Moving costs can add up fast. Whether you hire a professional moving company or go the DIY route, moving expenses can be significant — that’s why it’s important to plan for them carefully.
In order to keep moving costs from catching you off-guard, use this moving expenses checklist to estimate how much your move will affect your bank account.
Things to consider when you move
While moving costs vary by state, there are a few major factors that determine how much your move will cost you:
- The time of year you move. Summer is high season for moving, and that usually means you’ll pay more to rent a truck or hire movers during the warmest months of the year.
- How much stuff you have. When you move, each item in your house represents a dollar sign. Professional movers, for instance, charge based on the weight and size of your items. The more stuff they move, the more you pay. Even though a self-service move is usually cheaper, the same holds true: the more stuff you have, the bigger (and more expensive) the truck you need to rent.
- The distance you’re moving. Long distance moves are always more expensive. Plan to pay for gas, lodging, and meals — on top of regular moving costs like truck rental and packing supplies — when you move out of the city or state.
With these factors in mind, you can start to plan for specific moving expenses.
Next, we’ll break down those expenses by category. These are the costs you’ll need to research as you plan your move according to a budget plan.
This category of moving expenses breaks down all of the costs associated with finding a new apartment:
- Apartment application fees
- Security deposit
- Pet deposit
- First month’s rent
- Utility deposit (if necessary)
You can estimate these costs with great accuracy by contacting your new apartment community. Most of these costs are fixed, and your new apartment manager likely can give you a breakdown of the fees.
You can use ApartmentGuide.com to plan for moving costs, as well. Just use our search engine to find apartments in your new city, and you’ll find costs like rent, security deposit, and pet fees detailed in most listings.
In this category, we’ll look at specific relocation expenses — all of the costs associated with the physical act of moving your belongings from point A to point B:
- Professional moving services or truck rental
- Moving insurance
- Packing supplies
- Moving equipment (dollies, hand trucks)
- Storage unit rental
- Snacks, drinks and gifts for friends who help you move
- Gratuities for professional movers
If you’re working with professional movers, it’s best to gather written estimates from several movers before choosing one. Compare the estimates, and you’ll see which company provides the best value. (Remember to budget for tips on top of moving company fees.)
If you rent a truck and use friends and family to help with the move, don’t forget to “tip” them, too. Pizza and beer might not be a huge moving expense, but it’s still something to include in your moving budget.
The travel category looks at moving costs associated with a long-distance move:
- Air fare
- Gas and toll fees
All of these travel expenses can seem like an afterthought when you’re through paying other moving costs. But if you’re moving across the country, travel expenses can be significant.
Once you’ve taken stock of each item on this list, you can get a pretty good idea of how moving expenses will affect your bottom line. If the costs are getting too high, try re-examining the factors that are making your move expensive and adjust in areas where you can be flexible.
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