Moving Costs: The Underexposed Expense with the Overpowering Bite

Planning a move well in advance of the actual moving day can prevent financial hardships. The problem is that many common expenses are often overlooked during the process of budgeting for a move. By taking all of the possible expenses into account, it is possible to prevent unexpected costs from adding up too quickly.

Cost of Labor

The cost of moving often includes the expense of hiring a moving company to handle the boxes and furniture. Even a moving company that requires the customer to pack and load the truck will have the expense of a driver, which can add up quickly by the time the move is completed.

Before assuming that the cost of labor is included in any moving company, ask questions. Find out the hourly or daily rate and add that expense to any other charges that are mentioned. Ask about additional fees or costs that may contribute to the expense. If a truck is rented, ask about additional fees when it is returned to a different location and the per-mile rate that may add to the unexpected costs after returning the truck to the company.

Fuel Expense

Driving across the country may sound fun in the beginning, but it can result in an unexpectedly high cost that is overlooked during the initial stage of planning: gas. The gas prices are not the same in every state, so look up the average cost of fuel in each state along the planned route to avoid costly surprises.

The fuel expense is not limited to just the car that brings the family. A rented truck will also require fuel and the gas mileage may be less than expected, so get a miles-per-gallon estimate from the rental company before selecting any truck or van.

Storage Expenses

Storing household items before, during and immediately after the move may seem like a way to preserve certain material belongings, but it can also accrue expenses by the time the move is completed. Find out the monthly cost of storage before a move and add that to the moving budget. Even a small space can add up if it is not added to the expenses.

Food During the Trip

During a move, it may not be possible to cook a meal with the family or spend time at the grocery store. Expect additional expenses from restaurants during the move. Calculate restaurant expenses and other additional costs related to meals until a few days after the planned move in case delays from traffic or weather conditions result in additional time on the road.

Boxes, Tape and Materials

The cost of packing belongings can add up, especially when the small items are overlooked or additional materials are needed for the trip. Never assume that boxes from personal belongings, furniture or other items are enough. In many cases, it will be necessary to purchase a few additional boxes and packing materials for the move.

Freight and Transportation

If a cross-country drive is not an option due to time constraints, it is important to add the cost of shipping a vehicle to the new home and the additional expense of plane or train tickets. Add the cost of freight expenses and any plane tickets into the moving budget.

Overlooked moving expenses can have unexpected financial repercussions. The key to staying in budget is taking the extra time to look up information and plan all of the possible costs, including the small expenses like packing tape and boxes.


Thomas Bremerton is a freelance writer focusing on personal finance and wealth management; those looking for affordable storage in California should consider viewing cheap storage san francisco.

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