Moving Without Moving Funds: 7 Tips For Creating A Realistic Moving Budget

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Whether you’re moving across town or the country, it’s a stressful experience. One of the most stressful aspects of moving is the miles-long bill. When all is said and done, most families will spend several thousand dollars on their relocation.

You can help alleviate some of this anxiety and even save yourself some money by creating a realistic budget and following it from the moment you know you’re moving. 

Take An Inventory Of All Your Belongings

The first step to creating a realistic moving budget is to take an inventory of all your property. Start with your furniture, then move down in size to medium items such as lamps and small appliances, and then everyday items such as clothing, books, and knick-knacks. You’ll need this inventory to attain accurate quotes from moving companies or determine what supplies you need.

While you’re at it, now is an excellent time to decide if there are items with which you can part. If so, donate them to a local goodwill or have a garage sale to make a little extra money.

Don’t Forget Your Vehicles

Especially for long-distance moves, a lot of people forget to account for moving their vehicles. If you have more than one car, driving yourself might not be feasible. The added stress of a long drive with the kids might push you to a breaking point even if a DIY auto transport is on the table.

Think about shipping your car or cars, and compare the shipping expenses against driving (gas, lodging, meals, wear and tear on the vehicles, and so on). Auto-shipping services from car shipping companies like Guardian Auto Transport, a company specializing in Florida vehicle transport, might be a much better option.

Create A Detailed Budget Template

To decide what method makes the most sense for you, you’re going to need to do some research, math, and comparisons. 

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At the top of your page, make two columns: one for categories and one for costs. Then create sections for types of expenses, such as letting professionals take care of things, doing it yourself, and other fees.

Start to fill in the numbers as you do your research. Then, add up the subtotals and consider adding a percentage onto them for contingencies (see below). 

Here are some basic, everyday fees to consider if you’re hiring movers:

  • Costs and rates for the actual transport of goods
  • Additional fees for packing and unpacking
  • Separate labor fees
  • Insurance

Here are things to calculate if you plan to move:

  • Truck or pod rental
  • Packing materials
  • Insurance
  • Additional equipment rentals, such as dollies and ramps

Calculate Costs: DIY Versus Hiring Movers

Once you have created your budget, your next step is to decide how you will go about the move. Then you can add more detail to your budget and proceed according to plan.

Remember that you have options. For example, you can drive a truck yourself while hiring movers to load or unload. You can also pack a moving pod yourself and unload it at your new home, allowing professionals to do the driving.

If you hire movers, be sure to read reviews and check their rating with the Better Business Bureau or other trustworthy websites to ensure you’re picking the right group.

Consider Your Capabilities

Along those lines, be realistic about your capabilities. If you have back problems, don’t expect to be able to do the heavy lifting yourself. It isn’t just physical limitations, either. If you’re prone to stress and anxiety, you might want to hire movers to help alleviate some of that. Remember, nothing is worth letting your mental health suffer. 

Try To Think About Contingencies And Extras

While there will be unexpected costs that you simply can’t plan for (see below), some people forget some everyday things, such as lodging, childcare, meals, and tipping movers.

Some of your items and services may also be taxed. Find out about state, federal, and local taxes by doing an internet search, and be sure to factor them in. If you’re working with moving companies, ask whether they include taxes in their estimates.

Set Aside An Emergency Fund

No matter how careful you are, there will always be the unexpected. While you can’t plan for every eventuality, you can set aside a bit of money for an emergency fund. Most experts recommend between 5% and 10% of your total budget. Insurance might be another consideration if you’re moving high-ticket cars or other items. 

Before You Go

Even though budgeting and moving can be a complicated process, it doesn’t have to be. No matter the circumstances, the chances are good that something fresh and exciting will come from your relocation. Whatever the cause of the move, keep your mind on the big picture to help you get through the nitty-gritty.