Couple moving boxes

The Finances Of Moving

Dominic LoBianco5-Minute Read
December 16, 2021

Moving is stressful. Whether it’s across town or across the country, it requires logistical planning, patience and usually quite a bit of money.

More often than not, one of the biggest concerns associated with packing your things and moving onward is the cost. Can you afford to hire movers? Can you do it yourself? Are there incentives available to the public that can ease the financial burden? In many cases, even when people make moves on their own, cost piles up quicker than they’d like.

It’s crucial you know exactly how much various services charge beforehand, as well as whether or not you may be able to get financial help for your efforts. If minimizing the finances associated with moving while maximizing the value of what you pay for is a priority, here are some valuable tips to consider.

Categories To Consider

A move should be categorized in three different ways: time, money and stress. Finding the right balance among these three categories is the surefire way to make this transition as smooth as possible.

For example, if your family of four has to orchestrate a move completely on your own, you may save on the cost of hiring a moving company, but not without spending a great deal more time packing all of your things. Plus, there’s the stress of ensuring you’ve accounted for all the logistics along the way. On the other hand, by hiring a moving company, you have to fork up more money on the front end, but you can rest easy knowing your belongings are in the hands of professionals.

Below are the most common things people will spend money on during a move:

  • Moving truck
  • Professional movers
  • Protective packaging
  • Insurance for damaged items

Moving Costs Calculated

For some people, moving costs might be minimal, especially if their move is local and they have friends and family available to help shoulder the load. However, if you’re moving into a larger home or moving to another state, costs are likely to increase substantially.

On average, it costs around $500 for a local move to an apartment to as much as $1,500 if moving into a larger home. More than likely, a move will require a decision whether to rent a moving truck, hire a full-service moving company or even rent a portable moving container.

Again, these costs can vary tremendously. For example, renting a truck for a local move may only cost $50, while using a full-service moving company for a cross-country move may cost $10,000 or more. Luckily, resources from major moving companies range from relocation guides for big cities to toolbars that help you calculate cost depending on your living space.

The DIY Move

Even if you can call upon a group of friends to help, it’s imperative to think this through very carefully.

Along with the distance, there are many factors to consider, including time to complete the job, costs of a moving truck (including gas) and the value of your possessions. While you may be able to lessen the financial stress if you coordinate the move on your own, you must also consider the opportunity cost of the time, effort and stress of doing it all on your own. If you are intent on getting through the process without help, consider getting boxes from local liquor stores to store your belongings. Another couple of ideas are storing your heaviest belongings in suitcases and wrapping expensive dishes or china in your shirts to preserve them.

What About Your Vehicle?

If moving locally, using your own vehicle is typically is not a huge concern. However, when people start planning a move to another state or across the country, one thing they often fail to take into consideration is what to do with their cars.

While the obvious answer is to have someone drive the vehicle there, this is often easier said than done. What if you have concerns about your car or truck making the distance? What about additional gas costs? With long-distance moves, logistics typically become an issue. Therefore, you'll likely have two choices. If you’re doing a DIY move, you can add a car trailer to hook up behind your rental truck. But if you’re hiring professionals to be responsible for your items, you'll probably want to hire professionals to ship your vehicle as well.

If you do, expect to pay an average of $950. Some shudder at the thought of paying so much; however, you'll reap the benefits of having experienced movers who can take care of your car, without having to worry about the liability of it getting there.

Job Relocation

Although employers are under no obligation to pay moving expenses for new hires or current hires pursuing relocation, many will do so in an effort to attract and retain excellent employees. However, even if your employer doesn’t offer relocation assistance as standard practice, you can often get this included when negotiating the terms of your offer letter.

What Can Be Included In Job Relocation Packages?

Whether you’re offered a relocation package or you negotiate one on your own with an employer, many different things may be included. One of the most important will be the costs associated with traveling to your new location to find suitable housing, which should always include transportation and lodging expenses.

Along with this, many packages will also include closing costs, real estate commissions, and other expenses associated with selling your previous home and purchasing your new home. Finally, if your new employer is extremely generous or simply will do whatever it takes to ensure you join their company, you may also find them willing to cover the cost of temporary housing, moving company expenses, and even the costs associated with breaking a lease at your previous home.

State Moving Incentives

Should you feel it’s time for a change in your life and you decide you want to move elsewhere to pursue new career opportunities, there are many cities and states across the U.S. that will actually pay you to move to their locations. In some instances, they will provide financial aid associated with all costs ranging from expenses associated with buying a new home to helping you pay off your student loans.

For example, if you'd like to relocate to Niagara Falls, New York, the city's Downtown Housing Incentive Program will pay new residents as much as $7,000 toward student loan payments. Also, if you'd like to live in Baltimore, Maryland, and take a job with the city, the Baltimore City Employee Homeownership Incentive Program will give you $5,000 to buy a home. Whether you move to these locations or other areas such as Detroit, New Haven, Connecticut, or anywhere in the state of Alaska, you’ll find numerous incentives offered to make your move much easier and affordable.

While moving across town or across the country can be challenging, it may turn out to be far easier than you anticipated. By doing your homework beforehand and not being afraid to seek out assistance offers from employers or cities, chances are the finances of moving will be more favorable than you ever imagined.

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Dominic LoBianco

Dominic LoBianco is a content contributor on behalf of SMARTBOX Moving and Storage. Dominic creates multimedia content on a wide array of topics and themes.