Tips for Keeping Hidden Moving Expenses in Check

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Moving is a common and sometimes unavoidable part of life. That doesn’t mean you have to unknowingly spend more money than necessary on moving expenses, though. There are plenty of expenses that can quickly add up, costing you much more than you anticipated.

In fact, the average cost of an intrastate move is $1,170, and the average move between states costs $5,630 (both numbers are based on an average weight of 7,100 pounds), per U.S. News & World Report: “Worldwide ERC, an association for professionals who work with employee transfers, places the number even higher: It says the cost of the average move within the U.S. is $12,459.”One thing’s for sure – moving is expensive, and it can cost you much more than you imagined possible. By knowing about some of the hidden costs, you can avoid several charges and save yourself some money.

1. Cheap movers

This often has the potential to cost you a lot more than you’d think. If you hear about a really low special, it’s time to be a little bit skeptical, according to U.S. News & World Report. Make sure you look into the details – are they charging by the hour? How many people are they bringing to help move your belongs? If they’re only sending one person, you could end up paying for a lot more hours than you expected, meaning that cheap rate could quickly end up costing you much more.

And if you’re paying a lot less than what other companies are charging, you might risk losing some of the cautiousness with your items that you’d hope to see with your movers. If a lot of your furniture gets banged up or even ruined in the moving process, it’s going to be pretty expensive to replace it.

2. Moving yourself

If you’re planning to drive a U-Haul to your new location, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, read the fine print of the contract you’ve signed for your moving vehicle carefully. “Does it say that you’re responsible for gas and tolls? Most movers try to sneak this clause into the contract, and unsuspecting customers don’t realize that they’re in for a surprise (gas for a moving truck isn’t cheap),” according to

If you want to ensure you won’t get stuck with these expenses, make sure you tell the moving company that up front, and you may be able to negotiate your way out of paying for extra gas and toll fees. But if you don’t mention anything and just sign the contract, there’s a good chance you’ll be stuck with those costs. Also, recommends asking your truck rental company about how many miles per gallon your rental gets. Take a little time to compare that with other companies, especially if you’re planning a long drive. Those gas prices could add up quickly.

3. Replacements

This is another item that has the potential to quickly add up. Think of all of the things you threw away when you were cleaning out your old place: spices, cleaning supplies, and items that may have been worn enough to leave behind. But you now have to replace all of those items. U.S. News & World Report says that items you may not have even considered replacing include “breaking and renewing gym contracts, [replacing] small appliances, especially for international moves when the voltage changes, pet transportation, additional luggage, bank charges for opening a new account, driver’s license fees…”

4. Packing labor and packing supplies

These are often expenses that people don’t think twice about. A full moving service often includes the packing materials and packing service. Sounds great, right? But these two are often not included in the estimated final cost of your move, writes My Moving Reviews. You end up paying for extra moving fees for the packing labor and boxes.

Sometimes, moving companies will pick out some of your items and say they need special packing materials and more packing boxes for added safety. You guessed it — that’ll cost you more. Make sure you look at your contract and figure out how much they’re going to charge for this stuff. If you don’t see it, make sure you ask the company. You have a right to know what you’re going to be paying.

5. Transfer fees

Even if you’re only moving a block or two away, you can still get hit with transfer fees, a frustrating but often realistic occurrence. “While discussing my service needs with the phone company, the representative informed me that to transfer phone service to my new location it would cost a whopping $235, not a charge I had anticipated. Thankfully, it’s a charge that gets split over three bills. I guess they realize their technician fee has a bit of a sticker shock, and they need to cushion that blow,” writes Wise Bread.

Also, be sure to take electricity into account. A company will often charge you for disconnecting and reconnecting, no matter what the distance. And keep track of your various bills after leaving a place. You could end up getting hit with a retroactive utility bill at the same time you’re being charged for a pay-in-advance cable bill while also receiving an electric bill from your old place, according to U.S. News & World Report. That’s a lot of bills all at once, especially on top of your other moving expenses. Depending on the companies you’re dealing with and how many utilities you need to transfer, you could easily end up spending more than $300 on utility and transfer fees, per Wise Bread.

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