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How to setup a moving budget

By Diane Schmidt

Most people who move feel they don’t have time to set up a budget first. However, not preparing financially could cost you more in the long-run. Small items such as a new shower curtain, sheets or restocking your shelves all adds up. I recommend setting a budget first, before you do anything else. Know what the move is going to cost so you’re prepared and aware of what you’re spending. Note: Each item below should be listed as separate line items.

1. Create a Moving Budget Template

Software programs are probably the easiest way to create a budget template; Microsoft Word or Excel are the best programs to use, with Excel allowing you to use formulas for easy calculations. For your convenience, I’ve created a moving budget template in Excel that will provide you with everything you need, including formulas and and easy-to-use breakdown. It blends perfectly with this article.

If you’d like a copy, just email me and put “moving budget template” in the subject line. Please note that this template can only be used in MS Excel.

If you’d rather have something more portable or if you don’t want to spend the time setting up a document on your computer, purchase a bookkeeper’s record book at your local office supply store. You may need to make a few adjustments to the column titles or entry boxes, but it will provide you with the basic outline of expense tracking that you’ll need. Also, make sure you have a good calculator or adding machine on hand.

2. Moving Company Expenses

If you’re hiring a moving company, you’ll need to include the following amounts:

3. Moving Yourself

If you’re moving yourself, these are the items you’ll need to include:

4. Travel to New Home

5. Packing and Storage Fees

6. Selling Home/Moving from Rental

7. Buying or Renting Your New Home
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Moving Company Fee: Includes fuel charges and labour. Ask for estimates from three and even if you haven’t decided on which company you’ll choose, add the highest quote to your budget.
Additional Insurance: If your items are worth more to you, you may need to add this on to your total moving costs.
Extra Services: Could include preparing appliances, moving a piano, etc. Ask the moving company for quotes if these services apply.
Extra Charges: These may include accessorial charges, expedited service charge, flight charge, longhaul charges, long carry charges and shuttle service.
Claims/damage costs: you may not need to include an amount here, but to be safe, add in a 5 percent contingency rate based on the total moving company fees.
Professional Packing: This is an optional service.
Truck Rental: Rates vary according to size and whether you’re moving one way or return.
Mileage/Gas: Ask the rental agency how many miles to the gallon you can expect from the van or truck that you’re renting. If you’re moving any distance, find out the cost of fuel along your route. Do this by going to the Fuel Calculator, a service offered by AAA.
Insurance: Before you purchase insurance, contact your credit card companies to find out if you’re covered under their service. This could save you some extra money. If you’re not covered, make sure you include an insurance fee.
Extra Equipment Rental: This may include a dolly, a loading ramp, mattress and furniture covers, etc. Before you add this item into your budget, ask the rental agency if they’ll throw these tools in for free.
Incidentals: Add in an extra contingency amount, just in case the price of gas goes up again or in case you need to make some extra stops along your route. It’s better to build extra costs in up front.

Transportation: If you’re moving a car in addition to a moving van, add in the costs for fuel and maintenance fees, such as oil, fluids and a pre-move check-up. If you prefer, divide these costs into separate line items.
Lodging: Research your stops along your moving route and find out how much lodging will cost. Determine the number of nights and the room rates ahead of time. Use a tool such as for rates and availability. You can even book online, too.
Meals: Calculate an average cost per meal per person. Include drinks and snacks.
Child/Pet Care: If you require any additional services to care for members of your family either before or after your move, include those fees here.
Temporary Housing: Include this line item if you and your family require temporary shelter.
Boxes: Determine the number of boxes you’ll need and add that fee here.
Mattress Covers/padding: If you’re using a moving company, they usually provide these supplies at no cost.
Storage Fees: Call a few storage companies and use the highest price if you haven’t yet decided on which storage facility you’ll use.
Extra Insurance : If you’re storing valuables, include extra insurance to make sure your goods are covered.
Moving Costs: These are costs to move the items from your home to the storage facility. This may be included in a line item above or the moving company may allow you one additional stop at no extra cost.
Commission: For selling your home.
Lawyer/title fees
Misc. : Include items such as additional purchases, paint, etc…
Lease Cancellation Charges: If you are unable to give enough notice to a landlord, they may charge you for cancelling your lease or they may withhold your initial deposit.
Lawyer Fee
Title Search Fee
Survey Fee
Other Fees
Home or Apartment Insurance
Redecorating Costs: This is hard to calculate. Look at the largest room in your house and the one which requires the most work or items, breakdown each cost (paint, curtains, rugs, lamps, garbage containers, etc…), then add it up. You can either do this for each room or calculate an average cost for the entire home.