Avoid These Hidden Costs Associated with Moving

Jon Fesmire | November 5, 2018 @ 8:00 AM

Moving is a pain in so many ways. It’s physically difficult, it takes time and planning, and it’s expensive. Even when you’re careful, you will probably end up more sore, more stressed, and more broke at the end than you expected.

Fortunately, there are ways to avoid hidden costs associated with moving. Here’s how to to just that:


In the best case scenario, you’ll have a group of friends who have the time and the desire to help you move. If that’s not the case, you’ll have to hire movers.

Hiring movers can cost thousands of dollars, and the farther you’re moving, they more they can cost if they’re driving any of your things to your destination.

To save money, have the movers do only what you absolutely need them for. You can do the packing, driving, and unpacking. They can put your boxes and other belongings in the truck and unload them at your destination.


Depending on how far you’re moving, you may need lodging during your move. Avoid going over budget on this by making reservations at hotels before you leave, that way you can be sure to find the cheapest lodging along the way.

Once you’re at the hotel or motel, avoid additional hidden costs associated with lodging. These could include the price of renting a movie, having to pay for items from the mini-bar, the price of meals, and the price of any souvenirs.


If you live in an area where gas prices are comparatively low, you may be in for a shock as you move. An extra $1.00 per gallon can feel like a hidden and unexpected cost. Do some research online to check what the gas prices are along the way, and assume that the highest price you find will be the average price.

For each vehicle, you can then estimate how much gas will cost. For example, if your car gets an average of 20 miles per gallon and you’re traveling 1,000 miles, that comes to 50 gallons needed. Let’s say you estimate the price per gallon to be $3.50. Multiply that by 50 gallons, and you’re looking at about $175 for gas for the one vehicle. Do this for the truck and any other vehicle making the move.


During any move, especially a long one, you want things to go smoothly. One area where hidden costs can really add up is if you suffer some sort of delay. This could be due to an accident, roadwork, health issues, or simply turning the wrong way. Unexpected car problems could mean you have to pay for repairs, stay in a hotel for extra nights, and pay for more food. This can easily add up to $1,000 or more.

Before you travel, we recommend you take each vehicle in to a service shop you trust. Yes, it may cost upwards of $100 to have a mechanic look it over and make sure it’s topped off on liquids, but that’s better than spending thousands because of a breakdown.

Lost Income

Another hidden expense that you may feel quickly is lost income if you or another wage earner in your household has to take unpaid time off work. You’ll want to either save extra money if this is inevitable, or find a way to move around work. If one member of your household has to work and come out later, have them do that. If you have vacation days saved up, use them. In some cases, it may even be possible to work flexible hours during the move and to telecommute.

New Home Fees

Whether you’re moving into a new home, there are various fees associated with moving in that can take you by surprise. These might include an application fee and security deposit, the price of a home inspection and closing costs in the case of purchasing a home. Starting up your utilities can run you extra money, too, as cable, electric, and gas companies usually various fees associated with new services.

New Household Items

For various reasons, you may want to replace some of your furniture when you get to your new home. Your old furniture may not fit the environment, or pieces may have broken on the way. Depending on the sort of furniture you want and where you plan to get it, this can end up costing anywhere from under a hundred dollars to a few thousand.

Ways you can save money include packing furniture securely in the truck so they don’t shift and take damage, or painting or refurbishing current items to better match your home.

Restocking the Pantry

Unless you’re moving a short distance, you won’t be able to bring much of your food to the new place, aside from perhaps some canned goods. Keep in mind that you will need enough money for groceries.

Plan ahead, save money for your move, and save money where you can. While you should expect moving to be expensive, if you can save here and there, you’ll be glad you did.

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