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Moving Costs – How to Budget for Moving
How Much Does it Cost to Move?
Moving can be stressful, overwhelming and pricey. Should you go the DIY route or hire a moving company? When you start planning with a moving expenses budget in mind, the process can go much smoother for both your stuff and your wallet.
First, think about who will be available to help with your move and if you need to hire a moving company. Asking for help from family and friends is always a budget-friendly way to get from point A to B, especially if it’s a small, local journey. For large family or cross-country moves, you may need to budget for the cost of movers.
Moving is all about balancing time and money. A good rule of thumb is that it’s always going to cost more and take longer than you expect. With that in mind, make sure to give yourself plenty of buffer when budgeting both resources. Manage your expectations when it comes to relocating expenses by considering the following to create a comprehensive moving cost checklist that covers all potential relocation expenses.
How to Determine the Costs of DIY Move
If you plan on moving yourself or with the help of friends and family, remember that average moving costs for DIYers are lower than using professional movers. The DIY route is much more budget friendly, but you’ll also need to account for the time its going to take, which will be much longer than enlisting the help of the pros. Make a schedule well in advance and include a lot of flexibility for breaks and unexpected hiccups. You’ll also want to consider a vehicle, supplies and more when creating your budget:
Truck Size: It’s important to select the right size of truck. Too small and you won’t be able to move all your things in one trip and too big means you’ll pay extra money. This can really hurt your budget. Other truck costs typically include the fuel for the truck and the miles driven, on top of the actual hourly or daily rental fee.
Moving Equipment and Supplies: While you can occasionally pick up empty boxes from your local grocery or liquor store, you may need to factor in the cost of moving boxes. Picture boxes and other specialty boxes may cost more. Other supplies include packing tape, tape dispensers, permanent markers, index cards or labels and packing material such as bubble wrap and tissue paper.
Moving Help: While some family and friends are happy with a few pizzas for their trouble, you may need to budget for hiring help—especially if you are short on time. Take a hard look at your time-money ratio and see what works best for your move.
Hidden Costs: Servicing your car, road tolls and food and lodging along the move route all need to be budgeted into your move. Even if you aren’t moving far away, you probably will want to eat out while your kitchen is packed up! If there are special considerations such as moving a piano or other specialty items that require professional assistance, be sure to include those in the cost of the move. If you’re traveling cross-country, factor in parking and stays at hotels along the way.
Budget for Costs Using Professional Movers
If you’re opting to hire a professional moving company to help with your move, consider some of these unexpected costs you’ll need to bake into your moving budget.
If possible, get quotes from several moving companies. This will allow you to get a good picture of how much the move might to cost you. Before hiring the cheapest option, consider things like risk of damage to your property, extra insurance and other perks that may be offered and time it will take to accomplish the move.
When a company gives you a quote, they are taking many aspects of your move under consideration. Some of these things include:
Weight and Distance: The biggest factor in a company’s calculation tends to be the combination of the weight of items moved and the distance traveled. Some companies charge less per pound/kilo, but longer per mile/kilometer; some charge the opposite. Make sure to check both rates to determine the true cost of your move.
Insurance and Services: Budgeting for full coverage moving insurance is usually a good idea, especially if you own things that are valuable. Typical limited coverage simply won’t do the trick if your 65” flat screen TV gets damaged. Be sure to fully understand the insurance coverage you are getting and consider paying a little more for peace of mind.
Additional Services and Fees: Read the agreement carefully and make sure you know what services you have purchased. Many moving companies offer extra services for an additional cost, such as packing, unpacking, preparing appliances for the move, moving specialty items (such as pianos, pool tables, hot tubs, etc.), disassembling and moving large furniture and so forth. You may be charged fees for carrying things up and down stairs (often called a flight charge), making extra stops along the way, a travel fee (usually an extra hour of labor for the time the crew needs to get to your home), or a cancellation fee.
Moving Costs for Your Vehicle
For short moves, and some longer trips, driving your car is the obvious option. Make sure you budget adequately for gas and maintenance or repairs that need to be done to make your car safe to drive.
For long moves or moving overseas, shipping your car may be a good choice. This means you will be flying or driving another vehicle to your destination, so be sure to include the cost of tickets or gas in your budget.
Summer is peak moving season, so moving trucks and services tend to be more expensive during those months. Try to schedule your move for something between September and May to avoid higher moving costs.
While there are many costs and fees associated with moving, with a little planning, you can make the move smooth and affordable.
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