Moving costs have a way of multiplying without us even realizing it. The tendency is to underestimate how much a relocation is going to cost, which only adds to the stress involved in moving.
It’s important to dedicate some time to create a personalized moving budget, so you know what to expect.
We’ve created this moving budget template and guide to highlight common moving expenses and help you create your budget. Once you have a working budget, you can then learn ways to save even more money on your move.
How to Make a Moving Budget Template
You don’t need a computer or fancy software to create a moving budget template, but they will make the process a bit easier. If you lack a computer or smartphone, do the following on a sheet of paper. For easy calculating, open Excel or a similar spreadsheet program.
To set up the moving budget template:
- Add the following columns in the top row: Category, Estimated Cost, Actual.
- Insert the moving expenses listed below underneath the category section.
- As you get estimates, fill in the estimated section.
- Once all categories are added, create a row that is entitled Subtotal and add up all the Estimated and Actual Costs using the appropriate formula.
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*An important note about the moving budget template: You must first save a new copy of the file before you are able to edit it. You can do this by clicking “File” > “Make a copy…”
Basic Moving Costs to Consider
1. Professional Movers
Believe it or not, but implementing professional movers can sometimes save you money by saving you time, particularly if you’re moving a long distance. Here are some basic costs to consider. Remember, most moving company estimates are based on the weight and distance of the move.
- Rate of move
- Packing services
- Hidden costs
Since movers often bill based on time spent, you can save money by planning your time with your movers strategically. MyGuysMoving has a helpful six-tip list to help you do just that. For example, they recommend disassembling furniture before the movers arrive. Check out the rest of their time-saving moving tips here.
2. Self Moving Expenses
Moving might seem like an ideal way to save money, but it is usually not free. We recommend renting a covered storage truck to help prevent unnecessary damage to your belongings along the way.
- Truck rental
- Mileage / gas
- Food and drink
- Rental equipment
3. Packing Materials
Invest in quality packing materials for the smoothest move possible. Old cardboard boxes can be flimsy and fall apart during the move. Also, it’s worth investing in some dishware boxes to protect your most fragile items.
- Packing tape / labels
- Mattress and furniture covers
- Packing material
If you’re moving further than 50 miles, make sure to include this category in your moving budget template. Also, if you’re moving far away for a different job, be sure to talk to a tax professional about deducting your moving expenses from your taxes.
- Car shipping
- Fuel / car maintenance
5. Real Estate Costs
Costs like these will be incurred whether you’re renting or buying a place. Make sure you understand all the various fees and deposits that will be required of you. Also, if renting, be sure to understand what utilities you’ll be responsible for paying.
- Lawyer / realtor fees
- Home inspections
- Cleaning and repairs
- Mortgage down payment
- Rental deposits
6. Storage Fees
Sometimes when we move out of one place, the next place we’re going to live isn’t quite ready yet. This displacement is when renting a storage unit becomes an integral step in the moving process.
- Storage unit rental
- Cost to move to/from self storage facility
- Lodging costs
7. After Moving In
If this is your first apartment, you’ll have a lot more items on this section of your moving budget template than someone who already has all the necessary home essentials. Reference our first apartment checklist to help you get an idea for the staples you’ll have to get. Customize this section to work for you, but don’t forget to include it. Even small expenses like toilet paper and paint can add up quickly.
- Utility set up
- Misc. household items
How to Calculate an Accurate Moving Budget
It’s difficult to create a spot-on moving budget based on estimated costs because things can change at a moment’s notice. To help cushion the budget, create a row beneath the subtotal and entitle it: Contingency Fund.
Multiply the total estimated moving expenses by 5% to come up with a figure. Add a Total row beneath the Contingency row, then add the subtotal and contingency together to come up with your estimated moving costs.
This list of moving expenses was by no means exhaustive, especially if you’re traveling across state lines. Make sure to access your specific situation and add categories as they apply to your situation. The more you can predict, the less you’ll be blindsided by a hidden cost that you didn’t foresee.
We hope this moving budget guide helped you get your moving process off to an organized and stress-free start. Let us know if we missed a crucial moving cost in the comments below.