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Things we waste money on when moving abroad

4 Things we waste money on when moving abroad

Hoarding: The hidden cost of emigration

By Angelique Ruzicka

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4 Things we waste money on when moving abroad

Hoarding: The hidden cost of emigration

By Angelique Ruzicka

, |

3 min read

When you’re having a spring clean you tend to start off with the best of intentions. But the longer you take and delve into the things that have sentimental value the harder it is to let go of items you should really throw out.

The same reasoning should apply when you’re moving abroad. But the problem is you grow attached to certain items, especially if you’ve inherited them.

But when moving abroad to places like the United Kingdom it may make sense to take fewer belongings with and simply start from scratch. Here’s why.

1. The furniture won’t fit

In inherited some furniture when I got married and it was for this reason that I didn’t want to give up these items when we moved abroad. But, in hindsight, it was a big mistake to take these items with.

Homes in the UK, particularly ones that you move in when you first get here tend to be tiny. In South Africa we’re used to investing in bulky furniture to occupy our big living, dining, and bedrooms. But it’s just not practical to bring large pieces of furniture to blighty. Living rooms can typically host a two-seater couch and perhaps another chair.

Storage is horribly expensive. Of course, the cost can depend on the length of time you hire the storage unit and the size. According to, the average cost of self-storage in the UK for a 50 square foot container for the year could set you back over £1,197!

2. South Africa’s winter clothes aren’t adequate

You may think that the clothes from Cape Union Mart and similar shops in South Africa could serve to sell you items that can withstand the UK winter. That may be true for one or two items, but I wouldn’t take my entire South African winter wardrobe with me – it’s just not adequate.

Besides, clothes here are very cheap and there’s a huge second-hand clothing market in the UK where you can find great bargains. Charity shops, particularly ones in expensive areas, sell good quality clothing that will last.

If rummaging in charity shops isn’t your thing there are plenty of online retailers that are now allowing customers to hire items of clothing. So, if you need something temporary in a flash, you can rent clothes from the likes of By Rotation, Hirestreet and Rotaro.

3. Don’t take your beloved car

Last year, Estate Living reported that it is possible to ship your car and save money in the process. I considered the process before moving over to the UK from Cape Town and upon conducting more in-depth research about the process, concluded that it was too much hassle.

There’s taxes and insurance to consider. The paperwork can be a headache too, then there’s the added expense and admin of fetching it from the dockyard.

Of course, the hassle far outweighed the benefits back in 2018 when we emigrated. But things can change. Just this week The Guardian reported how one in five second-hand cars in the UK cost more than new models. This is thanks to the ongoing shortage of semiconductors, which is impacting the supply and demand of used cars.

Another thing to factor in is that if you don’t have a credit record in the UK then you’ll have to start from scratch. Getting a loan to finance a car (used or new) can be difficult with a low credit score. I’m not saying it’s impossible, but if your credit score is not up to scratch, you’ll likely be offered a loan with higher interest. Weigh up the pros and cons carefully before taking your car abroad.

4. Taking toys

OK, there’s no denying that each child has a toy in their toy chest that they can simply not live without. Leaving that item behind could be traumatic. But toys are replaceable and, depending on what you buy, can be cheap to replace.

Taking all their favourite toys will simply take up too much space and won’t be worth the cost if you need to hire a bigger container to ship abroad to your new home. Trust me when I say that it’s much easier to replace the Lego collection than take it with.

Just like clothes, toys can be bought cheaply second hand through websites like, eBay and Facebook’s Marketplace. By replacing items with second hand goods, not only will you save money, but you’ll be helping the environment too.

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