Whether you're moving across town or across the country, it's important to budget for the cost of transporting yourself and everything you own to a new home. Here are some of the costs you'll need to prepare for and a few tips on how to handle them.
You have basically two options — at opposite ends of the cost spectrum.
The least expensive way is to do–it–yourself, assuming you have access to a truck and some willing and able friends. In that case, you may be able to limit your moving costs to gas, truck rental, pizza and beer (or similar refreshments) for your buddies.
The other option is to hire a truck, a driver, and movers. Their total price tag can run from the hundreds to thousands of dollars, depending on where you live, where you're going, how much you're moving, and whether you want the moving company to pack up your belongings.
Check out Moving.com to estimate the moving bill. They have a nifty calculator that factors in the distance of the move and level of packing services (from none to full) you're willing to buy. For example: Moving.com estimates it would cost between $951 to $1,287 to move within the Cleveland area with zero packing done by the movers. But moving from Cleveland to Naples, FL (1055 miles) with full packing services would run from $5,750 to $8,231.
Handy Tip: Separately pack — and clearly mark — a box with every day dishes, flatware, towels, soap, medicines and other essentials you will need the day you move in. It's the only way to avoid an end of the day frenzy searching for things like a blanket and a clean set of sheets.
Budget for the time and possible expense of setting up your electricity, gas water and online services (Internet, cable, etc.). Call your future providers to get their best estimates and arrange hook–up dates before you move.
If your utilities are on you can cook a meal in your new kitchen. Budget a quick run to the grocery. If the utilities are off — or there's too much going on to think about cooking — ask a new neighbor for a restaurant recommendation.
Renters should also budget the first month's rent and security deposit — which is due when the lease is signed. Renters should also call ahead of the move to find out how much to budget for damage deposits, pet deposits, move–in fees, or similar one–time charges.