Moving Ain’t Cheap: The Costs of Relocating

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The Costs of Moving

By: Jade Evans

People move for all sorts of reasons. Sometimes it’s work or family,and other times it’s just the need for a change or more space. Getting a new home whether it’s your own house or a rental is always exciting and marks a new chapter in life. But it’s not an easy venture. As if just finding a new place, paying for it and packing weren’t enough; the move itself can come with a wide array of additional expenses. Here are only a few of the extra costs that could come up and some ideas on where to splurge and where to save when moving:

Packing Materials

If you need to put your entire life into boxes, you’re going to need packing supplies. That includes boxes, tape, markers and cushioning to protect your important items. You can go out and buy boxes and bubble tape and be on your way. But if you get creative with your packing, you may not have to.

Collect boxes from friends and family of course, but if you don’t get much help there, try local stores. Many businesses, particularly grocery and retail stores, have more boxes than they know what to do with and may be nice enough to hook you up. For securing your possessions, if you look around you’ll probably find some viable substitutes to packing peanuts around the house. Newspapers, bags and even old clothes and towels can all be used to protect your breakables. And using these materials will save you from buying supplies that you will probably throw out anyway.


Not everybody needs to hire movers. If you have some able bodied friends with a free Saturday then you may get off easy. But if you’re on your own, lifting a sofa is a little out of the question. Most moving companies and long distance movers charge by the item. So move everything you can by yourself, like boxes and small items, leaving only the big stuff for the hired help.


Again, if you’re only moving across town and you have a friend with a pick up truck or an SUV who will help you move, you’re all set. But if you only have a Mini Cooper and a house-full to haul, physics are working against you. So you may have to suck it up and rent a truck. If you’re going to hire movers anyway, look for a company with their own trucks. But if you’re doing the manual labor yourself, trucks like Uhaul and Ryder can be rented at a pretty low cost. Of course you will most likely have to pay for gas on top of the rental fee. And depending on your driving distance these gas guzzlers can rack up quite a fuel bill, so be prepared.

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Do you ever look around your house and wonder; “When did I get so much junk?” Yeah, me too. We all have a habit of acquiring more than we need and when we move there isn’t always room in the new place for everything. When that happens you may need to make room in the budget for storage rental. Look for a storage facility close to your new home and once you’re settled, evaluate the need for what you have stored. You may discover you’ll get along fine without much of it and then you can sell what you don’t need to recoup the costs of the move.


Whether you’re moving out of a house or an apartment you’ll need to clean the old space before heading to your new one. If you’re moving out of a rental, the cleanliness of the space upon your departure can determine whether or not you get your deposit back. So if you want that sizable chunk of change, the place better be spic ‘n span. For this, you’ll need cleaning supplies.

Or, if you want to give yourself a break, you can hire a cleaning service. This is an expensive option of course, but if you’ve managed cut down on other costs like movers or trucks it may be a possibility. Having someone else clean out your old home can leave you free to focus on the new one. Conversely, if your future home is filthy, paying for help with the initial cleaning can be a real load off when you have a long moving in process ahead of you.


While we’re talking about cleaning, if your old stuff is mostly garbage then get rid of it. Naturally, hauling everything out, packing it up and taking it to the dump by yourself adds to your workload. So if you have enough crap, it may be easier to rent a dumpster or a hire a junk collection service. It’s not essential of course, but it might be a way to simplify what is already a long and stressful operation.

Unexpected Repairs

If you buy a fixer-upper, you go into it expecting to lay out some cash for repairs and renovations. But if you buy a house that’s in “move in condition” you may not expect to have to start paying for upkeep immediately. But in some cases, things can get broken during the move, either yours or the previous owner’s. Or there may be minor issues with which the insurance company takes issue. Things like missing railings or broken sidewalks may require fixing as a condition of your home insurance coverage.


Utility bills of the future aside, in the here and now you may have to pay just to get connected. Sometimes utility companies make you pay to turn a service on or off. The cable company in particular is famous for their installation fees and extraneous charges for every little thing. If you need more cable hook-ups than the previous owner or need wires moved, the bill can add up.

Cost Of Living

It’s not an immediate cost, but it’s one we don’t often think about. Any move is going to change your daily budget. But if you make a major location change, like moving to a new city or state, your day to day expenses can shift significantly. From gas for commuting to utility and grocery bills you may be facing a whole new cost of living. The more research you can do on where you’re going, the more prepared you will be for the costs of your new life in your new home.

There is a bright side though, if you are moving for work, then many of these expenses may be deductible on your taxes. There are time and distance requirements that will determine your eligibility, but it is definitely worth looking into at tax time.

Relocating is always going to be a hit to the wallet. But you can reduce some of the shock and avoid racking up debt when you make a plan for these kinds of costs ahead of time. Consider adding moving expenses into your original budget plan when you begin looking for a new home. It will help you get a much more realistic idea of what you can afford, and create a cushion for extra costs. Moving into a new home is a fresh start for anyone, and when you plan properly you can ensure that your new beginning isn’t tainted by unexpected bills.

Jade Evans is a writer for uShip, a company that helps people locate cross country movers for relocating. Jade has been a blogger and a writer for several years now, but she rarely loads the truck herself.

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