Moving is a stressful and expensive event in your life, but it's often worth it if you're relocating for a better job, to a better school district or into your dream house. The typical costs of moving vary by location, whether you hire movers and how much stuff you have to move -- these costs can range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars -- but the same types of costs exist in nearly any move.
Packing your items yourself is time consuming, but it is more cost-effective than trying to pay your movers to pack for you. You need to buy moving boxes in different sizes, packing tape, bubble wrap and packing paper. Most box-supply stores and home improvement stores allow you to return any unused boxes for a refund, so buy more than you think you need to save you trips to the store while packing.
Renting a truck and moving yourself is usually saves you money over hiring movers. Ask friends to help you move heavy items, like appliances and big furniture. Renting a hand truck or appliance dolly can help you move the large, unwieldy items without much lifting. Ask the rental company about renting furniture quilts as well to keep your items from getting scratched, stained or torn during the move. Be sure to add the cost of gas into your moving budget; rental trucks aren't very fuel efficient, and you normally need to return them with the same amount of gas the vehicle had when you left the rental company.
If you decide to hire movers, try to negotiate a flat fee for the move instead of an hourly rate, just in case the movers take longer than expected. Allow the moving company to come and inspect your home to see exactly what needs to be moved for a more accurate quote. Moving in the middle of the month or in the off-season, usually the winter, can give you extra negotiating power.
If you're moving out of a rented apartment or house, you may be required to pay a fee to break your lease. Some might require you to pay a cleaning fee as well. For your new house, you likely must pay a deposit for renting or a down payment if you're buying. If you're buying a used home, you might want to have it professionally cleaned before moving in. If you're moving to a new city without a home lined up, prepare to pay to store your belongings -- a service offered by many moving companies -- and for temporary housing, such as an extended-stay hotel. Also, talk to your utilities about transferring service, or starting new service, both of which may incur additional fees.
Whether you're moving across town in a day or across the country over several weeks, you'll likely spend more on eating out than you typically would. You may choose paper plates and plastic utensil once you've packed your dishes and microwave meals after packing your pots and pans. While you're packing, moving and unpacking, your kitchen and your attitude may not be conducive to cooking, so work extra money in your budget for take-out food or eating in restaurants for convenience.
Based outside Atlanta, Ga., Shala Munroe has been writing and copy editing since 1995. Beginning her career at newspapers such as the "Marietta Daily Journal" and the "Atlanta Business Chronicle," she most recently worked in communications and management for several nonprofit organizations before purchasing a flower shop in 2006. She earned a BA in communications from Jacksonville State University.