Moving Costs

How to Plan for Moving Costs

July 19, 2013 | Apartment Hunting, Moving Tips

Planning a move sometime soon? If so, it’s time to budget for moving costs. When you’re transitioning into life in a new rental home, there are a lot of incremental costs you’re bound to incur. Make sure to account for the costs of moving before you get in over your head.

Before the Move

Prior to moving, you’re likely to already be bombarded with some hefty fees. The most burdensome of these pre-moving fees is the security deposit you’ll be required to pay to your soon-to-be landlord. Security deposit amounts will vary depending on where you choose to live, but you may be asked to pay up to two months’ rent for a security deposit, and you will have to pay it before getting your previous deposit back from your current landlord. This means that you’ll likely be a few thousand dollars in the hole for a couple of months.

Preparing for this fee is important. If you don’t budget correctly, you won’t have enough cash to pay your last month of rent in your current home. Before you select a new apartment, start saving up some cash for a security deposit. For example, if you currently pay $1,000 in rent, try to save $200 a month for a period of five months before you start looking for a new place. This way, you’ll have no problem coming up with cash when it’s time to fork over your deposit–and the return of your current security deposit will just be money in the bank!

During the Move

On moving day, you may or may not choose to hire movers. The costs of moving with professional help are significantly higher than they would be if you’d just handled moving yourself, but you can still reduce your costs in a number of ways. First of all, pack as much as you possibly can before the movers arrive. Movers generally charge by the hour, so the less your crew has to do, the less you will have to pay. Be sure to prioritize which items (probably your mattress) you’ll want handled with special care: Movers often offer to bubble wrap precious items for a small fee. If you’re on a budget, skip on having them wrap your IKEA couch or coffee table.

After the Move

After moving, it’s time to get your utilities set up and your address changed. When setting up your gas, electric and cable, you probably won’t be able to avoid paying a few fees. However, now is a great time to check for deals.

Because you may have to terminate your service and activate a new contract, shop around! Ask your cable provider what deals are currently running or if bundle packages are available, but beware of scams that hike up the prices astronomically after a couple inexpensive introductory months. Better yet, use this move as an opportunity to turn over a new leaf and cancel your cable altogether! Sign up for Netflix or Hulu instead.

Changing your address should only cost a dollar or two–as long as you switch it through the United States Postal Service. Don’t fall for scams that claim to change over all your addresses at once; these arrangements often charge upwards of $20, and typically, the only address change you’d otherwise have to pay for is the USPS change, which only costs about $1. Go to to make the official switch.

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