How To Budget For Moving

Be prepared to make the moving process as smooth as possible

Looking for free or cost-effective moving boxes is one way to save money when moving into a new place.

You’ve found a new home – congratulations! Moving into a new place is very exciting, but can feel overwhelming. Packing up all your belongings and bringing them to a new location takes a lot of coordination.

If you have a plan, you can effectively budget your move. Depending on how far you’re going, moving can cost anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars. Follow these easy steps to be prepared for your next move.

Step 1: Take Inventory

Before you start moving, you need to know what’s coming with you. Even if it’s not spring, it might be best to do some cleaning. You may need to summon your inner Marie Kondo and do some purging of old, unwanted items too. When you move, you realize how much stuff you have, and how much you can really do without. If something isn’t worth moving, try selling it or giving it away to someone else.

Go room by room and write down everything going with you. Think about what kind of equipment you need to move. If you don’t have that equipment (e.g. furniture mover straps, dolly, hand trolley), add it to your budget to rent, buy or borrow. If you are hiring movers, ask whether they provide this equipment as part of their service cost.

Step 2: Moving Yourself vs. Hiring Professionals

This is one of the biggest questions when it comes to moving: do it yourself (perhaps with help from friends or family) or hire professional help?

To make this decision, you’ll need to think about several factors. Do you have the resources (people, equipment, vehicles, time, etc.) to move yourself? What are the rates for different moving companies? Do they match prices?

The time of year you move also affects your options for professional movers. Rates tend to be higher in the warmer months because more people are moving then. Moving during the winter months could save you some money – just don’t forget your toque and gloves.

Step 3: Estimate Costs

Now it’s time to lay everything out on a piece of paper or a spreadsheet and see what you’ll spend to get everything into your new place. Whether hiring professionals or going the DIY route, consider budgeting for transportation, lodging and additional storage if necessary.

If you’re moving yourself, consider costs like a truck rental, gas, moving insurance, furniture insurance, renting or buying additional moving equipment and packing materials (boxes, tape, stuffing, etc.).

If you’re hiring professional movers, consider costs like moving fees, packing services, moving insurance, specialty item packaging services (like pianos, safes, artwork, etc.) and unpacking services. Depending on the extent of your move, there may also be hidden costs like damages or claims, meals and tips.

Step 4: Track All Expenses

As you purchase little, everyday items or bigger purchases like booking a professional mover, make sure to keep track of them all. Keep the receipts if you can. Expenses add up quickly, and losing track of some purchases will leave you wondering where that extra money went after you move.

It’s important to track your expenses because you can deduct the cost of moving on your annual income tax return, which can give you some extra bucks at tax time.

Look for ways to save money during the move, like selling unwanted items online using platforms like Facebook Marketplace or Kijiji. You can often find free boxes at retail and grocery stores – just remember to call ahead and start collecting them early. You can also save money by asking friends to lend a hand.

Some other costs you’ll want to consider are cleaning your old home, childcare, pet care, houseplant care, taking time off work and transferring your utilities. Have an emergency fund ready in case you forget anything else. Plan these things in advance so you don’t have to deal with it on the day of your move.

The cost of moving is often forgotten when buying or renting a new place. Don’t let the unexpected cost throw you off. Moving is much easier when you’re prepared and know what to expect.

Now that you’re ready to budget for a move, check out our available properties on our Properties page.

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