How To Create A Moving Budget

How to Create a Moving Budget

Moving is a process that requires some planning beforehand. Moving costs quickly multiply without you even realizing it, which makes preparation a crucial step. However, there are numerous
reasons to hire a professional moving company. For instance, you will be sure you have professionals handling your belongings with proper care, which you won't be so sure of if you choose to move on your own or with the help of a friend. In addition, relocation is one of the major events in one's life, and therefore, needs special handling and preparation. Another important thing is to create a moving budget and figure out how much the move will cost. Enjoy reading our guide on relocation costs to help you with your planning.

Steps You Need To Take To Create A Moving Budget

First, let's hit you with the numbers. The average price of a local move goes anywhere from $300 to $1500, while long-distance moves cost $2000 to $5000. And the size of the move and distance is what counts in the price.

Of course, you should interview several movers and compare their offers. Perhaps you can even negotiate the price with them if you use more of their services. There are always some ways to ensure a profitable outcome. Once you narrow down the list of potential moving companies, you can start the negotiation process to ensure you choose the one with the best offer for the most reasonable price. 

Let's look at the essential steps to take if you want to create a moving budget successfully.

Step 1: Make A Record of Your Possessions

The first step before you start calling moving companies is to list what goes into your new home. The essentials and everyday objects like clothes, kitchenware, and furniture will be on your list, but make sure you go through each room to ensure you don't forget something.

a woman's hands writing in a notebook and trying to create a moving budget

Another good idea is to divide your possessions into three groups: the ones you will move, the ones you will donate, and the ones you will throw away.

Step 2: Create a Microsoft Excel Moving Budget Template

You can choose to write it down in a notebook, but we suppose doing it on your laptop will be easier. Either way, here's what it would be good to include in your template.

  1. Include the category, estimated cost, and actual cost columns in the top row;
  2. Under category, you should write the moving expenses;
  3. Once you get your estimates, you should fill out that column;
  4. Finally, create a subtotal row and add up all the estimated and actual costs once you add all the categories.

Moving Costs To Include

The moving costs that will fall under the category column of your list can be different depending on what type of service you choose. But, here are the basics you should consider.

Working with professional movers

Even though it might not seem that way, hiring professional movers will save you money in the long term. This is especially true if you are moving long-distance and want to ensure a smooth and safe relocation. In addition, they usually charge hourly, which will help you identify the areas where you can save money by doing things on your own. 

The moving expenses to add to your Professional moving company section are moving rates, packing services, moving insurance, specialty packing, unpacking services, any hidden costs (damage, meals, tips).

Self-moving costs

On the other hand, you can still choose to move in your private arrangement. In this case, the costs you will need to include truck rental, gas, rental equipment, food and drinks, dolly, and ramp.

Packing materials

If you wish to ensure a smooth move, it would be best to invest in quality packing materials. Also, consider getting some special boxes for your fragile times. Apart from boxes, you will need labels, packing tape, packing paper, furniture covers, packing peanuts.

a mom and a daughter packing their possessions in storage boxes


This is a cost you want to include in your list if you are moving more than 50 miles away. The expenses to include here are fuel, car maintenance, car shipping, and lodging.


If you sometimes need a storage place during your move, be sure to contact different companies for different estimates because you don't want to overpay it. The expenses here include storage unit rental, cost to move to and from the storage unit, insurance, and lodging costs.

Step 3: Decide On The Time And Place You Want To Move

Believe it or not, the time of your move can also affect its price. For instance, if you are planning to move during summer, expect to pay more. 

Where you want to move is an obvious factor that will affect the price. Some U.S. cities will require a moving permit to park the moving trucks, so moving to some places might be more challenging. 

Step 4: Put Money Aside

Your life won't stop during your move. You will still have to pay for groceries for your family and pets and take the kids to school. It would be good to track your monthly expenses and subtract them from your income after paying your taxes. The amount you get will be the one to divide between the moving and other costs you have.

hands counting money

Step 5: Have An Emergency Fund

If you are in a financial position to have an emergency fund, we strongly recommend you do. Experts recommend your emergency fund should provide for at least three months’ worth of your expenses. We say this because moving can come with many surprises, and you want to be prepared just in case.

Step 6: Additional Costs

Not everyone will have additional costs, but it would be good to ask yourself some of the following questions when creating your relocation budget.

  • Do you need to pay for childcare if you have kids?
  • If you own pets, do you need to pay for pet care?
  • Do you need to have your previous house cleaned professionally?
  • Will you need to be off work during your relocation process? How long will that take? Will it impact your moving budget?

Step 7: Don't Spend All Your Savings

Finally, it would be good not to get all tangled up in your moving budget and forget about your actual savings. So don't forget to put some money in your savings account.

Final Words

Ultimately, when you create a moving budget, it will instantly make your journey less stressful. Once you start approaching your moving date, make sure you look back at the list you made and keep referring to your budget to see where you stand. You need to take many expenses into account, from packing materials to storage units, so be sure to update your list regularly. Happy moving!

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