How to Budget for a Move: The Beginner’s Guide

How to Budget for a Move: The Beginner’s Guide

Moving can be a fantastic opportunity, but nobody enjoys the difficulty of actually moving all their earthly possessions from point A to point B. On top of moving your life, cars, and belongings, you also have to move around a significant amount of money.

The average intrastate move costs around $2300, and the average interstate move will set you back $5000. But where does all of that cash go? There are plenty of things to consider when trying to budget for a move, so don’t wait until the last minute to start putting a financial plan together.

There are a few essential tips to keep things on track when getting ready to move that won’t take too big a hit on your wallet. If you’re ever unsure of where to turn, know that plenty of resources like this are available online that give you pricing details on everything from moving vans to car shipping costs. Researching the ballpark prices of each piece of your relocation is your best defense against unexpected upsets to your budget down the road, so don’t be afraid to round up when you’re looking at the fees. It’s always better to save too much than too little.

If the ins and outs of budgeting for a move seem intimidating, don’t worry. This guide can help you assemble a floor-to-ceiling budget that will see you over your new home’s threshold in no time.

Research costs


There is so much that goes into moving, so it’s no wonder that there are plenty of areas that can rack up fees. If you aren’t careful about your budget in the planning phase of your move, you could be in for nasty surprises down the line. No one wants to find out they don’t have the money to hire movers after they’ve already declined to renew their lease. Likewise, you want to ensure that you have enough money to set yourself up comfortably in your destination. When it comes to arranging your finances, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. You should always start by getting a moving quote from several companies. Here are a few costs worth considering as you build your moving funds.

Hidden costs

These are costs most people don’t expect when they consider moving. For example, prices start to creep higher when your move crosses state lines or goes hundreds of miles within the same state. At these distances, it may be wise to consider a shipping service for your car, which can put a dent in your wallet. You may also need specialized services for any oversized furniture items or critical moving insurance.

You may not have a residence ready to go in your destination city. In that case, don’t forget that there will be a period between the moves where you might need temporary lodging and daily essentials. It can even help to rent storage spaces temporarily, so you don’t have to deal with everything at once.

Expected costs

Of course, there are plenty of expenses people expect when they move. You may choose to hire help to see the job done faster and more safely. Even if you take on the move yourself, you’ll likely need to rent a truck and arrange transportation for your personal vehicle. While DIYing your move is undoubtedly the cheapest option, it still isn’t free.

If you rent a truck yourself, you’ll still be on the hook for mandatory insurance, the cost of the rental, the gas, and any damages or cleaning the vehicle needs after returning.

Take inventory


One of the most crucial steps, before you move, is to take a good inventory of your belongings. Now is a great time to get rid of things you don’t usually need. Consider that sweater you bought two years ago and never wore: does it really need to come with you to your new home? The less you have to pack and carry, the cheaper and easier your relocation will be, so prune wisely. Professional organizers like Marie Kondo suggest asking yourself whether possessions “spark joy” when held. If that knickknack doesn’t make you happy anymore, it doesn’t have a place in your moving van.

You should also take care to note any oversized or fragile furniture items you plan to take with you. Companies will be asking about your inventory to give you price quotes, and many sizable possessions carry extra fees for their decreased maneuverability and increased risks.

While you’re assessing your belongings, it’s best to go through each room to ensure you don’t miss anything. Keep a detailed list from furniture down to individual kitchenware items. Once you’re in the new place, you’ll feel confident nothing was left behind. It will also feel good to enter a new space knowing you’ve left a lot of the clutter of your old space behind.

Decide on when and where to move

Figuring out where to move makes a significant difference in costs. Some cities have moving permits, and in general, rural areas are less expensive to move to than urban cities.

If you’re looking for an apartment or house, it can also make a difference in how you approach the situation. There are plenty of different factors to consider when looking for an apartment than a house.

Additionally, you may be surprised to learn that moving in the summer is more expensive than in winter. Companies are busier in summer, so they’ll have higher quotes for their time.


Before you go

Anyone researching the ins and outs of a relocation budget is sure to find themselves inundated with information about prices, best practices, and timelines. Though this avalanche of data can feel overwhelming, a lot of moving budgetary advice breaks down to common sense. The less you move with, the cheaper your moving costs will be. Research is critical, and having friends and family to help you move is sure to knock down the price of the relocation.

Use any resources that you have available, save more than you think you’ll need, and you should be choosing your new humble abode without a worry to be had.