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Chapter 3:

Planning Your Moving Budget

How much will it cost?

That would probably be question number one a person planning to move would ask.

The cost of moving is not a simple question. Whether your employer is paying for your relocation, or you plan to cover it from your own pocket - the following topics will help you better understand the financial side of moving:

1.     Budgeting your move

2.     How to save on your move

3.     Getting the right estimate

4.     Tipping the movers

5.     Deducting moving expenses from your taxes



Budgeting your move

It is important to establish a budget for moving expenses as soon as you decide to move. List all the expenses that might occur before, during, and after the move. If you decide to hire a professional moving company you need to estimate the cost of your move.

The cost of moving when you hire a professional mover depends on several factors:


You should expect paying more for your move during peak times. Moving industry is usually busier during:


When planning the budget for your move, don't forget additional costs that you might incur. Those costs include:

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How to save on your move

Here are some tips on how to save on your move:

Self Movers: The more work you are willing to do, the less your move will cost. For instance, if you are willing to pack and load and unload your belongings onto and off of the truck, there are movers who will handle the driving and will charge you considerably less than a full-service mover who will handle all the aspects of you move from packing and loading to driving and unloading.

Cash Back Bonuses: Credit cards or bank accounts with cash back bonuses can help save you money on your move.

Moving Supplies: You can reduce the cost of your move by saving on moving supplies. Here are some suggestions:

Own Packing: You can reduce the cost of your move by doing your own packing. Consider a "you pack, we drive" arrangement, in which you pack boxes, and the moving company loads, moves, and unloads your belongings. Make sure you study the Packing Tips section of the moving guide.

Flexibility: You can save on your move if you don't mind to wait for your belongings for a while. Moving companies sometimes give significant cost reductions if they can short-term-store and consolidate your moving items with other customers' belongings.

Get Rid of Things: Save on your move by eliminating as much as possible. Walk through your home carefully in advance with an eye toward finding things you really don't need or want. Your house probably contains a lot of things that you no longer use, and have probably even forgotten about. Whether the cost of your move is going to be based on weight or time, it will cost you to move things you can really do without. 

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Getting the right estimate

The charges for local moves are usually based on labor time while long distance moves are charged based on weight and distance. In addition to those charges most moving companies have additional charges for various services. Make sure to check with your mover what additional charges might apply to your move.

Additional Charges: Moving companies might charge additional fees for various services they provide during the move. Those fees might include:

Make sure to check with your mover what additional charges might apply to your move. Always demand a written contract covering all the details of the service. The contract should include:


Make sure you get estimates from several moving companies. It is free, so take advantage of it. Quotes given over the telephone and the Internet are difficult for a mover to guarantee.

Binding and Non-Binding Estimates: There are mainly two types of moving estimates: binding and non-binding. In most cases you would prefer to have a binding estimate for your move. Find out how binding is each estimate you get from movers.

Visual Estimate: To properly estimate your job professional mover needs to see exactly what has to be moved. It might be a good idea to ask for a free on-site estimate before engaging with a moving company. Get several online or phone estimates and 2-3 on-site estimates before you choose a mover.

When getting an estimate, make sure to mention all the items to be moved for an accurate assessment. Make sure that you show the estimator EVERYTHING you plan to take. Don't forget to look in the basement, closets, garage, attic, garden, etc.

Be certain that the estimator has marked all items that are "going" and "not going" on the survey sheet. Keep in mind that if you decide to take more items than you mentioned during on-site estimate the total cost of your move will probably change, even if the estimate was binding.

The estimator will prepare an estimate that will include transportation charges based on the list of items you mentioned and the charges of additional services that you requested. Inform the moving company of any changes with your shipment. Effective communication is a key factor for a successful move.

Don't rush to book with the company that gives you the lowest estimate. It'll be easy to discard high estimates but should you receive an estimate that is substantially lower than the others, inquire as to why. Perhaps the move estimator didn't see a piece of heavy machinery such as the washing machine in the basement. If he did and he sticks by his estimate, ask him to make it binding and to put it in writing.

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   4. Tipping the movers

   5. Deducting moving expenses from your taxes

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