Plan for These Hidden Expenses When You Move

Planning on moving soon? Moving a three-bedroom house typically costs between $600 and $1,000 for a local move. If you’re planning a long-distance move, be prepared to spend between $3,400 and $4,100. Ouch. And while it’s easy to foresee a lot of the expenses you’ll encounter, like hiring a truck or shelling out for a full-service moving company, when you’re planning the budget for the move, many smaller expenses can crop up along the way. When you add these up, they can bust the most carefully planned budget. So, keep these hidden expenses in mind as you plan your move.


Getting utilities established at your new place can be quite costly. Many utility companies now pull your credit report and consider your payment history and credit score when you apply for new service. If you don’t meet specific creditworthiness metrics within their system, you can be required to deposit up to $500. And it’s not just people with imperfect credit who are required to make deposits: Young people and others with little credit history are also often required to put down deposits.

In addition, many utilities require connection fees before turning on your service. And sure, if you already have utilities in your name at your current address, you’ll get those deposits back (minus any outstanding balances), but you’ll get that money well after you need to set up service for your new home.

If you’re making a local move, don’t just assume that you’ll have the same utility companies: Even moving just a few blocks can change the options that are available to you. Do a little research to figure out which companies cover your new home, and if you have more than one option for a service, compare to see which offers the best value.

Also, make sure that you’ve taken into account all of the services you’ll need: Many former apartment-dwellers who only had to pay for electricity at their old place are shocked to move into a house and suddenly be responsible for water, gas, trash pickup, etc. Some homes will also have oil or propane tanks that you’ll need to get filled if you want heat or hot water. Do your due diligence and figure out what setting all of this up will cost.

Replacement Household Goods

There are certain items people hesitate to move, like mops, brooms, toilet brushes, cleaning supplies, and garbage cans. A lot of people choose to start fresh when it comes to these items, but even if you don’t, if you’re moving into a larger place, you’ll probably need more of these things anyway. Individually, they’re quite cheap, but replacing all of them for an entire household can add up fast. So set money aside for fresh cleaning supplies, garbage cans, and the like. Keep an eye out for coupons and special deals as you prepare to move; this is an excellent area to save a little money.

Packing Supplies

When packing up a two-bedroom apartment, you can expect to spend $73 to $100 on moving boxes. You can save money on boxes by asking for them at liquor stores or grocery stores (banana boxes are particularly sturdy!). If you work in an office, you can also ask for the copy paper boxes, which are the perfect size and strength to pack most household items. However, most people still end up needing boxes. Have an expensive flat-screen television? There’s a special box for that. And if you own breakable items, you’re also going to want bubble wrap to protect them during the move. Also, remember that you’ll need tape and markers to close and label your boxes properly.

Travel Expenses

Here’s a little secret about moving: Unless you’re moving next door, you’re going to incur travel expenses during the move. Even if you’re staying in the same town, you’ll need to drive back and forth between the two places to move your stuff, which means you’ll need extra gas money. Also, remember that moving also means more eating out. Sure, everyone expects a pizza delivery the day of the move to thank your helpers, but in the days and nights leading up to the move, many people find themselves making quick fast-food runs, either because they’re short on time to cook or because their dishes are already packed in a box. Long-distance moves will be even more expensive: You’ll spend more money on gas, more on eating out, and money on lodging in between places, too.


Do you have to be out of your current place before you can move into your new home? If so, you’re going to need storage. If you’re using a moving company, ask about their short-term storage solutions. Otherwise, start looking for a storage unit you can rent to park your things. Packing for storage is different from packing for a move: You’ll need to be extra-careful about packing breakables and about how boxes are stacked. This means you’ll probably end up spending more money on packing supplies, too. Plan on spending between $40 and $255 a month for storage, depending on the size of the unit you need.


Your first grocery shopping trip after moving can feel completely overwhelming. You’ve been packing, moving, cleaning, and unpacking for what feels like forever, and now, you’re faced with empty cupboards and the need to get your life back on some sort of routine schedule, which probably means feeding the people who live in your home. Luckily, there’s help for planning your first significant grocery haul in your new place, but there’s not help for how to pay for it all, especially considering that it might cost two or three times what you usually spend at the store.

To minimize your grocery bill, as you get ready to leave your old house, stop buying all but the most necessary groceries, and concentrate on using up all of the food you have on hand. Save the money you aren’t spending on groceries to cushion the blow of that first trip after the move, and set aside a bit more than that in your moving budget to stock your new kitchen.

Unexpected Mishaps

There’s another category of moving costs that’s harder to plan for because it’s not a routine thing you can expect: That’s when a move goes wrong. Imagine packing up your moving van with every single thing you own, setting out for the office of the mortgage company to sign the paperwork for your new home, and finding that a storm has knocked out power and made the roads impassable. Now, you’re stuck with the cost of the van rental for another day. Or maybe the movers cause problems: Perhaps you’ve hired a moving company, but the morning of your move, their truck gets into an accident and they don’t show up. Now, you’ll have to scramble to hire new movers, probably at a higher cost. Budget a cushion to take care of these sorts of emergencies.

Moving comes with so many unknowns, some of which can be very expensive. To help make ends meet, it is important to understand all of the alternative lending options that may be available to you, should a traditional bank loan not be your best choice. Title loans and personal loans may be options to help you manage sudden and unexpected needs related to your move, including home repairs necessary for safe occupancy.

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