The Complete Guide to Budget

If you are planning a move, you have likely begun compiling a moving checklist, determining the type of moving method that best suits you, and perhaps you have even begun to explore various moving company options. But as you compile all of this information you are likely starting to wonder how much it will all cost you.

When you start putting down all of the moving expenses, they can add up quickly. It’s also possible that as you compile your moving list, you will think of additional things you need to add. As you append to your list, the expenses just seem to grow exponentially. Wouldn’t it be fantastic to have a straightforward, comprehensive checklist to quickly assess the majority of your moving costs?

We have put together such a cost checklist for just that reason. It includes all of the pertinent aspects of your move that you will need to plan on as you put together your moving plan and establish your moving budget.

Schedule Your Move

move calendar

The first step of every move begins with deciding how the move will be done: with the help of a professional moving company or by yourself (with assistance from friends and family). This is the initial decision that needs to be made and is the first moving expense to consider.

Long-Distance Moves

Budgeting for long-distance moves or across the country largely depends on the method by which you will be moving and how much you are packing. If you are using a moving company for instance, and moving out of a 1 bedroom residence, you will need to budget between $1,500 and $3,000, while 2 or 3 bedroom’s worth of moving contents will run between $4,000 and $7,000, and 4 to 5 bedrooms will be around $8,500.

If you are taking the move on by yourself, the following table can help to better illustrate your moving expenses via methods including a rental truck, moving, container, and freight trailer (a long-distance move only option).

Method/Size1 Bedroom2 or 3 Bedrooms4 or 5 Bedrooms
Truck Rental$2,000 - $3,000$2,500 - $3,500$3,500 +
Moving Container$1,500 - $3,000$1,500 - $3,000$6,000 +
Freight Trailer$1,500 - $2,000$2,000 - $3,000$3,5000

Local Moves

Local moves are a different story. Hiring a moving company will generate costs based on how many movers are involved, the size of the home, the hourly rate, and the number of hours that the move takes.

The following table helps to break the costs down based on all of those factors. These are general estimates for when you choose to utilize a moving company’s services:

Size Of HomeNumber of MoversMinimal (Base) CostCharge Per HourHoursTotal (Average)
Studio2$252$683$320
1 Bedroom2$252$684$388
2 Bedroom3$315$876$663
3 Bedroom4$394$1117$951
4 Bedroom4$394$1119$1174
5 Bedroom5$492$14312$1918

Of course, you also have the option of moving on your own with a variety of methods. A rental truck will cost between $28 and $52 for a 1 bedroom move, while a bedroom move from a large residence of 5 bedrooms will run between $58 and $73. If you choose to rent a moving container, something that typically fits roughly 3 bedrooms worth of stuff, will cost approximately $130. If you are moving from more than a 3-bedroom residence, you will need to double up on the moving containers, thereby doubling your rental expenses.

Choosing The Type Of Move

The decision on the type of move depends largely on your needs and how much assistance you will need, as well as how much time you have available to you. Performing the move yourself will always be more cost-effective, but for many people such as seniors or families with young children and pets, self-moving to a multi-bedroom home is challenging or not practical.

Professional moving companies are a pricier option, but they have a lot of experience in assuring that things move along quickly and efficiently, and they bring all of their own moving supplies and equipment. In a DIY move, all of the moving resources will also need to be purchased by you.

Costs For A Professional Move

There are several factors included in assessing the costs of hiring a moving company, with booking their services being the primary cost. It’s important to keep in mind that depending on the agreed-upon terms, the booking costs may differ from the original quote, so budgeting for more than the original quote is always a good idea.

There is also a factor of insurance. The cost of insurance varies based upon what you will need. The more insurance required, the higher the cost for it will be. Also, while moving company representatives do not officially work for tips, it is always good to show some appreciation for their efforts with some additional tips in cash with any amount that you are comfortable with.

Costs Of Moving On Your Own

To move on your own means that there is furniture and larger equipment, as well as a slew of heavy or moderately weighed boxes that you will need to transport. To move these you will need moving equipment such as dollies, carts, moving straps, furniture covers, and padding blankets.

Another big consideration is gas for your rental truck. While far less expensive than a professional move, moving trucks come with a cost that many movers simply don’t consider: poor gas efficiency. That means you will need to fill it up frequently, with the gas expenses adding up especially when the vehicle is carrying a ton of weight.

When you rent a truck, you will need to inform the rental company of the distance of your move as they can charge rates on a per-mile basis. If you are moving far, these expenses might end up being quite large.

Another important factor is insurance. The truck your rent should be insured as well as a necessary protection to cover the cost of losing or having any of your transported items damaged in the course of the move. Many people forego this, but if something were to happen, they could essentially lose everything they own, making the idea of insuring their belongings pivotal.

Packing Supplies

Besides the bigger equipment needed for the moves, you will also need many smaller items to assure that you can pack your belongings. Whether it be for containers, moving boxes, packing tape, bubble wrap, paper padding, scissors, and markers, there is a slew of smaller items necessary to get the packing project together. To save on the costs, utilize several methods of acquiring moving boxes at no cost.

House-Based Expenses

There are a few housing considerations to think about on the moving expense front. If you are renting and have put up pictures on your walls or incurred some damages or wear in your old place during your tenure, it might cost you extra to remedy these before you leave. Rental managers expect your house or apartment to look the same as when you left it, so any repairs they make will come out of your security deposit, or cost you more on top of that.

If you are selling your home, you will need to plan for real estate expenses, such as paying the real estate agent. These costs are generally built in to deduct from your home’s sale, but it is, nevertheless, an expense to consider when looking at the total moving costs.

When you are moving into a new place, if you are renting, you will need to consider that nearly every rental property requires a security deposit and the first month’s rent upfront. Some rental properties include utility and pet deposits as well.

Storage Costs

Sometimes there is a gap of time that occurs between when you move out of your old home and into your new home. Perhaps the new home is not ready for moving in yet, yet the new owners of your old residence are moving in already. It could also mean that temporary housing is required in the interim, which most people will typically go with a low-cost option for. That also largely comes at the expense of having ample space for everything you are moving.

To avoid moving more than once, most people in such situations require storage accommodations for the things that will head to their new home eventually. There are many storage center options available, but they are not free as you will need to rent the storage space to keep your things there. If you need to use any of the items in storage, you should also evaluate the means and cost of transportation that will be necessary to get you to and from the storage center.

Perhaps most crucially, while storage units are largely secure, there is always a chance of something unfortunate occurring. For this reason, insuring the things you are storing is highly recommended. It would be awful to somehow lose the majority of your belongings with no means to cover their costs after the fact.

Transportation And Accommodation Costs

Especially pertinent in long-distance moves is the idea of securing funds for the mode of transportation and temporary accommodations as you move from your old home to your new one. If you are moving across the country, you will not be driving the entire distance without any stops. You will need gas, breaks, and meals. You might also need to unwind with a bit of entertainment. For these reasons, it is important to budget for such living expenses during this transitional period.

Long-distance moves, even if you cover double-digit driving hours daily, will still require nightly accommodations. There are hotels all over the country, so make sure you make arrangements or planned stops at a particular one for the night or two during your move.

If you hired a moving company but need to get yourself to your new home, you may choose to drive or fly. Whether it’s gas and tolls, or an airline ticket, you will have to be ready for these traveling expenses. If you do fly, yet you own a vehicle, you may opt to ship it to its destination. You can book a car shipping service for this type of action, so it is important to set aside a budget for this as well.

Packing and moving is a tiring process, but it is especially hard if there are young kids or pets around and may need help or attention, especially if you are moving via DIY methods. Many people opt to hire a babysitter or a pet sitter to help out. While on the topic of help, if friends and family come over to help you with the move, it is good to set aside some money for snacks, drinks, and even meals for them. Some people show their appreciation with small gifts as well.

Expenses After The Move

Once the move has been completed, unfortunately, the moving expenses typically do not end. Unless you are somehow moving into a fully stocked home, you will need to purchase household goods, as well as foods to stock the fridge. If you are moving into a larger property than you had previously lived in, you might also need particular outdoor equipment or replacements for any small repairs.

When you have moved into a new residence, there are also certain safety aspects to address. For instance, one of the first things you will need to do is to change the locks on the doors. You may opt to install a security system and secure smoke detectors and fire extinguishers for your new home as well. Depending on the pest situation, you may even need some pest control services.

Final Thought

Expenses After The Move

There is really no escaping the reality of moving to be a costly venture. There is clearly a lot to budget for, and a lot to consider when planning, executing, and even coming out on the other side of a move. For this reason, knowing all of the moving expenses you will or could potentially incur is a vital part of being financially prepared for the move. With so much to consider, planning early saves you a lot of stress and headaches, and allows you to save up the necessary funds to accommodate all of the moving needs.