creating a moving budget

Creating A Moving Budget

Be prepared with a planned out moving budget

cross country movers

Creating Your 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 the moving process.

Using software programs like Word or Excel can be a remarkably simple way to create a more accurate moving budget template and digitize your moving budget, helping you save money basically. You can create moving costs 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 are old school and prefer the smell and feel of paper, you can easily obtain a bookkeeper’s journal or other notebook and create your own accounting system. Make sure to have a good calculator.

Moving Expenses - What To Look For

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 moving budget template.

Setting up a moving budget should be one of the first things you do. Maybe you are 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 hiring a professional movers, certain moving expenses 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 – Your movers 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 / Do It Yourself (DIY)

Moving 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 (usually comes with the moving truck)
  • 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 moving budget template.

Moving Your Car Locally Or Cross Country / Long Distance

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 professional movers or move yourself, you will need to budget for the following:

  • Lodgings – If you are moving cross country 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 additional 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 do not yet have a new address, you may need a short-term rental.


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

Items you will need for packing include:

  • Moving boxes
  • Bubble wrap
  • Packing paper
  • Packing tape
  • Labels/markers
  • Utility knife

You will also want to make sure your larger furniture items are protected throughout the moving process. If you are hiring a moving company, they will usually provide packing materials such as blankets and padding. If you are moving yourself, you will want to make sure you have adequate protection and padding for your furniture, as well as enough packing tape to complete the job. 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 in your moving budget template 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, 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 driver’s 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.

A move, particularly a long-distance moving day, can rank right up there as one of the highest stress events you are likely to encounter. Even with the task of putting together a moving budget in place, there are likely to be some bumps in the road. The idea is to make sure that your moving costs (and any hidden costs) do not include your peace of mind. Here are a few ways you can maximize your moving budget.

Moving day means hiring movers, but ahead of that, try to do as much of the work as you can on your own. When you are young and single, or even a newlywed it is not like you have a lot of possessions to relocate, and this can often be a breeze. Over time, however, the increase in the size of family means a correspondingly higher moving budget. You need to determine at what point you bring in the professionals to take over the job.

There is always the chance that not everything you take with you is ultimately going to wind up in your new home. Sometimes it is due to space, other times, it just does not jibe with the décor you may be going for. Either way, you may find yourself in need of a temporary or long-term storage unit. This will be a monthly expense that you need to consider when you create a moving budget. Ideally, the storage unit will be cleared out after a few months and no longer a factor.

When it comes to considering all moving costs involved, buying or renting a new home have significant start up fees associated with them, including security deposits, rent payments for a month or two (or three), as well as miscellaneous items like pet deposits and other fees. Buying presents even more of a financial burden, since closing costs can often run into the thousands of dollars. Always remember that the final moving budget goes a bit further than just the cost of the transportation on.

We mentioned décor earlier. What looked good in one home may look completely out of place in another. When you create a moving budget you need to include the possibility of having to replace various items of furniture or appliances.

And lastly, remember that there are always the unexpected expenses. A new home or apartment will invariably need something that you, despite you best efforts and planning, managed to forget. Items will also be lost or damaged. Always keep these things in mind when you create a moving budget template.

It may take a little work, but you can turn the stress of a new move into one of the most rewarding experiences to be had.

Storage Locations

Los Angeles
5698 Bandini Blvd B.
Bell, CA 90201
P: 888-680-7200 Ext. 102
San Francisco
745 85th Ave
Suite L. Oakland, CA 94621
P: 888-680-7200 Ext. 135
New York
210 Meadowlands Pkwy d,
Secaucus, NJ 07094
P: 888-680-7200 Ext. 131

Business Hours(PST)

Monday: 8am - 4pm
Tuesday: 8am - 4pm
Wednesday: 8am - 4pm
Thursday: 8am - 4pm
Friday: 8am - 4pm
Saturday: Closed
Sunday: Closed
Shannon L.
Shannon L.
Jan 5, 2024

Movers who packed my things up in NY were great. I was also very impressed with how clear everything was, how fast the move coordinator Eric was with getting back to me. Read more testimonials

Danielle Francisco
Feb 11, 2024

Terrific experience with Andres and his team. They were quick, efficient and very knowledgeable. Read more testimonials

Ria B.
Ria B.
Jan 10, 2024

Everything went smoothly with CA-NY Express Movers. They packed up my apt in NYC in no time, put it into storage for me while we found our new house. Read more testimonials

Back to top