Moving Costs And How to Plan For Them

Ah, moving: There are few things that tax you (and your bank account) more. Don’t get me wrong– moving is crazy exciting, and it’s certainly worth the effort, but it always seems like it will take less out of you than it does.

Interestingly enough, the most common mistake people make is not saving enough cash before a move. To avoid crying tears over lost cash when you’re signing your next lease, make sure you know what moving costs you’re going to incur and prepare accordingly.

The Application Fee

The Cost of Moving And How to Plan For It - The Application Fee

This is perhaps the most frustrating part of moving, as application fees are usually nonrefundable and don’t guarantee you’ll get the apartment you want. Now that I think about it, they’re a lot like those fees you were paying to all those colleges you applied to. Nonetheless, they are mandatory, and they usually cost between $40 and $100.

The good news? You won’t usually be prompted to apply for an apartment that’s already taken, and if your credit store is in good standing, it’s unlikely that you’ll be rejected. It’s a good idea to have enough saved up for roughly three applications though, just in case.

The Security Deposit

The Cost of Moving And How to Plan For It - The Security Deoposit

Not every apartment requires a security deposit, but the vast majority do. Security deposits are usually the equivalent of one month’s rent, and it’s the most overlooked moving cost, surprisingly enough. In some instances, your landlord won’t charge you a deposit, but will instead charge a non refundable move-in fee (usually about half of one month’s rent).

The good news about the former? If you don’t do anything to seriously damage your apartment, you’ll get the whole thing back. Hooray!

The First Month of Rent (And Sometimes the Last)

The Cost of Moving And How to Plan For It - The First month of Rent (And Sometimes Last)

This one is pretty standard. When you sign a lease at a new place, you’ll be asked to pay your first month of rent up front. While this is frustrating in the sense that you’re already probably paying rent at your current place, think of it this way: You were going to have to pay it some time.

Some apartment complexes go one step farther and ask for the last month of rent as well. It’s no fun when you’re writing that first check, but it feels really good at the end of the year– I promise.

Pet Fees

The Cost of Moving And How to Plan For It - Pet Fees

Some pet-friendly apartments let your pooch live with you for free, while others will charge a one-time pet fee or a monthly pet rent. It’s not usually too expensive, but it’s a good idea to ask your potential landlord about this before you sign your lease– not after.

Many pet-less people don’t check into this for obvious reasons, but if you think you’d like to get a pet at some point, it’s a good idea to ask about it anyway. You’ll be glad you did on the day when you can’t resist that adorable kitten while you’re out window shopping at the local adoption center. (Trust me, I’ve been there.)

Elevator Fees

The Cost of Moving And How to Plan For It - Elevator Fees

Yes, this is a real thing. It’s actually super awesome– you can basically rent an elevator for your moving day, ensuring the speedy movement of all your stuff from the truck to your apartment. If you’ve tried to move to the top floor of a 23-story building before, you understand why this is so valuable.

Movers and Moving Trucks

The Cost of Moving And How to Plan For It - Movers and Moving Trucks

Not everyone opts to hire movers, but if you do, make sure you factor this into your budget. If you have a lot of stuff or are moving relatively far, they can be an enormous help– and well worth the expense.

If you opt to ask your friends to help you move instead, you’ll still need to rent a moving truck. The price for this ranges immensely, but it’s based on how far you’re moving and how long you’ll need the truck for.

One thing to keep in mind: During the busiest times of the year– usually the summer, it costs more to hire movers and rent moving trucks. And even if you recruit your friends, you’ll still have to pay them in pizza.

Packing Supplies

The Cost of Moving And How to Plan For It - Packing Supplies

Diligently swinging by local warehouses in search of free boxes is a good way to reduce this cost, but you’re still going to need to purchase packing supplies like tape, foam peanuts, and furniture sliders. Make sure you do this early– nothing is worse than waiting until the last second and haphazardly shoving your stuff into whatever containers you can find.

Gas or Airfare

The Cost of Moving And How to Plan For It - Gas or Airfare

Don’t forget it costs money to get from point A to point B, even if you’re just heading down the block. If you rented a moving van, you’ll be responsible for filling it back up the gas, and if you hired movers, you’ll have to transport yourself to your new place. These costs only go up if you need to fly to your new home.


The Cost of Moving And How to Plan For It - Utilities

When you sign up for new utilities, there is usually some sort of deposit. This varies based on how much is included in your rent– in some cases, water and heat will already be turned on, as the building pays for it. Deposits are inexpensive, but they add up– so make sure you understand what you’ll be responsible for before move-in day!

Cable and Internet

The Cost of Moving And How to Plan For It - Cable and Internet

Some of the most pressing moving costs are cable and Internet. (You have to get your Netflix fix somehow, right?) It’s similar to utilities in the sense that it usually requires a one-time deposit plus your first month’s fees, and like your utilities, it’s a good idea to schedule their installation before you move. Living without the Internet for a week may be a first-world problem, but it’s a big one.

Insurance Changes

The Cost of Moving And How to Plan For It - Insurance Changes

Depending on where you’ve moved, you may find that your renters or automotive insurance has risen. Fear not– it’s usually not by much. Still, you’ll need to update your insurance company with your new address, so be prepared to pay a little more in moving costs!

If you’re relocating for a job, be sure to take note of how much your moving costs total, as they’re tax deductible (woohoo!), and be sure you pack plenty of snacks. I don’t know about you, but I get pretty hungry when I’m attempting to lift sofas.


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