How to save money on storage

I’m back in apartment living after a nearly 15 year break. Our apartment in Vancouver, WA has little to no storage for all the things in our home in Boise from which we are moving. So, today my goal was to find a place to store things. I went to public storage near our apartment which I’ve been driving by for several weeks. It’s close to our place so I thought why not. I got in and learned a few things I want to share which might benefit you too.

1) Rates vary by location. Each location has different rates despite being under the same company. Shop around.

2) Rates vary by day. Each facility changes its rates daily dependent upon availability and occupancy. By nature, with people moving in and out, this causes lots of changes. My recommendation is to shop around for a few weeks in advance and lock in on a good rate.

3) Rates for a larger unit are sometimes nearly the same price as a smaller unit. A 10×10 was $158 / month. A 10×15 was $212 / month and a 10×20 was $216 per month. So, at that moment on this day and that location the 10×20 was only an incremental 4 dollars.

4) Not all units come with the sign advertised “First month free” or “First month for one dollar” promotion. Again, it’s basically a teaser to get you in the door. More on fixing that later.

5) You WILL save money by booking online. The ‘walk in rates’ are about 10% more than the online rates. It will save you money to go to www.publicstorage.com to ‘reserve’ a spot.

6) Public storage requires you to have insurance to cover your stored belongings. Of course they offer it at a premium for you when you sign up. In our case, we were already paying renters insurance. I made a phone call to confirm our coverage also supported storage units (which it did) and saved an additional $11 / month.

7) They will charge you for a lock, and it’s another 21 dollars. They use a cylinder type oddball lock which I couldn’t find online. My sense is they are forcing you to buy their over-priced proprietary locks to earn extra money. Do you know where to buy one online that works? Tell me and I’ll update this post for the world to benefit.

8) Be open to a larger unit – you might save money. In our case the larger units at the facility we ended up going to were on sale and nearly 50% cheaper than the smaller units. Do your own research online. They publish their prices on their website so you can quickly figure out what to do.

Hope all of that saves you some time and money.

First experience with Uber

I needed a ride back from Vancouver, WA to Portland airport to pick up my car. The taxi fare for this is typically around 30 dollars + tip. I downloaded the uber app and within 10 minutes was picked up by a nice driver in a clean new civic. He dropped me where I needed to go promptly and the total fare was $18.92 or just a little more than half what a taxi would have charged. Of course, I also gave him a tip for his effort. The overall experience was good. The setup of an Uber account was quick and easy, I like that you can watch the driver on his way to pick you up (so you know how long it will be). The cashless system is quick, and easy on everyone. As a bonus it was fun to talk to this guy during the ride and the nearly instant SMS updates on pickup estimate and arrival etc. are wonderful. Overall A+ and I’d do it again next time I need a lift. Unfortunately Portland pickups are currently on hold while Uber works out terms with the local government. They are supposed to resume in April 2015 providing pickup service within Portland, but in my case I needed a WA pickup and a Portland dropoff which was still allowable.

Have you used Uber? Was your experience similar?