How to Create a Budget for Your Move

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Making a Moving Budget

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The tedious process of moving (relocating to a new place and starting life over) is comprised of a lot of out-of-pocket expenses, some that are planned and some that might catch you off guard.

It is a good practice to plan ahead with moving expenditures so that you are on track time-wise and budget-wise.

Why you should budget

Listing all your moving costs on a spreadsheet lets you get a bird's eye view of various expenditures that are going to be incurred during your move.

You can find various moving budget templates on the Internet. These spreadsheets can be changed and updated as per your needs. A bookkeeper's record book is a portable option, but you may have to change some column titles or entry boxes.

Fixed costs at your old residence

Certain fixed expenditures at your current residence are unavoidable and mandatory.

These include:
  • Final utility bills
  • Lease termination
  • Repair costs to your old home
  • Any other costs at your old residence that you cannot change

Determine moving costs

After enumeration of your fixed costs, you should determine the cost of moving your belongings.

It is advisable to obtain estimates from at least three moving companies. This will allow you to compare the costs and services offered by different companies. It also gives you the bargaining power when making the final decision. Aside from the cost of using a moving company, you should calculate costs for insurance and tips for the movers.

DIY moving for short distances has its own pros and cons. The downside of it is you might incur extra costs in the form of fuel, insurance and tools such as a loading ramp and handcart. If you are utilizing packing services, a good rule of thumb is that 25% of moving costs should be designated for packers. The cost of packing supplies should be included in the budget.

Costs during the move

The costs incurred during the moving process are quite varied and range from your plane tickets to fuel and snacks.
  • Travelling by airplane - factor in costs such as the plane ticket, taxi fare to and from the airport and additional charges such as extra luggage
    • Don't forget flight costs for pets like vet fees, carrier costs and ticket costs
  • Travelling by rental truck - include costs for hotels, meals and snacks while on the road
    • When calculating mileage on a rental, add the mileage to your costs with 5% extra contingency to cover any changes in fuel prices
  • Using an auto shipper - as with moving, get multiple quotes from different auto shipping companies and choose the one that best suits your needs
    • Remember to include the cost of getting your car inspected and repaired for its move

Post-move expenditure

After moving into your new home, a variety of expenditures are incurred that range from fixing up your new residence, to utility services.

Some possible expenses to add to your budget include:
  • Costs for home improvement projects
    • For example, painting and carpet cleaning
  • Rent
  • Security/damage deposits
  • Mortgage payments
  • Prices for utility services
  • Take-out food

TIP: It is a good gesture to serve food and drinks to people who have helped you move in. Grocery shopping after you first moved in is going to be expensive as you have to stock up your kitchen with all the essentials.

Finalizing your budget

Once you have added up all your costs in a spreadsheet, add an additional 5 to 10% of your total cost. This buffer amount will account for any hidden costs during the move.

Examine the final statement and if the amount exceeds your expectations, then review the budget and cut costs by removing unnecessary and/or your least necessary expenses.

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on January 15, 2013 - Moving Expert
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