Six Hidden Costs That Make Moving Even More Expensive
If you’re gearing up to move, you’ve probably already committed to paying for movers, budgeted for your new rent and security deposit, and mentally prepared to not get the last one back. But there are so many other sneaky ways that a move can end up costing more than you thought. Here are six hidden costs to factor into your next moving budget.
Unexpected pet costs
Pet deposits and pet rent aren’t the only costs that come with moving your animals to a new spot. Longer-distance moves in particular require spending a little extra money to accommodate your pets. These three hidden costs are common and easy to budget for:
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Airline fees: If you’re flying, expect to pay extra to carry your pet onboard with you—typically $100 or more. Different airlines have different policies and different fees, so shop around to make sure you’re getting the best deal.
Medications: As a general rule, pets don’t love long journeys by air or by road. Your vet will probably prescribe a sedative or anti-anxiety medication to help them cope with the stress.
Boarding: Depending on the circumstances of your move, you may prefer to board your pet for a few nights while you pack everything up and/or while you get settled in the new place. Scout out typical rates near your old or new homes to find a good deal.
A cleaning crew
Professional cleaners aren’t cheap, but they’re worth the money every single time. (Although if you’re moving out of a small apartment, they’re probably more affordable than you think.) The deep-clean phase of moving usually comes at the very end of the packing process, when you’re completely wiped and unable to do a good job anyway—so why not set aside some funds for a pro job? You’ll get a professionally cleaned apartment and the peace of mind that comes with it—and, hopefully, you’ll get the cost back in your security deposit.
Replacing stuff you threw out
Not everything can—or should—come with you when you move. Your grungy old toilet brush, shower curtain liner, expired over-the-counter meds, and probably half the stuff in your fridge and freezer belong right in the recycling bin, trash, or compost pile, not a moving box. Whatever necessities you end up ditching, be sure to leave room in your budget for at least one emergency Target run to replace them.
Whether you’re moving to the next zip code or the other side of the continental U.S., the process is completely exhausting. The last thing you’ll want to do on night one (or night two, or three) is unearth your kitchen equipment and whip up a meal. (And if you’re waiting on movers to deliver your stuff, you may not even have kitchen equipment to unearth in the first place.) Plan to get takeout for at least a couple of nights and save enough money to cover it—the last thing you need is stress about spending money you don’t have on takeout you badly need.
Driver’s license and vehicle registration fees
Moving to a new state? Don’t forget to factor a trip to the DMV into your budget. If you drive, you’ll need a new license, plates, and registration tags, which will easily run you a couple hundred bucks. Even if you don’t drive or own a car, you’ll still need a new state ID card. Be sure to look up how much these things cost in your new state so you know what to expect.
Sneaky moving company fees
If you can afford it, hiring movers is almost always money well spent: Professionals do the job faster, more safely, and more efficiently than you and two of your closest friends could ever dream of. With that said, some moving companies charge extra fees on top of their standard hourly rate for unusual or difficult cases. These four situations will usually cost extra:
Elevator use: If you’re moving to a high-rise building, your movers may charge you a fee for using the elevator.
Long carries: Multiple flights of stairs or extra-long carry distances may come with an extra charge.
Parking tickets: City dwellers, take note: If your movers park illegally to unload your stuff, you could be on the hook for any parking tickets they receive.
Large, heavy, and/or delicate items: Anything that’s particularly valuable or difficult to maneuver may cost extra.
The best way to avoid these charges is to know they exist so you can work them into your quote. Be sure to specifically mention any special circumstances to your movers and ask what additional fees they charge so you’re not hit with a surprise bill.
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