How important is having a moving budget? How do you develop one and is it necessary? The answers are: Yes, very important!

Budgets act as compasses. They can guide us through the moving process by keeping us on track and not allowing us to drift financially or emotionally. When you have a budget in place, you know when you have over-reached your financial goals.

In fact, skip this important step and you could end up being disappointed in yourself and the entire moving experience.

As you create your budget, you want to consider what is important to you. Take notes while talking with potential moving teams.

Remember, you are looking for comparatives: One company may be cheaper on paper but what are their ratings? Are they willing to work well with you? Are there limitations that just won’t work?

Do your homework because not all movers are the same. This is where having a moving budget will help. Also know how to ask key questions and record your financial goals on a spread sheet.

Budgets keep you on track, and they keep your moving company on track.

On average, a local move can range from $300 to $1,500 depending on the move’s size. Long-distance moves cost on average of $2,500 to $5,000 depending on the move’s size and the distance. These are conservative estimates because of the labor shortage’s effect on the moving industry in the last few years.

So, create a budget and stick to it unless something comes up that is unexpected, and usually it does. A recent client came to us talking about the renovations she wanted to make in her new home.

One thing an experienced mover will do is to apply a holistic approach to moving. They show you how to measure not only the cost of moving the contents of your house, condo, or apartment but also work within your financial requirements.

If you have huge expectations on the opposite end of your move, you want to set a plan in place, so you are not surprised by any cost. After all, spending more on one end usually does not save money on the other.

Creating your Budget

You can certainly use software and moving calculators, but those are not always necessary. You can simply write down your needs on a sheet of paper and translate these into a template or spreadsheet online.

Instructions for setting up a moving budget template.

Be sure to include these—

  1. Add the following categories at the top of your page: Category and Cost.
  2. Create three main sections on the first column: Professional Movers, Self-Moving, and Other Expenses.
  3. Fill in the prices for each of the moving items listed in the appropriate section.
  4. Create a row entitled subtotal under each section.
  5. Add up all the professional or self-move costs using a calculator or the appropriate formula available in your spreadsheet and place this value in the subtotal row.
  6. Create a new row under subtotal entitled contingency and multiply the total by at least 5% (though if you want to be super safe, double it). Then add that to your subtotal. (Adapted from Forbes Home)

Basic Moving Costs to Consider

This is a very high-level view of moving costs, which will vary based on your choices. For example, will you opt to use a professional mover or consider moving yourself?

Often the cost between the two are not that different. But costs go up if you need help with initial packing and unpacking at your destination. You can use your moving budget template to see where you need to cut expenses; which option fits your budget best; or where you need to expand your moving expenses.

Just for the Record—Two Choices:

Hire a Professional Mover

Working with moving professionals can save money on moving costs, time, and stress. Most movers charge by the hour, so you can identify areas where you can save time and money by doing some of the work yourself—packing and prepping for the move ahead of time.

Below is a list of professional moving expenses:

  • Moving fees/rates
  • Packing services
  • Moving insurance
  • Specialty item packaging services (moving pianos, safes, artwork etc.)
  • Hidden costs (damages/claims, meals, tips, etc.)
  • Unpacking services

Move Yourself

Moving by yourself may seem like an easy way to save money, but it’s not free! There are boxes and packing materials to buy and there’s your time to consider. Keep in mind that this budget won’t reflect the amount of time you spend getting ready for your move.

If you’re moving on your own, add these moving expenses to your Self-Moving section:

  • Truck rental
  • Gas
  • Moving insurance
  • Furniture insurance
  • Additional moving equipment rental (ramps and dolly)
  • Packing materials (boxes, tape, covers etc.)

8 Moving Expenses to Consider

Regardless of how you choose to move, there are other costs to consider when creating a moving budget. Miscellaneous expenses like eating out during the move can add up. Travel back and forth to your new location. Be sure to add as many of these to your list, these are the most overlooked items in your moving estimates.

  • Packing Materials
  • Excessive weight – Some weight limits need to be considered
  • Peak surcharges – Move on Fridays or a weekend, and you could pay more.
  • Cleaning on both ends of the move
  • Utilities
  • Food – During and after the move
  • Damaged items – No one wants to think about this, but damage can happen.

• Tips – Your moving company team appreciates tips but be sure to base this on your satisfaction of the move. The standard tip for a great move is 15%.

Are you in the market for a mover in Alabama? Lambert Moving Systems is one of the top companies for moving in Alabama. We’ve been around for 90 years. Find your location below to get in touch now!

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