Nine Expenses to Pack in Your Moving Budget

Moving comes with a long, expensive to-do list.

The average cost to for a local move from a two-bedroom apartment or three-bedroom house ranges from $400 to $1,000, according to HomeAdvisor’s True Cost Guide. While you’re choosing a place to live and deciding what to pack, having a plan for expenses can ensure your budget doesn’t get lost in the shuffle.

“It’s very easy to overlook minor details because when you’re moving, you’re looking at getting your stuff from point A to point B,” says Jessica Nichols, a director at Avail Move Management, a relocation and transportation service in Evansville, Indiana.

Preparing for moving costs can help alleviate emotional and financial strain. Consider these less-obvious expenses.

  1. Peak surcharges

Many moving and truck rental companies raise rates during busy times like summer and weekends. If you have the flexibility, relocate in an off-peak period to save money.

  1. Packing materials and equipment

Buying items like boxes, bubble wrap and packing tape can add up. For example, U-Haul sells large moving boxes for $1.63 to $1.99 each, depending on how many you buy. Be realistic about the number you need to avoid costly miscalculations. Or, seek free materials from friends or online.

Additionally, consider the items you’ll need to safely transport your belongings, including furniture covers, hand trucks and bungee cords. If your movers don’t provide them, or you aren’t hiring professionals, renting or borrowing is more affordable than buying.

  1. Excess cargo

The more stuff you schlep, the more you’ll pay. Movers usually factor the number and weight of items into the bill. Expect additional fees for valuable or large items like pianos that require extra time, space or labor.

Hauling everything yourself? A bigger load can require a larger vehicle or more gas-guzzling trips. To save money, donate or sell what you can before you move.

  1. Cleaning

You’ll likely need to tidy up your current place, especially if there’s a security deposit at stake.

Housecleaning services typically charge $200 to $300 for a one-time cleaning, according to HomeAdvisor. You’ll save money by doing some or all of the work yourself.

  1. Utilities

Watch for deposits, taxes, and connection and installation fees when setting up utilities at your new address. These could range from $10 to $200 or more. Ask power, internet and other service providers about charges in advance.

  1. Food

Food expenses can pop up, too. Think snacks for the road, restocking the refrigerator and pantry, and feeding friends who’ve helped. Shopping wholesale clubs could be a smart strategy to feed a crowd.

  1. Lost or damaged items

Some belongings might not survive the journey. Depending on what you’re transporting and how far, it may be worth purchasing protection to repair or replace property.

“Nobody wants to think about their items getting broken. Ideally that would never happen, but in the real world that’s something you need to plan for,” says Nichols.

Most movers provide basic valuation coverage, which limits their liability to 60 cents per pound, per item. For a 40-pound TV valued at $500, that’s $24. Top-tier options and separate insurance plans offer higher or full values, but it will cost extra. If you have homeowners or renters insurance, you likely have some coverage. Check your policy.

  1. Tips

Movers appreciate tips after a long day of heavy lifting. Give tips based on your satisfaction level, but a good rule of thumb is 5% of the total bill.

  1. Storage

If you can’t immediately move your possessions into your new home, you might have to rent a self-storage unit. Costs vary by size and location. Public Storage units in Austin, Texas, for example, range from about $30 to $300 per month. The less time and space you need, the less expensive the unit.

Make your budget move-in ready

Mentally walk through your moving process from start to finish. Outline the potential items and services you’ll need at least a month ahead. Then, research prices and get multiple estimates for the best deals and service, Nichols says.

Leave wiggle room for unexpected costs and take your time purchasing new home furnishings, says Daria Victorov, a certified financial planner at Abacus Wealth Partners in San Mateo, California. Remember, you don’t have to buy everything at once.

“When you move into an empty house it feels like you need everything right away,” Victorov says. “Before you move, figure out what those essential items are, the things that you use every day and that’ll help you figure out your budget, too.”

This article was written by NerdWallet and was originally published by The Associated Press. Lauren Schwahn is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: Twitter: @lauren_schwahn. The article 9 Expenses to Pack in Your Moving Budget originally appeared on NerdWallet.


Tricks For A Smooth Move

woman sitting on green meadow with many boxes

A little organization today will save you time and money later as you unpack at your new home.

Whether it’s your first home or your dream home, buying and moving can be stressful. We put on our thinking caps and came up with some practical tips and tricks to help make your move go smoothly.

Consider the Necessities
Think about what you will need when you first arrive. Designate an easy to recognize container such as a clear tote or brightly colored box to make into your “Need First” box. Pack inside trash bags, paper towels, toilet paper, tools, phone chargers, simple snacks, a set of sheets for every bed and other things that are important to you. If coffee is a must have in your house, pack the coffee maker and supplies in this container. The point is to keep together all those necessities that you won’t want to go searching for among a sea of boxes.

While you’re at it, have every member of your family pack an overnight bag with a change of clothes, toiletries, medicine and other items they might take with them on a trip.

Advance Work
Collect packing supplies and begin packing gradually. It will seem like less work and will give you more time to pack carefully. Be sure to start with things you don’t use frequently like grandma’s china, out of season clothes and family mementos.

Purge as you go. If you don’t use it or don’t like it, don’t pack it. These items can be sold in a yard sale, donated to charity or offered to friends.

Change your address before you move. Be sure to notify, not just the Post Office, but your credit card company, cell phone provider and your bank. We love when our customers tell us they’re moving so we can keep contact information up to date.

For a few weeks leading up to your move, make an effort to eat out of your pantry and freezer instead of grocery shopping. Remember, the more you use, the less you have to move or lose!

Try to clean your new home before moving day. Whether you clean it yourself or pay for a service, it’s better to move into a clean house than to clean as you go.

Pack like items from the same room.  Don’t mix your toiletries with cookwear. Keep like items together and then label the boxes with the box content and the room where it belongs. Better yet, color code your boxes with magic markers or a strip of colored tape.

Take great care with breakable items and other valuables. Wrap breakable items well and be sure to label these boxes fragile.  Another precaution might be to pack these important items in a different kind of box than everything else.

Tape those boxes well by securing both the top and bottom seams. Also be sure to use the right kind of box for the job. Heavy items like books and dishes should go in small boxes. Light items like bedding can be packed in large boxes.

Also be sure to fill those boxes to prevent shifting in the box and to cut down on the number of needed boxes. Gaps can be filled with towels or out of season clothing.

If you must disassemble furniture, store all the small parts in a Ziplock bag. Label the bag and then securely tape it to the back of that piece of furniture. Keeping parts and pieces together and safe will save much heartache later, say when screws are missing from your child’s bed.

Moving clothes can be a challenge. One option for moving clothes on hangers is to take a tip from the dry cleaner. Cut a hole in the bottom of a large trash bag and slide the bag over the items on hangers. Items will clean and together and can easily be carried straight from the truck to the closet. Have items in dresser drawers? Leave them in the drawers and cover with Saran Wrap or Press and Seal to keep everything in place.

Look out for Fido
Moving can be a traumatic experience for children and pets. While the doors are open and people are moving about, be sure to keep pets secured in a crate or a room where there is not activity. Not only might they be underfoot, a frightened pet could run outside and be lost.

Then be sure to keep their travel experience as calm and pleasant as possible, especially if you know your pet is a poor traveler. When you arrive at the new home, create a pet space that they will recognize by providing them with familiar bedding, bowls, food and favorite toys.

Are you thinking about buying a home? Contact your local VCNB office to speak with a lender in your neighborhood. Do you have a great moving tip? Share it in the comments below!