By Jeff Walker
When most people think of the cost of moving, they generally think about the move itself. The truck, the labor, packing expense and tip are the primary focus of the move. But what about the expenses nobody talks about? After your household goods are packed up and on the way to your new home, you now have to worry about getting yourself there as well. These are the hidden costs of moving.
Planes, Trains and Automobiles
Depending on your circumstance, you may choose to drive yourself or have a car transport company move your vehicle. Choosing the latter means you’ve got to find some way of getting yourself to your new home. Rather than placing wear and tear on your own vehicle, it’s not uncommon for someone to rent a car to get them to their new destination.
Another option would be to travel by plane or train. Again, if you’ve chosen to have a company transport your vehicle, you might decide to get to your new home by air. Air travel is the quickest way to get to your new home, but not necessarily the cheapest. You’ll also need to consider that you will probably arrive well before your vehicle does and make plans on how to get around once you’re at your new home, another added expense. If travelling by train, you should not only figure in the cost of the fare and any meals you have while on board, but the amount of time that it will take you to get to your destination. Keep in mind that the shortest trip from New York to Los Angeles is almost three days at a cost of approximately $1,100 for one person, one way. If you’re going this route, it should be a planned expense, as should the cost of the transport company moving your vehicle.
No matter how you get to your new home, assuming you’re like the rest of us, you will have to eat. While it’s tempting to keep your meals to a minimum expense, you may decide burgers and fries are getting old halfway through your trip. Try to budget a little extra for a nice meal once in a while, just to break the monotony.
Budgeting for meals will depend a lot on who’s with you, whether it’s just you, you and your spouse or your family of five. If you have teenagers, expect that your meals are going to cost you quite a bit more than if you had small children. On average, you can go from cheap, about $9 per meal at a fast food restaurant all the way up to $20 or even $40 a plate at a nicer restaurant. Try to figure out how many days until you can get into your new home, multiply that by 3 meals per day, and again by how many people you’re feeding, assuming your average meal is going to cost around $15 per person per meal. For example, let’s say you have 3 children, your spouse and yourself. You know that it will be 10 days before you can be in your new home. Using this example, you’ll want to budget about $225 just for food! That’s $15 per person, per meal, per day (5 people x 3 meals x10 days=225). This is just an example and you may need to look more closely at where you’ll be staying, as larger populated areas tend to be more expensive.
If you do opt to drive yourself, be sure to budget for Gas. There’s a neat little app out there called “Gas Buddy” that can tell you the current prices for gas at just about any location in the country. Using this program, you can take the time to come up with the best prices for gas as you make your way across the country. Make sure you take into account that gas prices can fluctuate daily and budget in a little bit more than you initially anticipate in case gas prices suddenly spike.
Hotels, Motels and More
The nice thing about having the internet, is this is one area of your trip in which you can take out the question marks. Being able to schedule your stops and hotels online will not only help you plan your trip, but you’ll know what the cost of your stay will be ahead of time. Almost all hotels and motels worth their stay will have an online presence where you can book your room and find out your final bill before you ever stay the night. Make sure you use a good, reputable review site like Trip Advisor so you can get plenty of feedback from other guests who’ve stayed there before you, and that way you’ll know what you’re getting into. The last thing you want to do is walk into a bedbug infestation and take it home with you!
For some of us, the trip isn’t just about getting there, but enjoying the journey itself. Take some time to plot out some points of interest that are fun and exciting for your family. Never been to the Grand Canyon? Now’s the time to do it. You may never have this chance again!
Before leaving home, make sure you take the time to research some of your travel destinations. Find out if there is an entry fee and if you’ll be purchasing food once inside, see if you can’t find out how much and budget ahead of time.
It’s often hard to tell what will crop up during any type of travel, but it’s best to have an emergency fund available in case something happens. If the car breaks down or someone gets hurt during that hike you’ll be taking in the Grand Canyon, you’ll be glad you set some money aside to make sure the problem doesn’t balloon into an even bigger problem.
Saving your receipts during your move can save you money down the road. Some moves can be used as tax deductions and many items can add up to big deductions. There are restrictions on what you can and cannot deduct, but it’s a good idea to save those receipts and let your accountant sort it out. Make sure you set aside an envelope in which you can place your receipts as you go. That way they’re all in one place when you need them.
Budgeting for a move can be tricky, but it will be even trickier if you don’t know what you’re in for ahead of time. Taking the time to think about your trip and what may be involved will save you time, money and headaches down the road.
Don’t see an expense listed here that you think should be? Let us know on our Comments page so we can add it!