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creating a moving budget

Creating A Moving Budget

Be prepared with a planned out moving budget

cross country movers

Creating A Moving Budget

Having a moving budget prepared and in place will create efficiency and clarity when having to take care of the costs associated with moving.

Using software programs like Word or Excel can be a very simple way to digitalize your moving budget. You can create templates that allow easy edits. If multiple people are involved in the budgeting process it can provide access for the additional users to view from different locations, and be accessible from mobile devices.

If you're old skool and prefer the smell and feel of paper, you can easily obtain a bookkeepers journal or other notebook and create your own accounting system. Make sure to have a good calculator.

Moving Expenses

Moving to a new home, whether locally or across the country can be exciting. Figure out how much you can allocate for your move and begin thorough research into creating your budget.

Setting up a moving budget should be one of the first things you do. Maybe your relocating for a job and the company is paying, however, some additional expenses you had not expected and budgeted for, may surprise you.

Using Professional Moving Services

If you are considering to hire a professional moving company, certain costs will need to be factored into your budget:

  • Moving company fees – Professional moving companies will include fuel and labor into the estimated quote.
  • Additional services – The moving quote you receive should include a breakdown of all additional services required along with the fees. Additional services may include:
  • Packing/unpacking services
  • Disassembling/reassembling large furniture pieces
  • Expedited service charge
  • Storage
  • Extra fees – The moving company may have prepared you for some of these potential extra charges, however, in some situations, they can be unforeseen. Extra fees may include:
  • Long haul
  • Long carry
  • Accessorial charges
  • Flight charge
  • Shuttle service
  • Bulky items
  • Cancellation fee
  • Extra stops
  • Insurance – Purchasing full value insurance is always recommended. Your moving company offers basic limited liability protection for free, but in the event damage occurs, knowing you are fully protected will be worth having budgeted for it.
  • Tipping – Tipping the crew for a job well done and maybe even providing lunch or snacks should be included into your budget.

Moving Yourself

Costs to consider when moving yourself.

  • Truck rental – Prices vary by size and distance. Some companies include mileage.
  • Gas – Calculate approximately the cost of fuel for the total distance. Finding out how many miles to the gallon the truck can do, will be of great help for budgeting purposes. There are fuel calculators online that can help calculate approximate costs.
  • Equipment – You may need to rent extra equipment. While negotiating the contract with the truck rental company, asking for these items to be included is not uncommon. These may include:
  • Dolly
  • Loading ramp
  • Mattress and furniture covers
  • Hired help – Budget a fee for any paid help. If friends or family are helping out, consider treating them to lunch.
  • Insurance – If you own credit cards, inquire if you are covered under their services. If you are not covered, include purchasing of insurance into the budget.

Moving Your Car

If you will be relocating your car, you need to include the cost to move it, which may be one of the following:

  • Hiring an auto transportation company
  • Hire the moving company to move your car in addition to your personal belongings
  • Drive it yourself or have someone drive it for you
  • Haul it on the back of a rental truck

If you will be driving it yourself, you will need to include:

  • Inspection (prior to moving, make sure everything is working and safe)
  • Gas
  • Parking fees if applicable

Journey To Your New Destination

In addition to having your personal belonging packed up and ready to go, whether you hire a professional moving company or move yourself, you will need to budget for the following:

  • Lodgings – If you are moving long distance and driving, chances are you will need a place to sleep for a few nights along the way. Spend some time researching your planned route to see what options you have.
  • Flights and car rental – If you decide to fly, obtain flight prices per person, including tax and any extra fees that may apply per airline, such as baggage allowance, seating, meals. If car rental will be required either to or from the airport, factor these costs in as well.
  • Food – Depending on the length of your journey, you will need to allocate a budget for meals and snacks. Calculate an average cost per meal per person.
  • Pets – Will you be moving any pets? You will need to decide the best method and costs associated for transporting your pet. Check out Moving your Pets for any tips. If you will need pet care prior to, or once arrive at destination, include all the costs.
  • Childcare – Will you require childcare prior, during and once arrive? Include these fees.
  • Temporary housing – If you don’t yet have a new address, you may need a short-term rental.


Many companies offering packing supplies, like U-Haul sell items individually and in kits. You can check out U-Haul’s website for costs They’ll also buy back any unused boxes.

Items you will need for packing include:

  • Boxes
  • Bubble wrap
  • Packing paper
  • Tape
  • Labels/markers
  • Utility knife

You will also want to make sure your larger furniture items are protected. If you are hiring a moving company, they will usually provide blankets and padding. If you are moving yourself you will want to make sure you have adequate protection and padding for your furniture. Moving blankets and padding can easily be purchased online.

Arriving At Your New Destination

Once you arrive at your new home or short term rental, it may be a few days before your belongings arrive. You will need to allocate a budget for a few essentials to get you through these first few days. If you have decided to start afresh and purchase new furnishings, budget accordingly for these items and any delivery and set up fees.

Your cabinets will be empty and will need to be filled with fresh food and cleaning supplies. Often times, it is an opportunity to start afresh on many levels, including purchasing new cooking supplies, fresh spices and any products you use regularly.

If you are moving to a new state, you will need to consider costs for:

  • New car registration
  • Renewal of drivers license
  • Home or rental insurance

Once you have everything entered and totaled on your moving budget, add a contingency amount, in the event of an emergency, cancellation or any unexpected set up fees, such as utilities.

With your moving budget in place, you can confidently navigate the financial road ahead, to your new destination; your new home!

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