What to Budget for When Moving Out: Moving Budget Checklist

Things to budget for when moving outWhen moving out for the first time, it’s really important that you set a moving budget. Why? It’s simple: having an initial idea of how much money you’ll need to complete the move successfully will help you keep up with the ever-increasing moving costs.

Learn below the major moving expenses you’ll have to budget for when moving out, both for DIY- and movers-assisted household moves. You wouldn’t want to run out of money in the middle of your relocation, so create a moving budget to have the peace of mind that you’re financially ready for the house moving challenge ahead.

It’s not overly complicated to make a moving budget and manage it well, but it does require a good understanding of when you should use tried-and-true cost-saving techniques to cut the moving costs so that you don’t overspend unnecessarily on a move that’s already expensive to start with.

Read on to learn how to make a budget for moving out.

Top 3 reasons you should set a moving budget

Planning a moving budget will give you an advantage when the time comes to start paying for various move-related expenses simply because you’ll be ready, mentally as well, for those not-so-pleasant moments.

Here are the top 3 reasons why you should set a moving budget early in your pre-move preparations:

  • You will have a good estimate of how much money you will need for the completion of your move. Ideally, you will be able to set separate budgets for each of the major tasks of moving to a new home – for example, hiring movers, packing, etc.
  • You will know whether you have enough finances to pull off the house move – the type of knowledge that can save you from serious trouble down the road. In fact, knowing in advance that you do not have enough money saved to move out should give you other viable options to consider, including postponing your move, if at all possible.
  • You will be able to act accordingly when a specific moving task requires more money to be done than you allocated to it in the beginning. This way, your quick reaction should correct the situation and prevent you from spending more money than you have to on a job.

Creating a moving budget planner is more important than you think and you should definitely include the task in your personal moving checklist, especially if you’re moving for the first time.

The best thing about making a moving budget is that you can use it later when the move is done – use it as a moving budget template for another house move in the future. Also, you may choose to share the budgeting lessons you’ve learned with friends who’ll be getting ready to move out as well.

20 Simple ways to reduce moving costs

What to budget for when hiring a mover

When you’re hiring a professional moving company to help you move to the new home, you should definitely work the following moving company expenses into your moving budget.

Moving company fees

To create a moving budget that will reflect fairly accurately the final price, you’ll need to know how much your moving company will charge you for the job. The moving company charge will be calculated differently depending on whether you’re hiring local movers or cross-country movers.

  • Moving company fees

    Did you know that local movers charge by the hour?

    Local movers. In-state moving companies charge on an hourly basis, meaning that the main cost-forming factor will be how much time the moving experts spend working on your move. The fixed hourly rate will depend on your exact location in the country, the time of the year (off-season or high season), and the local mover itself.
    On average, you should expect to pay roughly $40 for one mover for 1 hour of work.

  • Interstate mover Interstate moving companies do not charge by the hour – instead, they offer cost estimates in writing after inspecting the household items for packing and moving. Those cost estimates are based on the distance between the two homes, the weight of all the things to be transported to the new address, the additional insurance you may choose to purchase, and all the extra services you request from your long distance mover.

Ask top-rated moving companies to visit your home in person to complete that all-important visual inspection of the household items you want to be moved. After the on-site survey, get binding cost estimates in writing, then compare those quotes to pick the best offer in terms of price, services, and conditions.

10 Things you should know about interstate movers

Additional insurance

Your budget plan for moving out should include the cost of additional insurance in case you’re moving valuable and expensive items. It’s important to understand your insurance options in advance so that you can add that extra level of protection for your prized possessions.

When you agree to hire a mover and right after you sign the required paperwork (the Bill of Lading, in most cases), you will receive basic coverage for free. Also known as basic limited liability protection, that level of protection is virtually non-existent as it offers merely 60 cents per pound per item in case of trouble. Would you be satisfied to get around $20 from your mover as a form of compensation if they damaged your brand-new flat-screen TV?

So, when moving valuable items between two homes, you should include the price of Full Value Protection into your moving expenses checklist. Once you purchase that extra moving insurance, the moving company you’ve hired will be responsible for any damage or loss of your belongings, and should reimburse the replacement value of those damaged or lost items in case of problems.

Extra moving services

To set a moving budget properly, you must factor in all the extra services you will get from your moving company. Of course, any additional moving services will cost you more money, so you should be very careful what type of services you request from the professional movers.

An extra service may be requested by you (packing your items for a move, for example) or it may be required for the successful completion of the moving job (disassembling large furniture, for instance).

How to set a moving budget

Professional furniture disassembly in progress.

Additional moving services include:

  • packing, unpacking,
  • disassembly of furniture,
  • re-assembly of furniture,
  • temporary storage,
  • hoisting through windows or balconies,
  • custom wooden crating, and
  • delayed delivery of household goods.

Discuss with your moving company what extra services will be needed and have them include those services, together with their corresponding charges, into the written moving cost estimate.

Additional moving services: All you need to know

Extra charges and fees

Unfortunately, when you’re creating a moving budget, you should also consider a number of possible extra fees that your moving company may charge you during the course of the move. Here are the most common extra charges you should be on the lookout for:

  • Flight charge – charged when your movers are forced to carry heavy items up and down flights of stairs in case of a non-operational elevator;
  • Long carry charge – charged when your movers have to carry your items from the building entrance to the moving truck longer than a pre-specified distance;
  • Bulky items charge – charged when the pros need to handle large and heavy items such as huge furniture pieces, pianos, pool tables, hot tubs, etc.
  • Cancellation fee – charged if you change your mind in the last minute and choose to go with another moving company. Ask your mover about their cancellation fee policy to avoid having to pay extra money;
  • Extra stops fee – charged when you need the moving company to make additional stops for picking up or dropping off extra items along the way;
  • Shuttle service – charged when your moving company truck is too big to access your property and a smaller moving vehicle needs to be used instead;
  • Travel fee – charged by local movers for the time they need to reach your home on Moving day. The usual charge is one extra hour of moving labor.

How much does it cost to hire movers?

What to budget for when moving by yourself

Many people mistakenly believe that moving by yourself (without hiring a moving company) is always the cheaper way to move house. But while the DIY moving option may be more cost-effective when you’re moving only a short distance (moving locally), organizing and pulling off a self-move across the country often turns out to be a bad idea from a financial point of view. Why? It’s all about the hidden DIY moving costs that many people fail to account for until it’s too late for them to do anything about them.

How to budget your money when moving by yourself? Here are the major self-moving expenses you should work into your DIY moving budget:

Truck rental

Moving expenses checklist

There are a number of hidden expenses to be aware of when moving by yourself.

Truck rental rates can vary greatly and will depend on a number of factors, including truck rental agency, time of year, truck availability, size of truck, one-way or return, etc.

Get in touch with the largest nationwide truck rental companies – U-Haul, Penske, Budget, Ryder, and Enterprise) and request price estimates for the truck size you need. Also, make sure you check the prices and conditions of smaller local truck rental agencies.

When budgeting your DIY move, it’s important to know the right size of truck for your specific needs. Renting a smaller truck will, in most cases, be cheaper than getting a moving vehicle with larger capacity, but you may get forced to leave some of the items behind or do several trips if the storage capacity is too small to fit all your things. When unsure, it’s usually safer to rent a bigger moving truck.

10 Tips for renting a moving truck for your DIY move


The cost of fuel will be another substantial DIY moving expense that you need to include in your moving budget. When you’re renting a moving vehicle, don’t forget to ask the rental company how many miles to the gallon you should expect from the rental truck so that you make a rough calculation of the gas money.

On average, rental trucks consume up to 12-13 MPG, and their fuel type varies – some use diesel, others use gasoline. So, get those details right when renting your moving truck. Then, you can use the AAA fuel calculator to find the cost of fuel along your relocation route.

Moving equipment

When moving on your own, you’ll need to also budget for the cost of renting or purchasing the required moving equipment so that your DIY move can be as safe as possible.

A moving dolly is a must-get equipment piece – either an appliance dolly or a furniture dolly, or even both depending on your concrete needs. Also, furniture blankets and furniture pads will make things easier and safer for you and everyone involved in the move.

Rent the moving equipment you need from a local moving company or purchase it from a good home improvement store near you.

What to expect from full-service moving companies

Vehicle transportation

When you’re moving across the country, you may decide not to drive your own car to the new home. In that case, you’ll also need to include in your moving budget the cost to have your car shipped cross country.

How much does it cost to transport a car to another state? The car shipping cost will depend on the distance between the two homes, the specific make and model of the vehicle, its size and weight, and the rates of the auto shipper you choose.

On average, you should expect to pay between $500 for short car trips and $1,500 for long cross-country hauls. Contact the best car shipping companies in your town or city and request accurate car shipping quotes.

How to move a car from one state to another

Packing expenses

Moving out of home budget

When you hire professional packers, the cost of the necessary packing materials will be included in the cost of the extra service.

If you intend to pack up your things without paying professional packers to do it for you, then you should add the approximate packing costs to your moving budget as well.

It can be really hard to figure out in advance how many packing supplies you’ll need to complete the packing job on your own. Still, moving boxes will be your major packing expense, so you can add an approximate cost to your budget knowing that

  • 20 medium boxes, 16 large boxes, 8 extra-large boxes, 4 wardrobe boxes, and 4 picture boxes are needed to pack the contents of a 1-bed apartment, while
  • 30 medium boxes, 22 large boxes, 10 extra-large boxes, 4 wardrobe boxes, and 6 picture boxes are required to pack up a 2-bedroom home.

In addition to packing boxes, you’ll also need bubble wrap, packing paper, stretch wrap, packing tape, and a set of markers to pack up your items properly.

Where to find free packing materials

Unexpected moving costs

Your moving budget checklist should also include a contingency fund – extra money in case unexpected move-related expenses appear as if from nowhere. Even if you plan your time really well with the help of a moving and packing timeline, you never know what will happen until it does. It’s important that you get ready for such contingent situations because they do happen from time to time and can easily damage your chances of a problem-free move unless you’ve already set aside a reasonable amount to cover them.

Moving cross country on a budget can be a real challenge, especially when your preliminary calculations show that your budget won’t be big enough to cover the moving expenses. Don’t despair though, for there are a number of good cost-saving techniques you can use to lower your moving costs. Follow the link below to learn the best tips for moving on a budget.

10 Tips for moving on a low budget

The post What to Budget for When Moving Out: Moving Budget Checklist appeared first on The Moving Blog.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *