How to Create a Realistic Moving Budget

By Jesus Sanchez Garcia | June 29, 2023

High angle shot of young couple discussing moving budget and housing plans

All products and services featured are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Creating a budget may not be the most exciting part of moving, but this step is crucial to ensuring a smooth and stress-free transition. Whether you’re planning a quick local move or a complicated cross-country relocation, it’s important to account for every expense. In this article, we’ll walk you through how to create a realistic moving budget that includes everything from obtaining packing materials to hiring professional moving services. We even provide a budgeting template to get you started.



Determine Your Moving Inventory

Creating a moving budget should be high on your moving checklist, but it’s not the first step. Before diving into financial considerations, take the time to inventory your belongings. A detailed moving inventory will help you decide what size moving truck or container you’ll need for a DIY move. If you decide to hire professional movers, having this inventory ready will help you obtain an accurate quote.

To create your moving inventory, go room to room and make a list of all the items you plan to bring with you to your new home. Organize the list into categories, such as furniture and electronics. Make note of any particularly fragile, valuable, or heavy items that may require special handling.

Declutter as you go. If you run across any items you no longer want or need, consider selling or donating them. Whether you hire professional movers or go the DIY route, paring down your belongings will save you time and money on moving day. Less stuff means a smaller truck or storage unit, fewer packing supplies, and lower moving costs.



Assess Your Moving Expenses

Once you have your moving inventory, use it to assess your needs and expenses. We’ve listed the most common moving expenses below:



Create Your Moving Budget

Follow these steps to create a realistic budget for your move.

We’ve included a moving budget template below. Yours can be as simple or as detailed as you’d like. At a minimum, you need two columns: one for expense categories and one for estimated costs. You can add or remove subcategories to suit your needs. You might also include a “notes” column to keep track of due dates, receipts, confirmation numbers, and other important payment details.

Graphic of a moving budget template



Our Recommendation

Creating a realistic moving budget takes time and research, but it is well worth the effort. A detailed budget and moving inventory will empower you to make informed decisions and avoid unpleasant surprises. Be thorough and tailor the template above to fit the specifics of your move. Then, track your actual expenses, make adjustments, and keep an eye out for cost-saving opportunities.



Moving Budget FAQ

How do I financially prepare for a move?

Follow these steps to financially prepare for a move:Start planning and saving well in advance.Assess your finances and create a moving budget.Declutter and downsize to save money.Compare quotes from multiple providers to find the best deal.Review insurance policies and purchase additional coverage if needed.Build up an emergency fund to cover unexpected expenses.

What are the best ways to save and earn extra money for a move?

Here are the best ways to save and earn extra money for a move:Cash in rewards points or use member discounts.Cut back on discretionary spending for a few months.Look for freelance opportunities.Rent out space in your home.Sell items you no longer need or want.Start a side hustle in your free time.Take a temporary, seasonal, or part-time job.

What are some common moving expenses that people forget to include in their budget?

Here are some common moving expenses that people forget to include in their budgets:Cleaning servicesFees for specialty itemsHousehold essentialsMoving insuranceNew or replacement itemsPacking materialsTips for the moversTravel expensesUtility connection fees