Money·3 min read

Making Moves? How to Budget If You’re Relocating to a New City

accessibility, woman unloading her trunk
Design: theSkimm | Photo: iStock
May 24, 2022

Sometimes, you just need a fresh start. Just ask all the retirees moving to rural America. Or the New Yorkers heading to South Florida. If you can relate, here’s how much you’ll need to make your move.

Wait. Is relocating even a good idea?

Good question. Before you start calculating costs, consider if the move you want to make will give you a return on your investment. Not just financially, but emotionally. Think: How’s the quality of life in the new city? Because loneliness can be tough. 

And if you’re switching jobs, check the salary for your industry in the new city before you make a major move. And don’t forget to think about your new cost of living. Hi, lifestyle creep.

How much will moving cost?

That depends. Are you planning to take the DIY route? Or will you hire professionals? If you’re leaning toward hiring help, Home Advisor says you should set aside about $1,600.

What will I have to pay for when I’m moving?

Before you build the budget for settling into your new place, you’ll need to create a budget for the costs related to making the transition. Here’s what to include on your checklist:

  • Boxes, tape, and other packing materials

  • Labor costs for professional movers, or rental costs for a truck if you take the DIY route

  • The remaining utility balance at your current home

  • Storage unit fees

  • Security deposit for your new place

  • Gas or airfare

Any tips for cutting moving costs?

Of course. Here are a few ways you can keep your moving costs within your budget:

Shop around.

A few months in advance, start gathering quotes from moving companies to find the best deal.

Be flexible.

Spring and summer are peak moving seasons, which means a fall or winter move may save a few dollars. Psst…most moves happen on the weekends, so going with a weekday move may also help shave costs.

Ask about discounts.

Lots of moving companies offer military, employee, or student discounts. Look for one that does, if you qualify.

See if your (new) boss will help.

If you’re moving for a job, it’s possible your new employer could help with relocation. Some companies offer to cover the entire cost of the move while others give a flat rate. If not, see if you can negotiate for reimbursement of your moving expenses. 

Should I just DIY my move?

Moving on your own is always an option. But, remember, that option may come with a lot more stress and hard work. 


Before you make a big move, get your budget ready for the extra costs. And not just the cost of your new place. You'll have a few transitional costs, too.But planning ahead can help you save.

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