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The costs of moving can add up if you're not prepared with a budget. Here are some tips on budgeting for a move.

One of the first steps in moving to a new house is to create a budget that plans and tracks the costs involved in moving. If you fail to determine what you should pay for a move, you run the risk of costs spiraling out of control.

There are several initial decisions to make that will impact the budget. Will you hire professional movers or do it yourself? Will you hold a garage sale and downsize, or take everything with you? Whichever you decide, these costs need to be planned, and the more specific you can be, the better.

Why You Need a Moving Budget

Whether a move is right across town or across the country, all the common costs involved can add up quickly, but accurate budgeting can help remove any financial stress that threatens to creep in during the moving process.

If your first try at the budget puts the move out of financial reach, you may need to rethink decisions and find ways to cut costs. Or you may learn you have extra room in the budget and can afford to keep some belongings you thought you would not have the budget to move.

A moving budget is also a helpful record for any future moves. You can track which costs were more than expected and which ones were less, so your next moving budget can be more accurate than the first.

Professional Moving Expenses

Hiring professional movers can create a much more relaxed moving experience for you and your family. The team will have the know-how when it comes to properly transporting your belongings so you can focus on the bigger picture. When budgeting for professional movers, their overall costs include:

  • Labor
  • Transportation
  • Supplies
  • Insurance

Each moving company may have different sets of charges, so when you receive your quote, ask about all the charges involved to get a range of what you would expect to pay. A thorough in-house or over-the-phone estimate can help give you an accurate picture of costs.

Do-It-Yourself Expenses

If you decide not to hire a professional company and instead plan for a do-it-yourself move, expect the following expenses:

  • Moving truck rental and mileage costs
  • Moving equipment
  • Storage containers
  • Packing supplies 

A do-it-yourself move is not always cheaper, especially when you factor in time and effort. You will not have the guidance of moving professionals who can provide moving tips and do the heavy lifting.

Other Moving Costs

There are many other moving costs to watch out — ones that may come up unexpectedly without a plan in place. Your budget may need to be adjusted along the way due to unexpected costs, but careful planning in the beginning can help you create the most accurate budget you can. Watch out for these additional moving costs:

  • Cleaning your home: Before you move, you should have your home deep cleaned for its new residents. 
  • Utilities: In setting up the utilities in your new home, there may be set-up fees.
  • Pets: When moving with pets, it may be helpful to have friends or family pet sit for the day. Even if they do not expect to be paid, buying them a gift card is a nice gesture for helping make moving day less stressful.
  • Food expenses: Whether it is snacks on the road, stopping at restaurants, or restocking the pantry and your refrigerator at the new home, plan for food costs related to your move.
  • Time off work: Unless you move over the weekend or with paid time off, you may have to miss a few days worth of pay, especially for longer distance moves where you may not be starting your new job until a week or two after you have settled.
  • Storage: You may not be able to move everything into your new home right away, so plan for costs related to storing your belongings if necessary.

During any move, there will always be expenses that come up you simply could not have seen coming. Build some flexibility into your budget for these expenses, which may be around five percent of the total cost.

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