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Creating a Moving Budget: Beyond Boxes and Tape

You’ve budgeted for the moving company, boxes, tape, packing paper and bubble wrap. But have you thought about utility setup fees, touch-up paint and travel expenses? They’re part of your moving budget, too. 

“People don’t realize the total cost associated with moving,” says Chuck Bailey, general manager of Executive Moving Systems. “The actual move is only part of the cost. There’s much more to consider.”

CableMover® caught up with Bailey to find out how to create a comprehensive moving budget.  Here he notes the most common and commonly forgotten budget items.

Prepping for the Move

The majority of your moving budget – outside of the actual cost of transporting your belongings – will be spent before you load the truck.

While it’s simple to shut off utilities, starting service at your new home requires paperwork and often, fees and deposits. It’s common for gas, electric and water services to require a security deposit and charge a fee for initiating new service. The latter is usually nominal but the security deposit can be several hundred dollars.

Vehicle service.
Moving cross-country or even a few states away can put a lot of mileage on your car. It's a good idea to have the oil and filter changed. Be sure to top off all the fluids, make sure your brakes are OK and check the tires for pressure and wear. The last thing you want is a break-down or flat tire during your move.   

House touch-up.
Carpet cleaning, touch-up painting and finally fixing that leaky faucet are all items on your move-out punch list. The cost of these items can add up quickly.

Junk and trash.
Preparing to move is a good time to clean out the garage and attic. But to get rid of larger items that your garbage service won’t dispose of, you’ll need to hire a hauling service. Remember that some charities will pick up household items for free.

Packing and Moving

Moving companies calculate costs in pounds and cubic feet. Don’t know the cubic measurements of your bedroom furniture or the weight of your dining room table? Use the handy sheet at International Movers. You enter the types of furniture you have and the quantity and it spits out the approximate weight and cubic feet of space you’ll need to transport your goods. This measurement dictates the size of moving truck needed.

Once you know the weight of your belongings, you can approximate the cost of packing materials. It will cost $6 to $7 per 100 pounds of goods to purchase boxes, tape and packing paper.

Moving Day

If your destination is more than a day’s drive, you’ll need to figure in lodging, meals and the cost of gas. Is Fido coming too? Remember to include the costs of boarding (if he’s coming later) or pet fees at hotels (if he’s traveling with you). 

Friendly assistance.
If you’re lucky enough to have friends and family moving you instead of a hired crew, you’ll want to thank them by at least providing lunch or dinner. Even pizza and beer can add up. “That can be a $60 expense you didn’t factor in,” says Bailey.

Whether it’s dusty countertops, bathtub rings or helpers tracking in mud and dirt, there’s always something that needs cleaning at your new home. Remember: moving companies won’t transport flammable items, which eliminates many cleaning products, so you’ll need to purchase replacements for your new house.

The New Place

Finally, you’re home sweet home, but there are still a few things that need to be in your budget.

Restocking groceries.
Remember that half-eaten jar of pickles and a host of other items that you threw away when you cleaned out your old refrigerator and pantry?  All these items – from spices and oils to sauces and condiments – will need to be restocked.

Picture hanging hardware and window coverings.
Unless you have a remarkable type A personality, you left the picture hangers on the wall at your old house. You'll need replacement gear. And no doubt your old curtains don’t fit the new windows, so you’ll want to purchase temporary blinds to start.

Motor vehicle registration and driver’s license.
If you’re moving to a new state, you’ll need to register your car, get new plates and have the vehicle inspected. Plus, you’ll need to obtain a new driver’s license from the state Department of Motor Vehicles. You can find most all of the motor vehicle agencies for every state and province in the U.S. and Canada through the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators.