Set Your Moving Budget With This Guide

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Whenever you are planning a move, the first thing you should do is create a moving budget. Most people who move feel they do not have time to set up a budget, however, not being prepared could cost you more in the long-run. Small items such as buying a new shower curtain, sheets, or restocking your shelves after you move all add up. Set a budget first before you do anything else.

Create a Moving Budget Template

Software programs are probably the easiest way to create a budget template. Something basic like Microsoft Word or Excel are some of the best programs you can use with Excel allowing you to use formulas for easy calculations.

If you would rather have something more portable or if you do not want to spend the time setting up a document on your computer, purchase a bookkeeper's record book at your local office supply store. You may need to make a few adjustments to the column titles or entry boxes, but it will provide you with the basic outline of expense tracking that you will need. Also, make sure you have a good calculator on hand.

Moving Company Expenses

If you are hiring a moving company, there are a few expenses you need to think about and work into your budget.

  • Moving company fee: This fee should include fuel charges and labor. Ask for estimates from three competitors and even if you have not decided on which company you will choose, add the highest quote to your budget.
  • Additional insurance: If your possessions are worth a lot to you, you may need to add consider adding on additional insurance to your total moving costs.
  • Extra services: Some moving companies may charge extra for preparing appliances or moving a piano. Ask the moving company for quotes if you feel you might need additional help.
  • Extra charges: Depending on the distance you are moving, you might tack on extra charge. These may include accessorial charges, expedited service charge, flight charge, long haul charges, long carry charges, and shuttle service.
  • Claims/damage costs: Assume you may have damage. You do not need to include an amount here, but to be safe, add in a 5 percent contingency rate based on the total moving company fees.
  • Professional packing: Packing yourself? Or need someone to do this for you? This is an optional service with an additional fee.

    Moving Yourself

    If you are moving on your own, there are a few charges you will need to think about involving the moving van or truck and other equipment you may need.

    • Truck rental: Rates vary according to size and whether you are moving one way or return.
    • Mileage/gas: Ask the rental agency how many miles to the gallon you can expect from the van or truck that you are renting. If you are moving a far distance, find out the cost of fuel along your route. You can do this by using the AAA fuel calculator.
    • Insurance: Before you purchase insurance, contact your credit card companies to find out if you are covered under their service. It could save you some extra money. If you are not covered, make sure you include an insurance fee.
    • Extra equipment rental: If you are moving a lot of stuff you may want the conveniences of a dolly, loading ramp, mattress and furniture covers, and so on. Before you add this item to your budget, ask the truck rental company if these extras are included in the fee.
    • Incidentals: Add in an extra contingency amount just in case the price of gas goes up or if you end up needing to make some extra stops along your route. It is always better to build extra costs in up front.

      Travel to New Home

      If you are moving your car along with a moving truck or van, you will need to add in costs for transportation, lodging along the way, your meals, and more.

      • Transportation: If you are moving a car in addition to a moving van, add in the costs for fuel and maintenance fees, such as oil, fluids and a check-up. If you prefer, divide these costs into separate line items.
      • Lodging: Research your stops along your moving route and find out how much lodging will cost. Determine the number of nights and the room rates ahead of time. Use a tool such as Expedia for rates, availability, and booking.
      • Meals: Calculate an average cost per meal per person including drinks and snacks.
      • Child or pet care: If you require any additional services to care for members of your family either before or after your move, you should include that cost in your budget.
      • Temporary housing: Will you and your family require temporary shelter at your final destination before your home is ready? If so, you will need to factor in those costs.

      Packing and Storage Fees

      While it might be difficult to determine how much packing supplies you need, it is a good idea to add in an amount anyway.

      • Boxes: Determine the number of moving boxes you will need. If you cannot find these for free, then there is a cost involved.
      • Wrapping materials: You will want to protect your breakables with protective bubble wrap or newspapers.
      • Packing materials: You will need markers or labels to mark your moving boxes, which will help you keep organized. Do not forget packing tape to seal your boxes.
      • Mattress covers/padding: If you are using a moving company, they usually provide these supplies at no cost, but double check to be sure.
      • Storage fees: If you will need storage space before, during, or after the move, then contact a few storage companies and use the highest price if you have not yet decided on which storage facility you will use.
      • Extra insurance: If you are storing valuables, include extra insurance to make sure your goods are covered.
      • Moving costs: These are costs to move the items from your home to the storage facility. It may be included in a line item above, or the moving company may allow you one additional stop at no extra cost.

        Selling Home or Moving from Rental

        Consider the costs of selling your home or costs involved in leaving your rental property.

        • Commission: If you are selling your home, keep in mind that you will likely have to pay a commission fee to your broker or agent.
        • Selling fees: There are additional fees such as lawyer fees, title fees, inspections, appraisals that all factor into the cost of selling your home.
        • Advertising: If you have to list your home, you might be responsible for advertising fees, too.
        • Cleaning/repairs: Before you sell your home, you might need to clean it or repair it. This can include painting costs. The same applies for leaving a rental property in the condition you got it in.
        • Lease cancellation charges: If you are unable to give enough notice to a landlord, you may be charged for canceling your lease or they may withhold your initial deposit.

        Buying or Renting Your New Home

        Whether you plan to buy or rent your new home, the costs multiply from fees, insurance, deposits, taxes, utilities, and more.

        • Home buying fees: In addition to the cost of your new home, you will need to factor in all the fees that creep into the cost such as the lawyer fee, title search fee, survey fee, and inspection and appraisal.
        • Home or apartment insurance: Wherever you go, whether it is a home you buy or rent, you will want insurance to protect your valuables.
        • Redecorating costs: The cost of redecorating can be hard to calculate. Look at the largest room in your house and the one which requires the most work or items, break down each cost (paint, curtains, rugs, lamps, garbage containers, etc.), then add it up. You can either do this for each room or calculate an average cost for the entire home.
        • Property taxes: Most people look at the cost of the house and work around that, some forget how important it is to factor in the cost of your property tax. Depending on the area, this cost fluctuates and can make or break your budget.
        • Utility deposits: You will need to contact the utility companies for these costs or contact your current providers and ask what they charge. Make sure you include telephone, cable, water, electricity, heating and any other services you currently have. If you will be renting, ask your landlord if these costs are included in the monthly rental fee.
        • Apartment deposits: If you are renting, you will likely have a rental deposit, damage deposit, and if you are bringing pets, a pet deposit, too.
        • Miscellaneous costs: If you are renting and got your apartment from a broker, you might have a broker's fee. Other incidental costs that add up include parking permits, garbage disposal fees, and association fees if you belong to a homeowners association or condo association.

        Calculate Your Total Costs

        This comprehensive list helps you figure out your total costs. Add all the line items up, multiply that total by 5 percent, which will give you a contingency buffer. Make sure you add that 5 percent to your total.

        Now that you have created your moving budget, you may want to check out ways to save during your move. There are ways to save when moving cross country, ways to cut fees if you pack yourself, and budget-saving methods of packing.