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Moving Costs and How to Budget Before Relocating

Deciding to move can be an exciting time for anyone. The U.S. Census Bureau indicates that nearly 14 percent of the population, which is roughly 40 million people, move each year. Whether you’re a new couple moving into your first home together or a family of four taking the plunge into a new neighborhood with a better job opportunity across the country. A move can bring you a fresh start and a new community to explore. Whatever the circumstance maybe a move can also trigger feelings of doubt and uncertainty: will you like the new area? How will the move affect your kids? It is these added elements that make moving the third most stressful life event there is behind a death in the family and a divorce. While moving may or may not be fun for you, taking the necessary steps to prepare for your move and budgeting ahead of time will help you avoid a headache in the long run.

Moving Costs to Include In Your Budget

When calculating your moving budget remember to keep the following in mind to avoid surprise expenses:

  • The Application Fees – Range between $40 and $100 dollars each
  • The Security Deposit – Security deposits are often the most overlooked rental cost and can sometimes cost up to one month’s rent.
  • The First Month of Rent (and sometimes the last)
  • Pet Fees – Even if you don’t have a pet it is always good to check the pet policy in your new building for that one time you just can’t say "no" to those puppy eyes.
  • Elevator Fees – Some buildings will let you rent an elevator for the day to expedite the moving process.
  • Movers and Moving Trucks – Be sure to check if there are any transportation surcharges or additional expense for moving large/fragile items.
  • Packing Supplies
  • Gas or Airfare
  • Utilities – Electricity, water, oil/gas, etc.
  • Cable/Internet
  • Insurance Changes – Be sure to notify your insurance company of an address change in case your monthly dividend adjusts.

Estimated Moving Costs

According to Zillow, the average charge for a move under 100 miles is $80-$100 per hour and $25-$50 extra per additional mover. If you are moving cross-country (100+ miles) the price will be on average $2,000-$5,000 per move and an extra charge of $.50 per pound. The least expensive days to move are Monday-Thursday. For local moves you will only need one to two weeks’ notice for booking while for cross-country moves it is recommended to book six to eight weeks ahead of time.

Tips to Save on the Move

  • Downsize before you go – Depending on where you are heading you may have different needs for clothes, furniture, toys, etc. Eliminate the hassle of bringing all of your items with you by purging items you don't need ahead of time. Sell them or donate.
  • Claim your security deposits – If you rent a house or apartment, you most likely paid a security deposit. Exit the property in the condition it was rented to you and you’ll get your full deposit back.
  • Document moving expenses to save on tax day – If your move meets certain criteria, your moving costs can be 100% deductible.
  • Save on packing and boxes – Pick up boxes at a moving company, recycling centers (free), or a grocery store (free) and save money by packing home goods yourself.
  • Move during off-peak season – Get a better deal (save up to 30%) and have more available moving dates to choose from by moving between October and April.
  • Hire a reliable mover – Get at least three written in-home estimates, verify credentials and read reviews and complaints before selecting a local mover to help you move. Any reputable moving company will provide a quote before your move, using the industry-standard rate book published by the Household Goods Carrier Bureau, called the Tariff 400-N.

Remember, when it comes to moving, the best way to keep costs down is it reduce the amount of time that you’re out of your old home and into your new one. Lastly, don’t forget to treat yourself and your crew with a nice dinner or a pizza party when you have completed all your hard work. Congratulations on your move!

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