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.
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.
While moving costs vary widely, 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 more demand 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 moving yourself is usually cheaper, the same holds true: the more stuff you have, the bigger (and more expensive) the truck you need to rent, and the more you pay for it in the time and effort of having to carry things .
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.
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 includes the costs associated with finding a new apartment:
To get these, talk to management at your new apartment community. These are usually fixed costs, so they should be able to tell you exactly how much each of these are going to be. They only need to be paid once, and while the big ones (security deposit and first month’s rent) probably dominate your thinking, the others can add up pretty quickly.
You can also use ApartmentGuide.com to help plan for moving costs. Just use our apartment listings, where you’ll find costs like rent, security deposit, and pet fees.
Moving your stuff from one place to another means you have to physically move a lot of stuff over potentially long distances. Here are some of the costs you’re likely to deal with here:
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. Note that these are usually not binding estimates, and actual costs could exceed the numbers they give you. (Remember to budget for tips on top of the estimates.)
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 you have to pay for.
Read more: How to Keep Your Credit Intact When Moving
The travel category looks at moving costs associated with a long-distance move:
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.
Saving some money
If you’re moving for work or business purposes, you may be able to deduct the costs of moving from your taxes. You’ll want to consult with an accountant about this, but not having to pay taxes on your moving costs can save you some money later on.
Once you’ve taken stock of each item on this list, you can get a pretty good idea of how much moving is going to cost. If it’s getting too high, take a closer look at why it’s so expensive and try to adjust what’s making it so expensive.