How much does moving cost?

Moving is a stressful experience. Things need to be packed. Movers called. Services disconnected and reconnected. Mail forwarded. Cleaning…and cleaning…and more cleaning. And more stuff to pack! Nothing like a move to make you realize how much STUFF you have.

I moved at the beginning of August to be closer to work. I feel very strongly that commuting is a big drain on our society – in more ways then one. Not only the physical time that is spent walking to transit, waiting for transit, or driving in traffic down the freeway, but also the hidden costs. It goes without saying that commuting is unfortunately a stressful experience for many, especially those living in a large city with regular traffic issues. The toll it takes on us mentally can be seen in the road rage that causes accidents, and in the way we treat our colleagues and friends after a trying hour commute. There is also the inactivity component – sitting in a  car or on a bus for 2 hours per day, 5 days a week is a lot of time just…sitting.

But I digress!

When you add it all up, moving can definitely be expensive. Here are a couple things to consider next time you go house hunting:

  1. If you hire movers, they are ALWAYS going to be more than you expect. Whether that is due to time, or number of people, or miscellaneous charges, or something breaking….even if you are diligent, expect unexpected add ons. The price here can really vary depending on the quality of moving services you hire, how many people, how big your place is…budget anywhere from $300-$2000 for this.
  2. Moving supplies can really add up. Boxes, tape, labels, bags to cover mattresses, pens, moving blankets, floor protectors. Even if bought at the dollar store, expect to spend about $50-100 on miscellaneous supplies plus a couple of hundred on boxes. You can save money by buying supplies second hand on kijiji. If you of the environmentally friendly type, Ecobox is a great rental service where you pay for plastic containers to be dropped off and later picked up. I paid $94 for 25 boxes. Worth every penny.
  3. Changing your address comes with costs. Canada Post will want to charge you $50-150 for mail forwarding service. Your drivers license will need to be updated with the new address information for $22. The registration card for your car will need to be updated too for another $10. Then there is the cost of your time that will be required calling all the possible people who would send you mail, and providing an updated address.
  4. FOOD! Wait, what? Why is food a moving expense? Because believe me, hours of packing, organizing, phone calls, and cleaning leaves little time or energy for cooking. I ate out almost all my meals the days leading up to and around my moving day. That can add up. Budget about $10 per meal, for a few days, so let’s say $100 per person on the conservative side.
  5. Gas. You will be making multiple trips, even if you don’t originally intend to. Put $100 or so here depending on the distance between the old and new home.
  6. Thank you gifts! If you are lucky enough to have friends or family offer their help, don’t let it go unnoticed! A nice bottle of wine, pizza, a movie certificated. Whatever it is, make sure to thank the people who took the time out of their day to come and help you. Budget for this will depend on the number of people helping you, and your financial situation. Use your judgement. It’s the gesture that is most important.
  7. Pet services. If you have a very hyper dog, or several cats you are worried about losing, it may be a good idea to put them in a kennel on moving day, so that there is one less thing to worry about. If cost is an issue, see if a friend or neighbour will pet sit for the day.

So there you go. Things to consider on your next move!

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