5 Unexpected Moving Expenses


Having just completed a move that took much more energy than I had anticipated, I realized there are a few hidden expenses associated with moving that I had left out of my budget. I was determined to do a quasi-do-it-yourself move, and I took into account the costs of renting a moving truck and hiring a few helpers to help load and unload the heavy furniture and the multitude of boxes. But after settling into my new place, I sat down with my checkbook register and glaring at me were hidden expenses I hadn't anticipated: A few things I had forgotten about since I hadn't moved in five years, and items that aren't common purchases.

Now that I have the experience of living in both a house and an apartment, and with the move still fresh in my mind, I can highlight a few unanticipated fees movers need to be aware of.

Transfer Fees

I wasn't moving very far, only a few miles away, which meant I could keep all of my existing utility services with the same companies. Most utility companies now have the option of transferring services online or over the phone without having to talk to a representative. However, since I was overlapping my service by a couple of days, it wasn't as easy to turn on and off service as I had thought, so I ended up speaking with representatives.

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.

Moving on from the phone company, I called the electric company. Thankfully their disconnect and reconnect fee didn't include a technician's service. At a minimal $35, that charge felt like a relief.

When all was said and done, transferring my utilities from one location to a new one four miles down the road cost me $325.

Increased Utility Costs

Moving from a house to an apartment, I will most likely see a decrease in my utilities. However, a few years ago when I moved from an apartment to a rental house, I was thrilled to be inheriting a lawn. What I didn't anticipate was the cost difference in utilities for maintaining a lawn.

Not only did my water bill increase substantially while trying to keep the lawn green, my trash and sewer services (a charge I had never heard of while living in an apartment) made up one-fourth of the total utility cost. I'm sure that the leaky faucets didn't help alleviate any of that expense, but now I'm more aware of the true costs of living in a house.

I also found that since my rental house was quite old, the appliances were using twice as much electricity as newer, energy-saving appliances, increasing my electric bill. Needless to say, I'll be relishing the lower utility bills.

Packing Materials

Months before I signed my lease, I knew that I was going to be moving this year. It was a goal I had set for myself. Since I had plenty of time to prepare and pack, I had started collected boxes early on in the year from stores for free. However, as the move-in date became imminent, I realized I needed more boxes and caved in to purchasing them. I also needed packing tape, and my total cost for the boxes and tape was around $100.

Many of the boxes I'll be able to resell since they are still in good condition, which partially makes up for the costs that sneaked up on me. A thriftier person will be hunting for them on Craigslist, and I'll be eager to sell.

Insurance Increase

As a renter, I carry renter's insurance. I've spent too much time searching for particular pieces of furniture and would be devastated if it was all destroyed in a fire or theft. Many buildings and landlords also require insurance since they aren't responsible for a tenant's personal belongings. When I called my carrier to update my address, the representative mentioned that she needed to review my premium to see if there would be an increase, something I hadn't realized could happen. Luckily, it decreased, which made up for some of my additional moving expenses.


I don't consider myself a pack-rat. However, every time I move (about once every five years) I notice that our moving truck gets larger and larger. I can't help but believe that I've become part of lifestyle inflation, something I'm not proud of. Since I moved from a rental house with a garage into an apartment, I ended up with many items that will go into a small, on-site storage unit, which is something I didn't consider until I started loading up the garage.

Now that I've had time to ponder and calculate the total cost of moving, I feel that I'll be prepared when I finally make one final move: into my own house.

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Guest's picture

you could have gotten those boxes for free on freecycle or craigslist. i would like to hear if you can manage to sell them.

Guest's picture

Even better than craigslist for packing materials is freecycle. It's also a quick way to get rid of something you don't need. The wants and offers are varied, but there's always someone with boxes to gift.

Guest's picture

How on earth did the phone company get away with charging you $235 in transfer fees?

Guest's picture

There is also property tax increase which I did not expect to be as high as it was. Also, I would never tapy $200+ to transfer a phone. Just cancel it and get a new one. Or get rid of it altogether and use your cell phone instead. You are correct on the utility and insurance costs. They tend to get higher on the new house.

Guest's picture

Wow, that's a pretty steep price for transfer services. Would it have been cheaper if you cut it completely and started a new service connection?

Guest's picture

We're about to make a move this next year, so this post was good for me to read and get my mind thinking about the inevitable costs of moving.

Great tips!

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