The Hidden Costs of Moving


Food/Fuel Costs


This should seem obvious, but the actual move itself — especially if you’re driving cross country — will certainly cost you a pretty penny if you don’t plan beforehand. Hotels, meals, gas, and snacks all can add up fairly quickly, especially if you’re traveling with a large family. Potential repairs to your car on-the-road will also tally up, so make sure to have some discretionary funds just for that (as well as toll roads you may use.)
AAA has an incredible fuel calculator that will give you an accurate estimate of how much money you’ll be spending, based on the distance between your beginning-and-end points and make/model of your car. And while flying to your destination may save you some of this trouble, you’ll still need to calculate in taxi and luggage fees. (And you’ll still have to pay the company that’s driving your possessions the cost of gas.)

Extra Insurance/Special Objects


You almost certainly have to pay more for special, or at least heavy objects (like pianos, heavy furniture, for example.) Moving companies do provide insurance (according to weight), but it’s usually not enough, so you’ll probably to have to add some of your own. Peruse the rental company’s policy carefully, as it may not cover simply “damaged” goods (or, you’ll need to prove that the item was not damaged before they transported it.)

Moving Supplies


People often forget about this — the most important, yet most often overlooked, component of moving to a new home. Just think about everything you’ll need in order to pack your stuff: mountains of boxes, tape, renting dollies, bubble wrap, stamps, markers, bins, new suitcases, etc. At a traditional office supply store, these can run you $2 or $3 each (and big boxes often cost more.) Some moving companies will include a few of these materials with the price of the move, but double-check beforehand. And to save money, try to borrow old supplies from just-moved-in neighbors, or look for old boxes from outside retail or grocery stores.



Try to pick a time that is least popular for big moves, like the winter. Moving companies have more limited resources in the summer, and will often charge more for supplies (and their time.) The afternoon is usually less expensive than early morning, and the beginning and ends of the month are higher-priced for rental companies because this is when leases and other kinds of housing contracts tend to expire. Be flexible with your moving date, and you’ll pay a less expensive rate.



Don’t forget this! It’s customary to tip around 10-15% to each mover you work with (and more if the trip is longer.) Offering them water or snacks during a hot day can also be a very appreciated gesture.

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Other things that might come into play during your move include temporary storage and new cleaning supplies for clearing out your old place. Remember that some of these items are tax deductible if moving for a new job or to take a course. There are certain restrictions (for example, your new job has to be at least 50 miles farther from your previous residence than your new job is.) You can check your eligibility here.

Additional Resources: If you ever fall into debt after big purchases like a move you can contact a company that offers credit repair services to help you get back on track financially.

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