Regardless of whether you go across the street or across the country, moving to a new home can be expensive. To make sure your move doesn’t blow your budget, here are some simple tips to keep you organized and help you save.
1. Create a budget
You may feel like you don’t have a moment to spare, but the best way to avoid expensive surprises is to spend a little time putting together a budget. Start by deciding how you want to handle the job, make a list of the costs you expect, and then get estimates to compare pricing.
Did you know? The average cost of a move depends on how far you go. If you just move within your own state, average cost is $1,500 but that jumps to $4,000 when you move out of state.1
If you are moving yourself, include the cost of moving boxes and packing material, packing tape, truck rental (include mileage and gas, as well as things like a dolly, packing blankets, and other items), and insurance.
3. Hire a professional
If you are hiring a mover, have them come to your home to get an accurate assessment of costs, which could include professional packing, labor, storage, insurance, mileage, and more. Some moves are priced by weight and others by labor and time required; a professional mover will give you a detailed estimate.
Many states have laws which regulate moving companies and the way in which they manage your move. These laws provide protection in terms of rates, insurance, and safety. Ask your mover for verification that they're licensed.
Depending on how far you’re going, you may need to count the cost of hotels, meals, and gas to drive you and your family to your new home. Also plan for extra child or pet care expenses during this busy time. Include the cost of a storage unit to tide you over between homes if needed. Finally, set some money aside to get settled in to your new home. Once you’ve come up with a total budget, add an extra 5 to 10% to make sure you’re fully covered for anything unexpected.
4. Protect yourself and your belongings
Insurance provides important protection, covering loss or damage to your items during a move or while your items are in storage. Talk with your insurance agent before moving day to make sure you have adequate coverage. Your credit card company may already provide insurance coverage for truck rentals.
5. Look for ways to save
Most people are surprised at the high cost of moving, but there are a few ways to save.
- Don’t pay to move things you don’t need or want. Have a garage sale or donate unwanted items before you move.
- If you use a professional mover, ask if you can save by packing items yourself.
- Rates for rental trucks or professional movers may be higher during summer, at the end of the month, and on weekends. If you have flexibility, try to schedule your move during an ‘off’ time.
- If you decide to pack yourself, check local stores for empty boxes; you also might be able to find free boxes using online neighborhood-based chat rooms. If you do need to purchase packing materials, compare prices—large home improvement warehouse stores may have better prices than truck rental sites.
- Look for ways to double up. Use luggage to transport clothing and use linens to pack fragile items.
- Check to see if a door-to-door storage type of arrangement would be less expensive than renting a moving truck.