A Guide to Creating a Fool-Proof Moving Budget

November 23, 2021 / Posted in Moving Tips
Michael Vaughan

Moving through the Bay Area, Michael works as a freelance writer in the moving and transportation industry.

Planning a long distance relocation can be a complex and stressful process. However, if you create a fool-proof moving budget and stick to it, the whole thing will run much smoother. That’s why to help you ace the cross country moving process, we put together this handy guide that will ensure you don’t dip into savings.

Couple going over their finances FP logo
Budgeting all of your expenses will make the move less stressful

Figure Out How Much Should You Budget for Moving Out

Relocation might seem scary. There are a lot of parts to the process, and the decisions you make will affect the overall financial plan. That’s why the first step should be crunching numbers and figuring out how much you are willing and able to spend on the move. Once you have the ballpark amount, it will be easier to make a moving to-do list.

When you try to fit in the moving budget, keep in mind that the final cost of relocation will depend on many things. The amount of stuff, the location, professional services, and the time of the year all dictate the final relocation quote.


Know How to Make a Moving Budget Without Running Out of Money

Being prepared for the unexpected will make the relocation easier and smoother. That’s why the essential part of creating a financial plan is saving up 10% more of the amount you think will be enough for the move. After all, you never know what can happen, so it is better to have some extra cash to cover unplanned costs.

A person calculating
Crunch some numbers and add 10% to that amount just in case

Think Ahead and Avoid Huge Changes in Your Budget Plan For Moving Out

Yes, you are prepared for the unexpected. However, that doesn’t mean you should make huge, sudden changes in the middle of the relocation process. Just imagine deciding to move during the summer when you have already prepared everything for the winter relocation — or even deciding to bring everything to a new home instead of throwing away things you no longer need.

To avoid a stressful change of plans, long before making a list of tasks and expenses, ensure that you are satisfied with all relocation-related decisions. Only then start planning the move.

Find the Best Time to Move

Have you ever wondered when the best time to move is? Even though you can move throughout the year, different seasons bring different challenges and benefits. If you are relocating with kids, consider planning the move during the summer when the school is out. However, if relocating alone, you can schedule the move in winter and save up some cash. After all, winter is a less busy time for professionals, and their services will cost less.

A person and a dog in the snow
Winter is the best and most cost-effective time of the year when it comes to relocation

Consider Using Apps When Creating a Moving Budget Checklist

If you want to keep track of the expenses, you need a checklist. To avoid writing down everything by hand, take advantage of modern technology and use specialized apps to outlay costs. Most apps are completely customizable and will provide you the option of categorizing the data. Apps that allow you to create categories and make tracking easier and simple are:

  • GoodBudget,
  • PocketGuardBudget,
  • Mint Budgeting.
Person working on the laptop
Modern day technology makes the organization easy

Start Decluttering Because That Will Lower Your Overall Costs

People tend to accumulate a lot of things when living in one place for a while. There will be some old items, Christmas gifts nobody likes, and old appliances. If you are one of those people that have extra stuff lying around, decluttering is the best option. Not only will it make the packing process easier, but it will lower overall relocation expenses.

Start by making the list of all items in the home. Then create three piles – one for things you’ll bring along, another for those that can be donated or sold, and the third one for items that need to be thrown away. For more tips on decluttering, check out the video below.

By Donating Belongings You Can Save Up

Donating unwanted items will be an excellent way to help somebody less fortunate and at the same time save up on relocation costs. Look at it this way – the less you have to pack, the fewer packing supplies you need to buy. Fortunately, you can donate almost anything. Charities accept food, clothes, appliances, and some even cars.

Earn a Few Bucks by Organizing a Garage Sale

The things you don’t donate but are still in good condition can be sold. And if you are not relocating at the last minute, there is plenty of time to organize a garage sale. Notify your neighbors, share fliers, and put up a sign on your lawn. Get stickers and put visible prices on the items, play some music in the yards, and you’ll see the money coming in.

Furniture on the lawn
Selling extra stuff you have will increase your relocation fund

Make a Decision – Hiring Long Distance Movers or DIY the Whole Thing

One of the main steps to creating a budget is making important decisions such as – should you tackle the move by yourself or hire professional cross country movers to do the heavy lifting. Each decision brings a different set of expenses, and that’s why when planning to move to another city, don’t rush the process. Go over everything that each move entails. From gathering supplies to tipping the movers. Only then you’ll have the whole picture and know how to plan the expenses without going over the limit.

A person creating a pros and cons list
Almost 33% of Americans use professional assistance when relocating

DIY Comes With Its Own Set of Expenses That Need to Be a Part of Moving Out Budget

Deciding to do everything on your own might seem cheaper at first. However, keep in mind that uprooting the whole life is not as simple or cheap as it might seem. Not only will it still knock a lot of money out of your pocket, but it will use up a lot of your time.

For starters, you’ll have to figure out a way to pack electronics, clothes, books, and various fragile items. To do so, you should obtain different packing materials, which can be pricey, especially if buying anti-static bubble wrap and high-quality boxes. Additionally, you should stock up on padding and wrapping materials.

Renting a Truck Should Be a Part of Your Financial Plan

No matter if you are relocating alone or with the family, you’ll probably won’t be able to stack all the belongings into the car. That’s why renting a truck should be a part of your expenses list. Furthermore, add the cost of adequate equipment such as lifts and straps. And after you figure out how to pack a truck, plan a driving route, and go over the costs of fuel and road tolls. While you are at it, calculate how much money will be needed for other expenses like accommodation and food.

You Shouldn Also Think About Food and Accommodation Expenses

If relocating to a new state, the drive itself might last more than a day, meaning you need a place to stay and eat. According to the website BudgetYourTrip, the average price for spending a night in a hotel is around $100 per person. Add another $45 that a person spends on meals in one day, and you’ll have a ballpark figure.

A girl in a pickup truck
DIY brings a completely unique set of expenses to the table

The Cost of Hiring Long Distance Moving Company Will Depend on the Number of Services

If handling the relocation on your own seems more trouble than it is worth, the solution is quite simple – using long distance moving services. That way, the professionals will do the heavy lifting while you are handling other tasks like house hunting, notifying people about the move, and looking for work. However, all of that assistance is not for free. And depending on the type and number of services you use, the overall price will change.

Do you know how long does it take to pack a house? If you don’t want to spend days stuck under the pile of boxes, use professional packing services. With that kind of assistance, you won’t have to spend extra money on buying packing materials nor other protecting supplies. Professional packers will handle everything, from packing books to handling more delicate belongings like dishes and boxing up TVs. And you can’t really put a price on stress-free moving.

Pro tipask movers if they give a discount if you use more than one of their services.

Hiring Auto Transport Company to Ship Your Car Will Also Affect the Costs

When you want to move out of state on a budget, getting a bundle deal on services is a great way to save up (especially if you have cars to transport from state to state). Using the same car shipping company that is handling your belongings to transport the four-wheeler will lower the overall moving quote. Another thing that will affect the financial plan is deciding to use open or enclosed trailers. Open ones are a more affordable option, while the enclosed trucks are ideal for expensive cars, but they will increase your expenses.

Using Storage Service Doesn’t Have to Cost You Extra

Another service that won’t make a huge dent in your bank account is using storage units. Every reputable cross country moving company offers to their clients at least some sort of free or cheap storage facilities for a limited period. So if you are downsizing for a move and still have a lot of boxes, just put them in storage. That decision won’t leave you broke.

Storage units
Trustworthy companies offer free facilities to their customers

Put Down on the Paper Expenses Related to a Home

Getting out of one place doesn’t mean the costs stop. Transferring utilities or setting new ones up will entail a bit of money as well. Furthermore, when you start settling in, you might notice some appliances missing. The cost of buying new ones should also be a part of the financial plan.

Another thing people overlook is the expense related to real estate. If you are selling a home and buying a new one, there will be fees related to advertising, hiring real estate agents, legal representation, and many more. On the other hand, if you are a tenant, landlords may charge you for some repairs. No matter what the situation is, calculate these real estate expenses into the final spending amount, and there won’t be sudden surprises during the relocation.

House and a yard
House expenses are commonly forgotten part of the financial relocation plan

All the Math Might Seem Scary, but It Will Be Worth the Trouble in the End

There you have it, all the possible expenses that can be associated with relocation. As you can tell, crunching numbers is not that hard. All you have to do is make a plan, decide whether you’ll relocate on your own or use professionals. As you can tell, each decision brings its own set of costs, but when you make a plan, it will be easy to stick to it and avoid dipping into savings.

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