The Cost of Moving: Budgeting for Your Move

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Moving can be such an exciting experience; but, without advance planning and budgeting, expenses can add up all too quickly. Whether your budget is large or small, how can you get the most ‘bang’ for your buck when it comes to your move? From travel and lodging to transporting your belongings to your new home, planning ahead will help keep you and your finances on track during the move.

From months before you leave, to months after you are settled in, there are important budget considerations to make. Avoid surprise (and, potentially expensive) costs from creeping up on you by reviewing our budgeting guide below before your move.

Moving Out: What to Budget for?

  • Last bills in your home. This includes utilities, gas, and electric, as well as any past due or cancellation fees. You may also have some deposits waiting for you to add to your budget!
  • Cleaning Fees. If you are renting your home, you may want to consider renting a carpet cleaner or getting a house cleaning service in order to maximize the amount you receive back on your deposit.
  • Lease termination fees. In some instances, you may be required to pay a fee upon termination of your lease. This is often the case if you are vacating prior to the date listed on your rental agreement.
  • Moving supplies. Plan ahead to secure your moving supplies, and save money because of it. There are some great programs available to trade and re-use moving supplies. For example, U-Haul Box Exchange® allows you to buy and sell boxes from other members within your community. In some cases you can even get boxes for free!
  • Storage fees. If you are downsizing, but don’t plan to get rid of all your extra furniture, you will need a place to store it. It is best to reserve your storage facility at least four weeks before your move.

During the Move: What to Budget for?

  • Gas and Lodging. Getting from point A to point B may be a short journey, perhaps to a nearby city. But, if you are moving interstate, then the cost of gas and lodging during the trip can be a significant portion of your budget. A great tool for estimating your fuel cost is: Book hotel rooms in advance to secure a lower rate.
  • Transportation. If you are driving a moving truck or flying to your new destination, it’s crucial to prepare how you will arrange transportation of your everyday vehicle in advance. If you are hiring for shipping or drive away service to your new locale, be sure to account for this expense in your budget.
  • Pre-Screening. If you will be spending time traveling to your new city before you move, perhaps interviewing for a job or hunting for a home, count these trips into your budget.

Moving In: What to Budget for?

  • Hire movers, or do-it-yourself? This can be the million dollar question of your move (or, at least a very significant Moving Helpers unloading a rental truckchunk of your budget). The answer depends solely on how much of the labor you are willing and able to do on your own. A complete do-it-yourself move is the most affordable option, and will entail renting a moving truck and packing or unpacking it yourself. For a bit of help and a bit more in your budget, you can rent a truck and transport your goods, but hire moving help to assist with loading and unloading. Finally, the most expensive option is to hire a full-service moving company. You will simply transport yourself to your new home, and they will take care of the rest.
  • Replacement of items left behind. If you decide to donate old items, such as furniture, with the idea of replacing them in your new abode, factor these expenses into your budget. Shopping and ordering at a store in your current area, and having them shipped to your new home can save time and money.
  • Moving in fees. The fees to get up and running at your new place can be significant, depending on just how much you need. If you are renting, there will likely be a security deposit needed. Beyond that, service set-ups, such as basic cable, water, electricity, trash  and internet connections will oftentimes require an installation or set up fee.  Sometimes, you can even find move-in specials on the providers Facebook page!

No matter how hectic the moving process can seem, planning ahead will help you avoid unnecessary costs and stress. Begin your planning as early as two months ahead of time, and follow the tips listed above for a worry free and positive move.