Moving can be costly. Whether you’re moving across town or across the country, the simple fact is that there are plenty of costs involved.
Many people begin their move planning by trying to estimate costs, tallying up the big-ticket items, and cracking open the piggy bank. In reality, moving is more than just the big things. The small costs come as a surprise to many people, and they can add up. Do yourself a favor and prepare for unexpected moving costs, and you’ll stretch your budget further with a bit of mindful planning.
1. Packing and Moving Supplies
Full-service moving companies can pack all of your things for you. While helpful, this service comes at a cost.
If you choose to do your own packing, you’ll need supplies. If you choose to buy new boxes and packing materials, the cost can add up. Thankfully, you have options for lowering the cost of packing and prepping your items. Liquor stores, bookshops, and groceries are great places to check for free boxes. Don’t forget to pick up sturdy packing tape, protection for fragile items, and markers to label your boxes.
Pro tip: Start early with collecting packing supplies so you know how much will come out of your budget.
2. Professional Cleaning
Most of us plan a move with all of the best intentions – after all, why wouldn’t you? The reality, though, is that many things we intend to do just feel like too much when the day finally arrives. One of those common chores is cleaning.
Do you really want to mop the floors, clean the fixtures, scrub the refrigerator, and deep clean the bathrooms? This isn’t a list that makes many people swoon in the best of times, and it’s particularly too much on moving days.
Hiring a professional cleaning service will cost you, but it’s worth every penny. If you’re moving out of an apartment or rented home, hiring a cleaner means you’re more likely to get your full deposit back. Cleaning your new place before you arrive will help you feel more at home.
Pro tip: consider hiring a cleaning service for both your current and future homes, and see if you can negotiate a discounted rate.
3. Repairs and Deposit Deductions
Speaking of deposits – have you checked what it will take to get yours back in full? Sometimes, no matter how careful you are, life just happens. That means you may need to do some minor (or major) repairs before moving out, or pay for it out of your deposit.
If you’re counting on getting that money back after you move out, do your due diligence to ensure everything is in good shape before moving day comes. After you hire the cleaner, check to see if you’ll need a handyman too.
Pro tip: Review your lease and the fine print to be sure you know what to expect. Check with your landlord or leasing company, they may have someone to recommend for minor repairs you want to handle yourself.
4. Building Fees
If you’re moving into a condo or apartment building, there’s a chance you’ll need to pay some building fees for the move. Your building may charge you for things like supervision of the move, access to a freight elevator, or setting up and protecting elevators or stairwells for the move.
Pro tip: in addition to any possible fees, check with your landlord or building manager to understand policies for moving days. Your building may specify days and times that tenants are able to perform the move, so it’s important to understand this before scheduling your mover.
Don’t put together a budget without considering the essential things like power and water. Unless you’re planning on taking minimalism to the next level, you’ll want to be sure you have your utilities set up when you arrive at your new home. Check with the utility companies relevant to your new place, including water, power, and gas. Even if you’re moving locally, there may be a connection fee despite transferring your service to a new address.
Pro tip: while you’re checking on connection fees, see if your utility companies can provide you with an estimate of monthly dues so you can plan ahead.
Yes, you have to eat no matter where you are. Groceries are a part of day-to-day expenses, so it’s easy to forget their role in moving costs. Why are they relevant here? Because moving – particularly the unpacking and getting settled – can be a chore.
Moving to a new place can lead to a spike in your grocery bill. While you get settled in your new home, meal prep and mindful shopping may be one of the last things on your mind. Many people find that they buy things they typically don’t at the grocery store in the first days or week in a new place. That’s particularly true if your kitchenware is still boxed up.
Pro tip: give yourself a budget for eating out, as well. You may find yourself tempted to eat out a bit more often than usual during the transition, both to experience your new neighborhood and to save yourself the hassle of cooking.
7. Re-stocking Supplies
Of course, you won’t completely purge everything when you move. The reality, though, is that you won’t take everything with you. More than that, you may use up things like cleaning supplies in your preparation for moving day.
If you’re ready to refresh things that have been aging and languishing at your current place, it will be another moving cost to consider.
Pro tips: if you can help it, don’t bring things that are broken or worn out to your new place. Leave your bristly broom and stained floor mats behind, and start new in your new home. Moving into a place with a garden? You’ll need a budget for tools.
8. Moving Insurance
A reputable moving company will always do its very best to ensure your things are transported carefully. Sometimes, unfortunately, things happen. Insurance is crucial to ensuring that in the unlikely event of an incident, you’re covered.
Licensed moving companies will offer basic coverage for their moves, and additional options to add on if you choose. When you book your moving company, ask about their insurance offering and consider it in your overall moving quote.
Pro tip: hire a moving company with guaranteed prices so you don’t get caught out with surprise fees at the end of the day.
9. Pet and Child Care
Moving day can be both stressful and dangerous for your two- and four-legged kids. When it’s time for the big move, it’s best to ensure the kids are out of the house and out of the way. This will allow you to devote your attention to anything needed to finalize the move-out and in and will give the kids a chance to relax or have fun. Take your children to a childcare facility or hire a babysitter to keep them occupied for the day. Your local doggy daycare will keep your pup happy and entertained. Have other pets? Find a good solution to make sure they’re well looked after.
Pro tip: try pulling in favors with friends or family if you can. You may be able to save money, and your kiddos will be happy with someone they know and trust.
10. Tipping Your Mover
Moving is hard work (did we say that already?) and you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who enjoys the process. Thankfully, there are professional movers who are the often unsung heroes of the day. Your team of movers will take care of all of the heavy lifting and move-related tasks you either can’t or don’t want to do yourself. Make sure you tip your mover as a thank you and show them you appreciate their service.
Pro tip: moving is also thirsty work. Try to have bottles of water and even some small snacks on hand for your mover to offer to them as they take care of things for you.