10 Financial tips for moving to the US from Canada

a couple talking about financial tips for moving to the US from Canada

Moving to the United States from Canada is an adventure filled with possibilities. Miracle Movers, your friendly Toronto-based moving experts, are here to guide you through this exciting transition. Our aim is to help you relocate smoothly while keeping an eye on your budget. We’ve gathered some savvy financial tips for moving to the US from Canada. Think of us as your personal moving coaches, here to support you with practical, wallet-friendly advice for your journey to the U.S. Let’s start making your move affordable and a truly positive experience.

Declutter before you relocate

Preparing for your move from Toronto to Miami is the perfect moment to refresh and declutter your life.  Let’s explore how you can sell your belongings efficiently, making your move simpler and more cost-effective:

  • Inventory your belongings: Begin by evaluating what you have. Items like heavy winter gear, crucial in Toronto, become unnecessary in Miami’s warm weather. List such items, including bulky coats, snow boots, and thermal clothing.
  • Use online marketplaces: Platforms like Kijiji, Facebook Marketplace, or eBay are excellent for reaching a wide audience. When selling something, like a sofa, post clear, well-lit photos and include essential details such as dimensions and fabric type.
  • Host a garage sale: For items that might not be suitable for online sales, consider a garage sale. This is especially effective for smaller items like kitchen gadgets, books, or decorative pieces. Promote your sale in your local area and online to attract a bigger crowd.
  • Price items reasonably: Research the current market value of your items. A snowblower, for instance, might have a good resale value in Toronto. Setting fair prices will help ensure quick sales.
  • Donate what doesn’t sell: If some items don’t sell, consider donating them. Many charities in Toronto accept furniture, clothing, and other goods.
  • Plan the logistics: After selling your larger items, arrange for their pickup or delivery. This step is crucial for avoiding last-minute complications.
a person counting money after reading about financial tips for moving to the US from Canada
Clearing out unnecessary items can result in cost savings during your move.

Avoid lingering bills

As you prepare for your exciting move from Toronto to Tampa, keeping an eye on your finances, particularly avoiding any lingering bills from your Canadian home is important. Here’s a friendly guide to manage those financial ties, ensuring a seamless and cost-saving transition:

  • Review all current utilities and services: Start by reviewing your utility and service accounts – electricity, gas, water, internet, and cable. Understand the terms of your contracts, including any early termination fees or disconnection policies. For example, check for early cancellation penalties if you’re bound by a yearly contract with your internet provider.
  • Notify service providers in advance: Reach out to each service provider well before your move. This allows them to process your disconnection and prepare your final bill efficiently. If your electricity provider needs a month’s notice, tell them in time to avoid extra charges.
  • Update your address with relevant entities: Don’t forget to inform banks, credit card companies, and any subscription services of your move. Missing this step could lead to overlooked bills or important notices, potentially leading to unpaid dues.
  • Set up mail forwarding: Consider arranging a mail forwarding service through Canada Post. Any bills or correspondences you might have missed will be sent to your new address in Tampa, ensuring you catch any last-minute or forgotten bills.
  • Make a checklist: List all the services and utilities you need to cancel or transfer. This checklist is a handy tool to ensure you haven’t missed anything and keep track of your progress.

By following these steps, you can avoid any unwelcome financial surprises and ensure your move to the U.S. is as economical as thrilling. Remember, it’s all about planning and staying organized.

Take advantage of sales tax differences

Adjusting to the sales tax can be a key aspect of your financial planning when moving from Toronto to Orlando. In Toronto, you’re used to the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) of 13%, which combines federal and provincial taxes. However, Orlando’s sales tax structure is quite different, and it’s important to factor this into your budget.

coins on a pile of tax papers
Discover the US tax system’s advantages and how it can benefit you.

In Orlando, Florida, the sales tax comprises the state sales tax plus any local surtaxes. The state sales tax is 6%, but local surtaxes in various counties in Orlando can add to this. For instance, outfitting your new home with furniture might pay a total sales tax of 6.5%, including a 0.5% local surtax. This variation in tax rates can affect your spending, particularly with large purchases. For example, buying a car in Orlando could be more cost-effective than in Toronto due to the lower sales tax. However, it’s worth noting that some items, like certain food items and prescription medications, might be exempt from sales tax.

It’s helpful to understand Florida’s sales tax system to keep your budget on track. Always include the correct sales tax to avoid unexpected costs when planning significant purchases. This understanding will aid in accurately managing your finances. Additionally, while Orlando might have a lower sales tax rate than Toronto, other living costs, such as insurance, healthcare, or property taxes, may vary, influencing your overall expenses. It’s beneficial to consider all aspects of your financial situation in the context of your relocation.

Keep your credit score in check

As you get ready for your move from Toronto to Boca Raton, it’s important to consider the role of your credit score in your new financial environment in the U.S. Unlike in Canada, your Canadian credit history won’t be transferred to the U.S., which means you’ll start building your credit profile anew in Boca Raton. This can be challenging initially, as it may affect your ability to apply for credit cards, loans, or even set up some utilities. For example, without a U.S. credit history, you may encounter higher deposit requirements or a limited selection of credit card options.

credit cards in a denim pocket
Keep up with your Canadian financial commitments to avoid international disruptions.

To build a solid credit score in the U.S., consider getting a secured credit card or a store credit card. These cards are often more accessible for newcomers and can help you establish a credit history. With a secured credit card, your deposit typically acts as your credit limit, and responsible usage and timely payments can help you build a good credit score.

Maintaining any financial commitments you have in Canada, such as bank accounts or credit cards, is crucial, as missed payments or unresolved debts could impact your financial standing in the U.S., especially with international banks. By managing these aspects carefully, you can ensure a smoother financial transition to your new life in Boca Raton.

Get health coverage

As you plan your move from Toronto to New York, securing health coverage is a critical step in the process. Unlike Canada’s universal healthcare system, the U.S. relies on a complex network of private insurance providers, making it essential to navigate this system effectively. Begin by researching the various health insurance plans available in the U.S., considering factors such as premiums, deductibles, copayments, and the network of healthcare providers. For instance, Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plans offer flexibility in choosing doctors and hospitals but often come with higher premiums than Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) plans.

If your move is associated with employment, inquire about employer-sponsored health insurance, as many U.S. employers offer this as part of their benefits package. It’s crucial to understand the coverage details and the effective date of the insurance, as there may be a waiting period for new employees. For self-employed individuals or whose employers do not provide health insurance, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplace is an option. Here, you can compare different plans and select one that aligns with your healthcare needs and budget. Keep in mind that specific enrollment periods apply to ACA plans, but moving qualifies as a life event that allows for special enrollment, ensuring you have the necessary coverage in place for your new life in New York.

health insurance
Research health coverage options, including employer-sponsored plans and ACA marketplace choices.

Create a backup plan

As part of your financial tips for moving to the US from Canada, it’s wise to include a backup plan in case of unexpected challenges when moving from Toronto to Florida. Think of it as your safety net, ensuring you’re well-prepared for any unexpected twists and turns that life might throw your way during your move to the US.

Financial cushioning is also a key part of your Plan B. Moving countries can involve unexpected expenses, so having extra savings aside can be a lifesaver. For example, if your car breaks down or you face unexpected medical bills, having additional funds will help you manage these unforeseen costs without derailing your settling-in process. Another aspect to consider is maintaining connections back in Canada. Keep in touch with former employers, colleagues, and friends. These contacts can be invaluable if you need to return or seek advice. For instance, if you decide to move back, a former employer might be able to offer you a job or provide references.

Also, familiarize yourself with the legal and immigration aspects of your move. Understand the terms of your visa or residency status and the implications if you decide to change your plans. For example, if you’re on a work visa and lose your job, knowing your options in advance, like the time frame you have to find new employment, is crucial.

Choose the right time to move

One of the financial tips for moving to the US from Canada that can make a significant difference is paying attention to your move’s timing. The moving industry peaks from May to September, a time when demand for long distance movers in Toronto is at its highest. This surge often leads to increased costs and a scramble for available services.

However, if you schedule your move between October and April, you’ll enter a quieter phase in the moving world. This off-peak period is not just about avoiding the crowd; it’s a strategic financial decision. You’ll likely find more competitive rates and flexible scheduling options, making it a smart part of your financial planning for moving to the US from Canada. This approach can help keep your moving expenses manageable, easing your transition across the border.

Only buy items you need for your new home

Start by taking stock of what you need in your new home. It’s important to distinguish between what is essential and what can wait. For instance, basic furniture like a bed and a dining table might be necessary initially, but decorative items can be acquired gradually. When shopping for essentials, consider quality over quantity. Investing in a few high-quality pieces that will last longer rather than filling your space with cheaper items that might need to be replaced soon is better.

Also, explore second-hand options. Thrift stores, garage sales, and online marketplaces can be goldmines for finding quality furniture at a fraction of the cost. Remember, your new home in the US doesn’t have to be perfect immediately. Giving yourself time to settle in and understand your needs and preferences in the new space is important. This way, you can make more informed choices about what to buy.

a person holding a pile of money
Implementing these financial tips for moving to the US from Canada can help you make informed decisions and stay within your budget during the relocation.

Get a head start on packing for your move

Starting packing a few weeks before moving from Canada to the US can significantly reduce stress and last-minute rushing. Be sure to label your boxes clearly. This helps in the moving process and when you’re unpacking in your new home. For fragile items, take extra care with packing. Use bubble wrap, packing peanuts, towels, and blankets to protect them during transit.

Select a budget-friendly moving company

Start by doing thorough research. Look for moving companies with good reputations and reviews. You can check online forums and social media groups or ask friends and family for recommendations. For example, a friend who recently moved might have suggestions based on their experience. Once you have a list of potential movers, get quotes from multiple companies. This will help you better understand the average cost and spot unusually high or low offers. When reviewing quotes, make sure to check what services are included.

Follow our financial tips for moving to the US from Canada to save some dollars

Following these financial tips for moving to the US from Canada can make your transition smoother and keep some extra dollars in your pocket. Whether you’re selling belongings, managing bills, or shopping for your new home, these tips will guide you towards a more budget-friendly move. Don’t forget to start early, explore affordable options, and research moving companies for the best deals. With a little financial savvy, your move to the US can be exciting and cost-effective, allowing you to embrace this new chapter confidently.