Creating a moving budget is essential to saving money on your move, and because the amount you'll spend is not always obvious, there are lots of small costs that quickly add up. The larger items, such as the cost of renting a truck or moving company, the money you spend on your airline ticket, and the up front cost of buying the packing supplies or hiring the packing service. However, most people think of the moving essentials and don't take into consideration the extra costs involved.
Before the Move
- Additional Insurance: Moving companies will provide insurance, but the standard rate is usually not enough to replace the item, especially if that item is small and valuable, such as crystal, glass or porcelain. Since insurance is based on weight, with a standard rate averaging around 60 cents per pound, you usually need to seek out additional insurance. Also, keep in mind that the standard rate is not necessarily what you'll get should some of your goods be damaged. This rate represents the maximum coverage you're entitled to, but due to government regulations, taxes, etc... this might not be the amount you receive.
- Your Current Residence: If you're selling your home, there will be things you'll need to fix before you go, a list outlined in your agreement. Such small tasks will take time and probably some money, too. You may want to, or need to, hire someone to do these tasks, especially if it's something out of your scope. Paying a professional plumber can save you a lot of money in the end.
And whether you're moving from a house or a rental, cleaning will be a major priority that takes both money and time. I prefer to hire a cleaning company to make sure the job gets done right. If you're moving from a rental, most likely you paid a damage deposit when you first moved in. To make sure you receive the full amount back, having a professional cleaner transform the space back into it's original (or almost original) state is worth the extra money. Besides, what a professional company can do in three hours could take you three days. Build these costs into your moving budget, then if you find the time to do these tasks yourself, great! It's better to be prepared then to run short.
- Hidden Costs of Rentals: Some people who move end up buying a house as opposed to renting; however, there are still a vast number of people who rent, whether for a long-term or short-term until their home is ready. When you rent, there's more than just the cost of your space that you need to consider. Hidden fees such as security or damage deposits and broker fees add up to a lot. Also, when signing an agreement, ask what is included in the rent. Most often you end up paying extra for services such as parking or utilities.
During Your Move
Since most of your costs are accrued at this time, you'll be glad to know there aren't too many additional fees that you hadn't considered.
- On the Move: If you hire a moving company, then most likely you'll need to get to your new home on your own. Build into your budget such additional costs as hotels, meals, snacks (all those extra-large lattes!), and gas if you're planning on driving. Use a distance rate calculator to estimate how far you're going, then determine how long it will take to get there. If you have more than one driver, you can estimate longer driving times, but make sure you consider meals and breaks and enough time to rest.
AAA has a great site that calculates fuel costs for your trip. Based on your starting point and end point, and using information about your vehicle, such as make, model and year, this is a pretty incredible tool. And if you're moving yourself, ask the truck rental company how many miles to the gallon your rental gets. Again, add this to your costs with at least a 5% contingency just to make sure you're covered.
And while you're at the AAA site, if you don't already have a membership, purchase one. This will save you money if you find yourself stranded on the road.
If you're flying to your new locale, then remember to add in taxi fares to the airport on your way out and from the airport on your way in, airport fees and any additional monies you might have to pay for extra luggage beyond what is allowed. This is also the time to remember the cost to move your pets. Build in the vet fees, carrier costs and flight price.
For the hidden costs once you've moved, check out Moving: What's the Real Cost After Your Move?.