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8 Unexpected Expenses You’ll Encounter During a Move

Jon Fesmire | October 26, 2017 @ 9:00 AM

Even if you plan a move perfectly, you may run into unexpected expenses. These can add up quickly. Ideally, you’ll have money saved up in case of emergencies. If you’re not moving yet, but think you might in the next few months or so, start saving now!

Here are some potentially unexpected costs associated with moving.

Storage Costs

You may not realize it when you first start planning your move, but you may need to rent a self storage unit. Not everyone needs to do this, but it can help immensely in creating a smoother, less rushed move.

There are two main ways that using a self storage unit can help. Suppose you need to be out of your current house or apartment in two weeks, but you can’t move into your new place for another month. You’ve arranged to stay with a friend for the two missing weeks, but you can’t bring all your belongings to their home, and it would be much too expensive and inconvenient to rent a truck to keep your things in for that period of time. Rent a local self storage unit, and move your things into it. Get a friend or two to help with your larger items. Clean out your old place, stay with your friend, and when you’re allowed to move to your new place, rent a truck, unpack your storage unit, and go. You could even leave some things behind and get them over the next few weeks after you move in before closing out your storage contract.

The other main use can be done in your destination city. Let’s say that on moving day, you have friends or movers helping. You get the truck packed, and in a few hours arrive at your new place. You then get the furniture and various necessities into the house: your television set, your computer, your kitchen appliances, and so on. However, you know that, with your busy life, it will take time to get all your boxes unpacked. You can drive those to a local self storage facility, rent a unit, and keep them there. Every few days, go there, pick up a few boxes, bring them home, and unpack them. You’ll keep your house from looking like a storage unit itself.

You May Need Movers

It’s completely understandable that you will want to save money, and you may plan to do most of the moving yourself, or with help from family and friends. However, you might find it more work than you expected. You may find yourself busy with work, and realize that you overestimated your ability to handle a move on top of that. You may suffer an injury, even a minor one, that precludes you from lifting boxes.

In that case, you may find it necessary to hire a moving company. Fortunately, they can do most or all of the work for you, depending on what you can afford. Compare prices, read their reviews, and pick what will work best for you.

Temporary Lodging

Unexpected things happen when driving to a new home, especially if you’re crossing many states. You may run into bad, unexpected traffic or weather. You may get lost, even with GPS, and end up driving far out of your way. You may face other delays.

This can add a day or more to your trip, which means additional lodging. You may also need to change your reservations at hotels on your way, if you’ve planned your lodging ahead.

Replacement Items

When moving, even if you and everyone are as careful as you can be, even if you do your best to secure items in the truck, things can break. Those can be small things, like drinking glasses, or big things, like your television set. All you can do is your best, but realize that you might have to replace something.

Housing Costs

Whether you’re buying a new place or renting, keep in mind that you’ll likely have to pay more in your first month than just your first month’s rent or your first month’s mortgage. If renting, you’ll have a deposit. If buying, you may have closing costs to pay. If buying, your real estate agent should make it clear what your obligations are, and if renting, your new landlord or apartment manager will let you know.


Of course, you will have utility costs in your new place, as you did in your old one. Know what your landlord pays, and what you pay. There are also often activation costs associated with utilities, such as gas and electricity. This could cost you several hundred dollars up-front.

Lost Wages

Ideally, you’ll be able to move without missing out on any of your work wages. Perhaps you’ve gotten a new job, and they’re paying for much of your move. Or, perhaps you have vacation time saved up, and you’re using some of it for your move. This is just something else to keep in mind when planning your move.

Restocking Groceries

If you’re just moving across town, it’s easy to move the food in your fridge and cupboards. However, if you’re moving much farther, you will need to restock much of your food. Plan on a major grocery trip after you’ve started moving in.

Anticipate what expenses you can, and have money set aside for those that you can’t. That way, even when you do have to spend an extra night in a hotel or replace your office chair, you’ll still be able to settle in happily to your new place.

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