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Budgeting for a Move: Calculating Moving Costs

Preparing for an upcoming move involves many factors (and expenses), from buying enough boxes and packing tape to hiring movers. Unfortunately, it’s easy to let costs run out of control in such a complex process.

According to Forbes, moving costs often average from $300 to $1,500 for renters, while long-distance moves cost between $2,500 and $5,000. Fortunately, planning ahead can help you keep expenses down.

Here’s how to create a budget that’ll help you prevent unexpected expenses and keep moving costs where you need them to be.

1. Create a Moving Budget Spreadsheet

This first step doesn’t have to be fancy or complicated. All you need is a sheet of paper and a pen. Of course, you can also use software, such as Excel, to create a simple spreadsheet.

Create three columns. Label the first column Expense, the second Estimated Cost, and the third Actual Cost. Now you’re ready to gather information.

2. Moving Costs to Factor in Your Budget

While every move is different, most will have some typical costs. Here are a few moving expenses that may apply to your move:

  • Hiring professional movers
  • Packing materials, such as boxes, packing paper, and tape
  • Renting moving equipment, such as dollies, handcarts, and moving blankets
  • Utility deposits for your new home
  • Final payments to settle utility accounts in your current home
  • Renting a storage unit or pod
  • Cleaning services
  • Costs of driving to your new home
  • Costs of lodging and dining out if your drive takes a few days
  • Airfare (if you’re relocating to a long-distance location and won’t be driving)
  • Other shipping fees for long-distance moves
  • Extra move insurance
  • If you’re renting, deposit on new rental
  • If you’re buying, up-front costs of home purchase
  • Child and pet care during the move

3. Fill in Your Budget Sheet

Once you’ve considered all the potential costs associated with your move, write down the name of each expected expense in the Expense column.

Next, estimate what you think each item will cost. Of course, some costs will be straightforward, and your best guess will likely be accurate. Others may involve research, such as the cost of shipping or moving services, which will require some research.

Start by giving your best estimate, then fill in the actual costs as these become available. This will help you develop a realistic estimate of how much your move will cost so that you can budget appropriately.

Through the move, the budget will help you stay on track. Therefore, it’ll be beneficial to include as many actual costs as possible.

4. Tips to Stay Within Budget

Of course, when you’re working with estimates, it’s difficult, if not impossible, to budget a move down to the last penny. So, to help your stay within your budget — and avoid unpleasant surprises — you may want to increase all estimated costs by about 5 percent.

This creates a “slush” that acts as a buffer when unexpected costs arise, as they so often do. You may also want to create a contingency fund ahead of time. Setting funds aside will help reduce your stress if you’re hit with a curveball during the move.

Pro Movers Make Your Job Easier

Moving is a challenge with many steps — from packing to loading, then unloading and unpacking. Professional movers can help ease your transition. Contact us for a free virtual quote. We can make relocation easier!


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