Tips on How to Budget For a Move Conveniently

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how to budget for a move

Whether you rent or own a home, moving is expensive and hectic. So, before moving, you need a good financial plan to ensure you do not get stranded in the middle of the process.

We understand how tricky it can get, so we discuss how to budget for a move to enable you to understand the important aspects of this process and save money for all the costs.

Moving budget is affected by many factors, including whether or not you rent, where you plan to move to, and whether you choose to move on your own.

Budgeting For a Move

Budgeting for a move can take time as you need to pay attention to details. This ensures that you don’t forget anything or rush. Let’s have a look at how to budget for a move.

a) Take Inventory

This is important as it helps you know how much space you need. In this first step, you will need to record all the items moving to your new home.

If there are items that will not be moving, ensure that you do not include them in the inventory. Instead, go room-by-room, taking records of everything that will be moving.

b) Do Your Research

Once you take the inventory, you will clearly understand how much stuff will be moving. This will help you know the kind of movers you need. This includes whether you will move by yourself or use professional movers.

Professional Movers

If you choose to go with professional movers, they will need your inventory to provide you with quotes. These movers will give you quotes depending on the items being moved and where they are being taken.

Some of the things you’ll pay for include;

i) Base Moving Fee

This fee includes the labor and fuel fee. Once you submit the inventory and the place you’re moving to, the movers will tell you how much you need to pay.

You can get up to three quotations from different movers to ensure you get the best deal. This also allows you to work with a company that best suits your needs.

ii) Moving Insurance

Moving insurance is the valuation coverage your moving company will provide you with. It is the amount of liability the movers agree to take in case your belongings get lost or damaged.

You can purchase moving insurance if you need additional protection for your goods.

iii) Optional Charges

You may require other services that could lead to more charges. Such services include if you need the movers to pack, unpack for, or even prepare your appliances.

These are optional charges that may apply if you need help.

Moving On Your Own

Hiring professional movers may be a little more expensive than doing it yourself. Therefore, if you do not plan to spend much money on moving, you may consider this option. So, some of the things you should expect to pay for include the following in case you decide to move on your own.

i) Truck Rental

You will need to rent a truck if you have some heavy items like furniture. Rates depend on the distance, size of the truck and how long you need it.

ii) Equipment Rental

When moving alone, you will not have everything you need. Therefore, the truck company can rent you some necessary equipment to make moving easier.

Examples of rental equipment include moving blankets and dollies. You can also check with your local store for cheaper rental moving equipment.

iii) Gas

Your truck rental company will give you rules on how much gas you need to return the truck.

iv) Additional Insurance

Additional insurance is optional. However, you may need additional liability coverage besides what your truck company will provide. This is minimal, though, so it will not cost you much.

Other Expenses to Consider

There will always be other expenses, whether you go with professionals or move alone. These other miscellaneous expenses may be overlooked, but it is important to include them in your moving budget.

Including all the moving expenses will help you know whether you need to save money or have enough for the job. Some of these additional costs include the following;

i) Lodging

When moving to a distant place, you must put accommodation in your budget. This is true if you plan for temporary housing while your new home is ready. Under this factor, you may also need to consider child and pet care if you have any meals or other related costs.

ii) Storage

This is another factor that you can easily forget. So, if you need any storage during your move, you can contact a few storage companies for an estimate.

If you are unsure which storage facility, you’ll take, use the highest price in your budget. Remember to add moving expenses to and from the storage area in this section.

An alternative to this is using a storage container instead. If you need a storage container, ensure you get a couple of quotes to avoid getting more than you need.

If you opt for the storage containers, they will be dropped off at your home for you to fill up, picked and stored by the storage company and later on dropped off at your new location.

iii) Transportation

You will need to factor in your transportation if you are not driving the truck. If you’re moving somewhere close, it will cost you a minimal amount. However, if you’re moving far from home, you may have to use more.

iv) Cleaning Costs

Once you decide to move, it won’t matter whether you are renting or selling the home; you will need to clean it. The house you’re vacating must be clean for the next person moving in.

cleaning services will affect your overall budget

Image: McKinley Living

You will also need to clean your new home before moving in. This means you will have to pay for that service from a professional cleaning company or buy the cleaning supplies and do it yourself.

v) Vehicle Shipping

If you’re moving across state lines, you will need to ship your car in addition to your other belongings. You can opt to see a certified Auto Mover as it may be cheaper and easier than having the movers load your car into their moving truck.

vi) Real Estate Costs

This is among the most expensive parts associated with moving. However, it has nothing t do with the moving day.

You can factor in real estate costs in the overall moving budget. Some of these costs include realtor and lawyer fees, home inspection and appraisal fees, repair fees, rental deposits, first and last month’s rent and down payments.

c) Decide When and Where You Want to Move

The cost you incur when moving depends on seasons too. The time of the year highly affects the cost of moving.

If you decide to move during summer, you will pay a little more than if you move in the winter season. Moving in winter is hectic, so not many people prefer it.

On the other hand, moving during summer is more demanded as kids are not in school and moving with them is easier. The roads are also not covered in snow, making it easy for the trucks to move.

Your destination will also influence how much you spend during the moving process. For example, the cost of moving from a rural place to a city will be more than if you move from city to city. Also, some U.S cities require a moving permit to park moving trucks.

d) Keep Money Aside For Daily Expenses

Creating a moving budget is one of the steps to planning a move. This is because life goes on, so bills have to be paid as always. You can keep paying the bills as you still finance your move.

To handle this well, you will need to track monthly expenses and subtract them from your income. The remaining amount is what you’ll have to divide between your moving budget and other expenses.

e) Find Ways to Earn and Save More

One of the best ways to increase your savings while creating a moving budget is to cut back on spending as much s possible. Some of the ways through which you can cut spending include eating at home instead of take-outs.

You can also minimize spending by using the same clothes differently instead of changing your monthly wardrobe. Buying groceries in bulk also leaves you with a few extra coins you can drop in your piggy bank.

You can choose to save and move in whichever way you like; however, how much you save will affect your quality of moving experience. Also, when buying moving supplies, you can choose cheaper options.

You can get cardboard boxes for free and recyclable plastic bins at low prices. Making attainable saving plans can also add to your moving money.

With a separate saving account for the moving budget, you can easily save and avoid spending the money on other things. It also keeps things organized for you.

You could also find that you’re having trouble affording all the moving expenses. However, you can open a credit card to help with that or take a small loan. This will help you move without having to pay for everything immediately.

f) Have an Emergency Fund

Moving comes with curveballs that you may not be ready for. Though it can be difficult to create an emergency fund, such funds may provide you with relief when the unexpected happens.

If you manage, try to keep some money that is enough to provide for at least three months worth of expenses. By doing so, in case of anything, you will have something to sort yourself with as you try to figure things out.

Calculating an Accurate Moving Budget

It is not easy to create an accurate moving budget based only on estimations. Anything can change at a moment’s notice, altering all your plans.

You can help cushion the budget by creating a contingency fund. To get this amount and to come up with a figure, multiply the total amount of everything by 5%.

Add the contingency and your total to estimate the moving costs. You can also use our moving cost calculator to get the total amount. With this, you know that you can still move comfortably in case of abrupt changes.

Moving Budget Tips

As we all know, moving is costly, and you may want to minimize the expenses as much as possible. However, sometimes the timeframe does not allow you to save enough; in such circumstances, you may need some tips. So, here are a few to help lower your moving expenses.

a) Negotiate with Movers

Your movers will give you quotes once you give them your inventory. However, these quotes are not fixed but flexible.

Getting estimates from several movers will give you a chance to have options and to know the price range. You can knock off some money from the quote by doing some things yourself or even forgoing a few things.

b) Sell Unwanted Items

You can find that you have a few or several items that you don’t need\use. You can get some money by selling them if they are in good condition. This may also reduce the amount you pay for moving.

If you don’t find anyone to buy them at that moment, you can well donate them. This will still save you money by decreasing your load size.

c) Shop for Coupons

You can create time to hunt for coupons as they may come in handy due to the moving expenses. This will pay off, especially furniture and decor for your new home.

Moving Expenses Checklist

You can easily forget about something when creating your moving budget. However, with a checklist, it is easy to remember no matter how many things you have on your list.

So, depending on how you decide to move, here is a checklist to ensure everything is included in the budget;

Professional Movers

  • Moving fees

  • Packing and Unpacking services

  • Moving insurance

  • Hidden costs


  • Truck rental

  • Gas

  • Moving insurance

  • Moving equipment rental

  • Packing materials

  • Meals

  • Furniture covers

  • Transportation

Other Expenses

  • Car shipping

  • Lodging

  • Home cleaning

  • Storage unit rental

  • Insurance

  • Moving costs to and from the storage facility

  • Child care

  • Pet care

Frequently Asked Questions On How to Budget for a Move

1. Must I save money before I move out?

Yes, saving before you move is crucial as moving is costly. On average, you will need $400-$7,000 depending on where you’re moving to, how much you’ll be carrying and other needs.

Saving for upfront moving costs and living expenses for up to three months can help cover emergencies.

2. What if I can’t afford to move?

Moving is expensive, and you may find that you can’t afford it. If that’s the case with you, be patient and diligent. First, evaluate your income and spending, then come up with a budget to enable you to save enough money for the moving supplies and other things.

Next, ensure you create a timeline and stick with it. You can save enough within months, depending on how much you earn and spend.

Image: Wellbudget

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Christina Brown
Christina Brown

Christina Brown is a professional moving guide specialist. She is a self-proclaimed expert in moving and has been writing for the last 5 years about different topics related to it. Her articles are informative, helpful, and filled with opinionated points of view that make you reevaluate how you think about relocating. If you face any problem don't hesitate to contact her at

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