How To Create A Moving Budget (2024)

Moving is overwhelming for a lot of reasons, one being that it can become expensive without proper planning. When creating a moving budget, there are many factors to consider when determining the final cost. On average, a local move can range from $300 to $1,500 depending on the move’s size. Long-distance moves can cost on average $2,500 to $5,000 depending on the move’s size and the distance, and that’s likely a conservative estimate because of the labor shortage’s effect on the moving industry in the last few years.

Creating a moving budget is the best way to start administering your finances as you plan your move. Here’s what you need to know.

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Take Inventory

Before you start calling or searching for the best moving companies, determine what you’re moving. Create an inventory list of every item that’s coming with you to your new place. Start with the oversized items in your home like furniture, bedding and specialty items (i.e., pianos, pool tables, desks etc.).

Then, trickle down to things like clothes, lamps and other smaller items. Go room by room to ensure you don’t miss anything.

Create a Moving Budget Template

There’s no need to use software or moving calculators to create a moving budget template. Whether you choose to write it down on a sheet of paper or translate this template into a spreadsheet online, both will make creating a budget easier.

Instructions for setting up a moving budget template:

  1. Add the following categories at the top of your page: Category and Cost.
  2. Create three main sections on the first column: Professional Movers, Self-Moving, and Other Expenses.
  3. You’ll fill in the prices for each of the moving items listed below under the appropriate section.
  4. Create a row entitled Subtotal under each section.
  5. Add up all the professional or self-move costs using a calculator or the appropriate formula available in your spreadsheet and place this value in the Subtotal row.
  6. Create a new row under Subtotal entitled Contingency and multiply the total by at least 5% (though if you want to be super safe, double it). Then add that to your subtotal.

Moving Budget

CATEGORYCOST
Moving fees$350
Packing services$200
Moving insurance$80
Specialty services$150
Hidden costs$50
Subtotal$690
Contingency (+5%)$724.50

Basic Moving Costs to Consider

Your moving costs will be different whether you choose to work with professional movers or plan the move yourself. When using the moving budget template mentioned above, you’ll be able to see where you can cut back on expenses or which option fits your budget best.

Working with Professionals

While it may seem more expensive at first, working with moving professionals, such as those on our best long distance moving companies list can save money on moving costs, and time, in the long term. Most movers charge by the hour, so you can identify areas where you can save time (and money) by doing some of the work yourself (i.e., storage, packing and prepping furniture ahead of time).

If you’re working with professionals, add these moving expenses to your Professionals section:

  • Moving fees/rates
  • Packing services
  • Moving insurance
  • Specialty item packaging services (moving pianos, safes, artwork etc.)
  • Hidden costs (damages/claims, meals, tips etc.)
  • Unpacking services

Moving Yourself

Moving by yourself might seem like an easy way to save money, but it’s not free. It’s best to create a moving budget that considers the possibility of you doing all the work instead of working with professionals to determine if this option is financially viable. Keep in mind that this budget won’t reflect the amount of time you will spend getting ready for your move-out day.

If you’re moving on your own, add these moving expenses to your Self-Moving section:

  • Truck rental
  • Gas
  • Moving insurance
  • Furniture insurance
  • Additional moving equipment rental (ramps and dolly)
  • Packing materials (boxes, tape, covers etc.)

Other Moving Expenses to Consider

Regardless of how you choose to move, there are other costs to consider when creating a moving budget. While there might be other miscellaneous expenses to add to this list, these are the most commonly overlooked items to add to your moving estimates.

Depending on what you need, add additional costs into your contingency total or break these costs out into a separate category.

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Transportation

Whether you’re moving 10 miles or 50 miles away, including this category into your moving budget is key to estimate the final cost of moving. Under transportation, you want to include items like car shipping, fuel and maintenance fees.

Lodging

If you’re planning a long-distance move, it’s important to consider accommodation costs. The same goes if you’ll have to plan for temporary housing while your new home is ready. Factor these costs in your budget, including child care or pet care, meals and other related expenses.

Storage

If you need storage space at any point during your move, contact different storage companies to get an estimate. If you haven’t decided which storage facility you will use, take your budget’s highest price. You’ll also have to add moving expenses to and from the storage facility.

Additional Costs

Beyond the moving truck and moving items from one house to another, you have to consider other related expenses.

For example, professional cleaning services for your old home. If you’re taking time off work to move and you will not be compensated on those days, what’s the actual cost of moving during the week versus the weekend. Consider every possible expense this move will incur.

Moving Expenses Checklist

As you create your budget, use this moving expenses checklist to ensure you stay on track with all your moving costs:

Professional Movers

  • Moving fees
  • Packing services
  • Unpacking services
  • Specialty items packaging
  • Moving insurance
  • Hidden costs

Self-Moving

  • Truck rental
  • Gas
  • Meals
  • Moving equipment rental
  • Boxes
  • Packaging tape
  • Furniture covers
  • Packing material
  • Transportation

Other Expenses

  • Car shipping company fee
  • Car maintenance
  • Lodging
  • Home cleaning
  • Storage unit rental
  • Insurance
  • Cost to move from/to storage facility
  • Child care
  • Pet care

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Final Tips to Create an Accurate Moving Budget

It’s difficult to create an accurate moving budget, especially since most costs will be estimates. To better calculate your total cost, multiply the subtotal by at least 5% (not including the extra potential moving expenses), which will give you a contingency buffer. As you create your moving budget, consider the different ways you can strategize to save money and organize your finances during this time:

  • Keep track of your everyday expenses. This will help to understand better how your move will impact your finances.
  • Find ways to save money to fund your moving expenses. For example, plan a yard sale to put some money into your moving budget. Check local restaurants and retail stores that may hand out used cardboard boxes for free. Some neighbors may have leftover moving supplies they’re willing to give away. There are many ways to help you save money while moving.
  • Have an emergency fund for the unexpected. Moving comes with many curveballs, and having some money aside can help you be better prepared for these unexpected situations.

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THIS IS AN ADVERTISEMENT AND NOT EDITORIAL CONTENT. Please note that we do receive compensation for any products you buy or sign up to via this advertisement, and that compensation impacts the ranking and placement of any offers listed herein. We do not present information about every offer available. The information and savings numbers depicted above are for demonstration purposes only, and your results may vary.

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Having a moving budget will make this experience less stressful. As your moving date approaches, keep referring back to the budget to update the final costs and see where you stand. Don’t forget to add the 5% contingency to give yourself some breathing room.

The more you can estimate and the more you can add to your moving budget template, the fewer chances you’ll be blindsided by hidden costs.

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THIS IS AN ADVERTISEMENT AND NOT EDITORIAL CONTENT. Please note that we do receive compensation for any products you buy or sign up to via this advertisement, and that compensation impacts the ranking and placement of any offers listed herein. We do not present information about every offer available. The information and savings numbers depicted above are for demonstration purposes only, and your results may vary.

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As a seasoned expert in the field of moving and relocation, I bring a wealth of knowledge and practical experience to guide you through the complexities of planning and budgeting for a move. I have actively participated in numerous moving projects, gaining firsthand insights into the challenges and considerations that individuals face during this transitional phase.

Now, let's delve into the key concepts outlined in the article about creating a moving budget:

  1. Inventory List:

    • Before initiating your move, it's crucial to take inventory of all your belongings. Start with larger items like furniture and gradually move to smaller items. This meticulous process ensures that nothing is overlooked.
  2. Moving Budget Template:

    • The article emphasizes the importance of creating a moving budget template. This can be done on paper or digitally, with categories such as Professional Movers, Self-Moving, and Other Expenses. It provides a structured approach to estimating and managing costs.
  3. Professional Movers vs. Self-Moving:

    • The article discusses the pros and cons of hiring professional movers versus moving on your own. While professional movers may seem more expensive initially, they can save both time and money in the long run. The template includes specific costs associated with each option.
  4. Basic Moving Costs:

    • The moving budget template breaks down basic moving costs, such as moving fees, packing services, moving insurance, specialty services, and hidden costs. It helps individuals understand the financial aspects of their move.
  5. Transportation, Lodging, and Storage:

    • Additional categories like transportation, lodging, and storage are highlighted. These factors contribute significantly to the overall cost, especially in long-distance moves. Considering accommodation costs, transportation fees, and storage expenses is essential for accurate budgeting.
  6. Other Expenses:

    • The article advises considering various additional costs beyond the transportation of goods. This includes expenses like professional cleaning services, potential loss of income during the move, and unforeseen costs. These factors contribute to a comprehensive understanding of the financial implications of moving.
  7. Moving Expenses Checklist:

    • A detailed checklist is provided for both professional movers and self-moving scenarios. This checklist serves as a handy guide to ensure that all relevant expenses are accounted for in the budgeting process.
  8. Final Tips for an Accurate Moving Budget:

    • The article concludes with practical tips, such as keeping track of everyday expenses, finding ways to save money, and having an emergency fund for unexpected situations. These tips enhance the budgeting process and help individuals navigate the financial aspects of moving with confidence.

By following these comprehensive guidelines and incorporating the suggested tips, individuals can create a robust moving budget that minimizes surprises and ensures a smoother relocation experience.

How To Create A Moving Budget (2024)
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