is important for your life. Having a fancy dining table and chair set versus a $30 folding table for eating dinner on is not that important. Having an expensive couch to sit on also is probably not that important. And so on. You graduated, you have a job, and you're an adult... but you're still only making $50k right now, and you know you have to move 3 times in a relatively short time period. You need to live accordingly, IMO.

Also, depending on where you're living, I can almost guarantee you can find a lot of people selling decent furniture and stuff for pretty cheap. If you budget even just $250 for shit that you expect to either re-sell or just throw out after the year, you could still probably furnish your apartment pretty well.

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Re: Moving expenses . . . How do clerks do it?

Postby CurvedSurface » Wed May 10, 2017 5:32 pm

I definitely appreciate the input so far. Y'all are right that this is definitely a decision about personal preference. That said, your stories help me better imagine what each option would be like.

I hadn't thought about how my surroundings might make a difference as to whether or not I should bring my furnishings. Clerkship #1 is in sleepy town, where a lot of commuters drive in from hip city #1 60-75 minutes away. I'll live in sleepy town because I hate car commuting, and rent is steep in hip city #1. Clerkship #2 is in cool town, where a fair number of commuters drive in from hip city #2 75-90 minutes away. I'll live in cool town. In addition to the things to do in sleepy town, cool town, and the hip cities, there are lots of outdoors activities that I'm into in the region. I'll keep thinking about this more, but off the cuff, I don't see this context as pointing decisively in one direction or the other.

Also, excellent tip on Penskie and the primary/secondary insurance distinction. I'll remember that if I decide to haul everything across the country.

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Re: Moving expenses . . . How do clerks do it?

Postby CurvedSurface » Wed May 10, 2017 6:11 pm

lolwat wrote: You graduated, you have a job, and you're an adult... but you're still only making $50k right now, and you know you have to move 3 times in a relatively short time period. You need to live accordingly, IMO.


This is persuasive.

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Re: Moving expenses . . . How do clerks do it?

Postby mjb447 » Wed May 10, 2017 7:23 pm

lolwat wrote:I would recommend figuring out what you need, getting what you need for cheap, and settle down only when you get to your final city. For example, I do think getting a bed is a good investment because getting good sleep is important for your life. Having a fancy dining table and chair set versus a $30 folding table for eating dinner on is not that important. Having an expensive couch to sit on also is probably not that important. And so on. You graduated, you have a job, and you're an adult... but you're still only making $50k right now, and you know you have to move 3 times in a relatively short time period. You need to live accordingly, IMO.

Yeah, I moved a few times for clerkships, and this is a good philosophy to adopt while you're clerking. If clerking leads where you want, hopefully you'll have more money to spend in the future when you're settled somewhere long term and it matters more. Do what you need to do right now to get by.

That said, I also agree with clerk1251 that, if this is something that's really important to you, $2,300 + $250 + $250 over two years years isn't an insane amount to pay if you want to make that one of your top priorities and recognize that you may have to cut back in other areas. You just have to figure out what's going to be coming in and where you want to spend it.

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Re: Moving expenses . . . How do clerks do it?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed May 10, 2017 8:03 pm

I would recommend against UHaul and would use Budget. My move between my first second clerkship this summer is about 1,900 miles, and a Budget truck is $560. On top of that, they often will send you a coupon through the USPS when you send in a change-of-address request.

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Re: Moving expenses . . . How do clerks do it?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu May 11, 2017 2:11 am

I've moved twice across the country for clerkships. I recommend you look into Amtrak and Greyhound shipping. I went with Amtrak shipping and was able to move the vast majority of my stuff (think small things where the price adds up--dishware, cleaning supplies, all my clothes, some books even (although I used media mail for this which is even cheaper) for about ~$300. They let you ship up to 500 lbs and it's a very reasonable cost.

That left the big stuff--a bed, a couch, a table, etc. I ultimately decided that with some creative craigslisting I could find most of what I needed on the cheap. It's not as nice as what I left behind (which I was fortunate enough to stash with my parents) but I basically got a new mattress from a super cheap store ~$300 (couldn't stomach thought of used mattress, also I've done half a year on an air mattress and it is the pits), used couch ~150, used desk and chair ~75, some other odds and ends home goods ~175. I basically drove about, arranged to buy things with different people, then spent one day driving a cheap local truck rental ($50) picking everything up with the help of a buddy ($10 for the six pack I owed her). All told, for just a little over a $1000, I was able to set up a pretty good life on the other side of the country. I will say there was definitely some aggressive craigslisting involved but it is doable. The second time around I sold as much as I could on craigslist (making a profit on some things but losing most of the value of the mattress) and essentially rinsed washed and repeated (moved almost the same distance in a different direction).

If and when I land a firm job, I hope to get some sort of moving money to liberate the rest of my stuff from my parents place.

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Re: Moving expenses . . . How do clerks do it?

Postby clerk1251 » Thu May 11, 2017 9:45 am

Just another thought I had for you -

Assuming my understanding is correct, you are currently in law school city and will be moving to clerkship 1 city, then clerkship 2 city, then back to clerkship 1 city. You might consider moving everything to clerkship 1 city, putting it in storage after that year, living bare for clerkship 2 city, and then having everything already local when you move back to clerkship 1 city to settle down.

Storage units aren't usually that expensive and will often give you even better rates if you commit to a year, plus, if there is anything that you discover you need, you can just drive the two hours back to go get it. Personally though, if it was me, I'd say for the money I'd be spending on a storage unit, I'd rather just move my stuff. Just wanted to provide another thought though.

Also, in regards to my situation, the middle of nowhere town where my clerkship was didn't know what craigslist was, so buying used furniture wasn't an option for me. Doesn't sound like that's an issue for your clerkship towns.

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Re: Moving expenses . . . How do clerks do it?

Postby lolwat » Thu May 11, 2017 12:37 pm

mjb447 wrote:Yeah, I moved a few times for clerkships, and this is a good philosophy to adopt while you're clerking. If clerking leads where you want, hopefully you'll have more money to spend in the future when you're settled somewhere long term and it matters more. Do what you need to do right now to get by.


I've got more shit in my apartment now than I've ever had in my life.

There are a pile of awesome recommendations in this thread if you do decide to bring most or all of your stuff. There are alternatives to Craigslist too. Used furniture stores are more expensive than Craigslist but relatively affordable if you absolutely must have decent stuff. Garage/yard sales and thrift stores can be very good for smaller things too. Just gotta get past the sad feeling of having to still scrounge for cheap items for a few more years. Remember that you'll be able to splurge all you want after that!

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Re: Moving expenses . . . How do clerks do it?

Postby nevdash » Thu May 11, 2017 2:04 pm

In considering the Uhaul option, you need to budget way, way more than $200 for gas on a trip all the way across the country. I drove a Uhaul from a Southern California to Texas when I started my clerkship, and it had the worst gas mileage. I want to say that it cost about $300-400 in gas.



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