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What additional costs to include in your Moving Budget?

November 02, 2017
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Whenever you consider relocating, the first and foremost thing to do is to chalk out a clear map of the moving expenses you are most likely to incur. Moving experts are of unanimous consensus that financial strain is the biggest contributor of moving related stress. Before you know it, the not-so-obvious moving related costs might derail all other carefully laid out plans. So, how to efficiently move your belongings from place A to place B, without breaking your bank? If you have those penny pinching skills, we suggest you employ them to prudently allocate available financial resources and set up a moving budget at the outset. Figuring out a moving budget would undoubtedly be a launch pad to a successful and smooth relocation, and would save your dollar bills from being wasted in the long run.

Why do I need a moving budget?

  • To gain a better and clearer idea of exactly how much money would your move cost - both, at different junctures and lump sum
  • For carefully analyzing your financial readiness to conduct the move, and evaluate whether you have the required savings
  • To assess the hidden moving costs and gain control over what may be unwanted expenses
  • For better preparedness in emergency situations
  • To set financial limits for appropriate moving phases and immediately control if amount exceeds the allocated limit

How to create a moving budget?

While it may be easy to incorporate the bigger expenses such as moving company costs, truck rental charges, the upfront expense of storage and packing materials, it may be difficult to remember the inconspicuous costs of insurance, rental deposits, pet care, food, gas, cleaning, tips, transportation, etc. These charges will quickly add up and therefore, you'll do better by including them in the moving budget:

  1. Moving company expenditure: If you decide to choose a moving company for relocating, be sure to conduct an extensive research, get multiple free moving quotes, compare prices, have your house inspected by moving representative to generate a more accurate assessment of the weight/distance and hence, cost of your move. However, be wary of falling for a mover solely on the basis of lowest estimate - becoming prey to moving scams will inevitably make you penny-wise and pound foolish. Prefer hiring licensed and professional movers of known repute who can give you an accurate idea of total moving cost, a quote that you can add to your moving budget. You will also need to include following:

    Adequate insurance - The basic insurance which comes as a part of your agreement with moving company would hardly be adequate to cover your expensive possessions or properly reimburse for replacement of damaged goods. Consider buying a full coverage and liability protection for your own peace of mind, and don't forget to add this to the total moving budget.

    Add-on services - Needless to say, any additional moving task or requested service will cost your wallet and must therefore be included in the moving budget. Be sure to carefully read and understand the extent of services provided by the moving company's estimate and terms. Find out the additional amount you'll be charged for requesting common add-on moving tasks such as packing and unpacking appliances (washer/dryer, dismounting TV, packing refrigerator, etc.), dismantling and re-assembling bulky furniture (beds, dresser, cabinets, piano, desks, etc.), temporary storage services, and so forth. Add your required services and their respective costs into the moving budget.

    Extra fees - In order to avoid draining your pocket over hidden charges, contact your moving company before signing the agreement and find out everything about fuel surcharge, service fee, charges for multiple stops, cancellation fee, long haul charge, etc.

    Packing supplies and boxes - If you need professional packing services for certain items like piano, hot tub, pool table, home theater, etc., you will have to add these into total moving costs. Also include in your budget an estimated cost of boxes, packing material, bubble wrap, and other supplies

  2. DIY move cost: If you are a rare minimalist with not many possessions and have a list of good friends who can pitch in, a self move option might work just right for you. However, before you conclude that DIY move is your thing, consider and include following expenses to your budget:

    Truck rental - Total cost will depend on the size of truck needed to best accommodate your belongings, number of trips, distance and return location. It'd be time and cost effective to choose a bigger sized truck and make fewer trips and avoid the strain

    Fuel - Finding out the gas mileage on your truck rental and the distance to be traveled will give you an approximate calculation of fuel charge incurred for transporting your belongings. Figure out the cost of fuel and factor it into the move budget as this, along with truck rental, will be the main expense of a self move job

    Additional equipment and insurance - Moving equipment such as dollies, furniture pads, sheets, ropes or straps, etc. can be rented for an additional fee from your truck rental company. You would also have to take into account expense for packing supplies and boxes as well as protecting your belongings with proper insurance. If your credit card company doesn't cover your move, you must set aside insurance money in your DIY move budget.

    Hidden expense - Often, in a DIY move, people tend to forget to budget for less obvious costs such as meals, tolls and taxes, groceries, pet or child care, car service, parking fees, contingencies, etc.

  3. Moving out expense: Moving out after selling your home? Take time to enlist money in your move budget for following costs - repair work, plumbing, cleaning professionals, paintwork, commissions for realtor, legal fees, advertising, open house, inspections, etc. On the other hand, if you are moving out of a rental apartment, it is imperative to leave the premises in their original state. This implies using your deposit money to fix up the damages or hire professional help to clean the house, which would cost you additional cash, but make up by saving precious hours. In either case, build these charges as a part of your moving budget.
  4. Cost of travel: If you are moving interstate and decide to take a flight to new location, you will have to include the cost of vehicle transportation in your moving budget, and obviously the plane tickets too. On the other hand, if road trip seems like an appealing relocation option, you'd need to stash those dollar bills for fuel, food, en route lodging, vehicle maintenance, tolls, parking, and extra bucks for roadside emergencies.
  5. Post-move expenses: Your endless planning, careful monitoring of every moving task, days of hard work, meticulous packing and frenzied budgeting, you have made it! You have finally arrived at your new location and all you need to do is raise your celebratory glass of champagne! Surely you can do that, but don't forget that your financial planning isn't over yet. No sooner the trucks/movers depart, a host of immediate post-move expenses rear their heads - mortgage payments or first month's rent, security deposits, utility connections, new furniture, repair work or redecoration, appliances, cleaning supplies, meals, groceries and pantry items, home insurance, taxes, vehicle registration, pet care, etc. Reserve sufficient funds in your budget to smoothly cover the related costs.

Finally, no moving budget guide would be complete without a strong cognizance of unforeseen and unexpected financial burdens. The nagging worry of the unpredictable can compound already high moving stress levels. Therefore, we cannot stress strongly enough on the advisability of setting aside an emergency fund in your moving budget. Being financially prepared for contingencies will not only give you peace of mind, but also lend an upper hand in responding to emergencies like car breakdown, medical need, injury, natural calamity, etc. With our trusted moving budget guide, you are now prepared to map out your own relocation finances and avoid footing the bill for unnecessary expenses. Whatever number crunching skills you may possess, our last piece of advice is to always err on the side of caution - set up a higher moving budget than your estimated figures and you'll ensure a smooth moving experience!

Lata Khatwani


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