Moving Costs Checklist: The Complete Guide to Budget For Your Move

Budgeting for your move is all about being fully prepared. This guide will help you identify all of the possible moving expenses so that you can properly start your moving budget.

So you’re planning on moving soon. The first thing you do is you start to do some research to learn everything you need to know about moving.

First, you might look for a moving checklist to make sure you have everything you need to have. Then you start looking for the best type of moving for you. Then you start looking for the best moving companies out there. Before you know it, you start to wonder how much all of this is going to cost.

Before you can truly budget for anything, you have to be able to name everything that’s going to cost you money.

We created a comprehensive moving cost checklist precisely for this. Read along for a full list of everything that you’ll have to consider when making your moving budget.

Book Your Move

The first moving expense, of course, booking your move. You’ll need to choose between the DIY and a professional moving company option.

Long-Distance Moves

The following table will give you a general idea of how much it costs to move cross country for different size moves and for different moving options.

1 Bedroom 2/3 Bedroom 4/5 Bedroom+
Rental Truck $2,000-$3,000 $2,500 – $3,500 $3,500+
Freight Trailer $1,500 – $2,000 $2,000 – $3,000 $3,500
Moving Container $1,500 – $3,000 $1,500 – $3,000 $6,000+
Moving Company $1,500 – $3,500 $4,000 – $7,000 $8,500

It’s important to note that a freight trailer can only be used for long-distance moves. For local moves, the following table can help.

Local Moves

The following table will give you a general idea of how much a professional moving company will charge for a local move given the size of the move.

Home Size # of Movers Base Cost (2hrs) Cost/Hour # Hours Avg. Total
Studio 2 movers $252 $68/hr 3 hours $320
1 Bedroom 2 movers $252 $68/hr 4 hours $388
2 Bedroom 3 movers $315 $87/hr 6 hours $663
3 Bedroom 4 movers $394 $111/hr 7 hours $951
4 Bedroom 4 movers $394 $111/hr 9 hours $1174
5 Bedroom+ 5 movers $492 $143/hr 12 hours $1918

A truck rental for a local move will cost you something like between $28 – $52 for a one-bedroom move. In contrast, for a 5 bedroom move, it’ll likely cost between $58 – $73.

A moving container rental will cost around $130 for a local move. Keep in mind that a moving container can maybe fit a 3 bedroom move. If you need more space, you’ll need a second container so your costs will essentially double.

The examples we’re giving you here are very general estimates. To get a free and personalized quote quickly, consult our moving cost calculator.

Which type of move should you go with?

That really depends on you and what you might need. Generally, the more you do yourself, the cheaper the move will be. However, for many people, doing the move themselves is not an option. Just as an example, a family with young children and pets doing a three-bedroom move themselves sounds… difficult.

It’s also worth noting that although a professional mover is more expensive, they have all of the supplies, equipment, resources, and expertise to make sure the move goes as smoothly as possible. If you’re doing a DIY move, you’ll have to come up with all of this stuff yourself, which will add to the cost.

Costs for a Professional Mover

Booking the Moving Company: This will be your main cost.

Insurance: You’ll be offered different options for insurance. As with anything, the more coverage you’ll need, the more you’ll have to pay for this.

Money for Wiggle Room: There are actually a few legitimate reasons a moving company might charge you more than they had previously quoted. It’s always a good idea to be prepared for any last-minute changes to your final cost.

Cash for Tips: Movers don’t work for tips, but at this point, a little something might be expected. This can really be however much money you feel comfortable with.

We made a list of the best moving companies in the US. You’ll want to take a look at them for the best moving experience possible.

Costs for a DIY Move

Moving Equipment: These items are everything from dollies, moving straps, blankets, furniture covers, and moving blankets

Insurance: For a DIY move, insurance can prove to be vital. Of course, if you rent a moving truck, the truck will need to be insured. However, it’s also essential to have insurance to protect your items as they’re being transitioned from your old home to your new one.

Gas & Mileage: Moving with a rental truck might seem more affordable than it is if you don’t factor in the cost of gas. A fully loaded large vehicle like that will not be very gas efficient. Also, truck rental companies have a cost per mileage that can add up if it’s a long-distance move.

Get Your Packing Supplies

For your move, you’ll have to get your moving supplies. These things include packing tape, moving boxes, markers, scissors, and bubble wrap. We actually have a list of a few creative ways to get free cardboard boxes to help you save money.

Housing-Related Costs

Whether you’re selling your house or your lease is ending, there will be a few things to take care of before saying your farewells.

Cleaning & Repairs: To sell your home at the best value or to get your safety deposit back you’ll need to leave the house in the best conditions possible. Set aside a little time and money to make sure this is taken care of before you officially move out.

Real Estate Agent(s): You’ll want to consider real estate agent fees and commissions in your moving budget. Although you’re not paying them directly, they’re still getting a cut of the deal and you should take that into account.

Deposits: These might include: security deposits/first month’s rent, pet deposit, and utility deposit.

Storage-Related Costs

Many people require a storage option for their move. Perhaps their new home isn’t available for another month or so. It could also be that they will find temporary residence until they find the perfect forever home. Whatever the reason is, these are the costs associated with storage.

Insurance: Yes, I know… more insurance. However, you’ll be happy that you protected your goods if something unfortunate happens. For storage, it is absolutely necessary to get insurance. Leaving all of your valuables somewhere for an extended amount of time, you’ll want to make sure that you’re well taken care of in case anything happens.

Rental: Of course, storage isn’t free. You’ll have to pay the rental fees for storage.

Transportation: It’s a good idea to plan on how you’ll be getting your items to and from the storage facility that you’ll temporarily use.

Transportation and Accommodation

If you’re moving, especially if it’s out of state, you’ll need to factor in transportation and perhaps temporary accommodation. This is really for the period between moving out of your old home and moving into your new one.

Living Costs for Transition Time: This is basically things like food. You might be eating out more than you’re used to during this time so you’ll want to consider this in your budget. This may also include things such as water, entertainment, and anything else you’ll be doing at this time.

Hotel: In case you don’t necessarily have a place to stay for a night or two, you should consider accommodation costs in your budget.

Baby/Pet-Sitter: You’re going to be busy during your move. Especially if it’s a DIY move. With all of the moving around and time spent outside, consider getting a baby and/or pet sitter.

Airplane/Gas & Tolls: However you’re getting from point A to point B is going to imply some expenses.

Car Shipping: Many people will opt to have their car shipped for them. If this is true in your case, set some money aside to book a car shipping service.

Snacks, Drinks, & Gifts for Helpers: If you’re having friends or family help with your move, treat them well. Provide lunch or refreshments. Obviously, the amount of money you put aside for this is completely up to you.

Post-Move Expenses

Once you’ve moved in, you’re almost done. It’s a good idea to get these post-moving costs out of the way as soon as possible to get fully settled in quickly.

New Household Goods: Every house is different. If your new house, for example, has a larger backyard, you may want to buy new items to put in it. So under new items goes all sorts of new furniture. Other new items may include things you couldn’t move such as flammables and perishables.

Safety Items: Every time you move into a new house, you should invest a little in safety precautions. New locks for the doors, getting copies of the new keys, a security system, a fire extinguisher, and pest control are things you’ll be happy to take care of.

I know… it’s a lot. However, as with anything, the more prepared you are, the better decisions you’ll make. Making sure that you know all of the possible moving expenses before your actual move will help you know what to prepare for. You can start anticipating these moving costs ahead of time. One of those expenses that you should start preparing for is booking the moving company. Use our moving expense calculator for a quick moving quote right now!

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