Calculate the cost of a move

Moving costs can vary widely depending on the distance involved, the number of belongings you’re transporting, and whether you rent a truck yourself or hire professional movers. On average, however, the typical local move costs in the neighborhood of $1,250[1], while a long-distance move of 1,000 miles can set you back around $4,890.

It’s important to also budget for some related expenses that sometimes fly under the radar—and can quickly add up.

These include:

  • Boxes, packing materials, and tape.
  • Moving insurance.
  • Shipping fees for pets and personal travel expenses for yourself such as gas, meals, airfare or hotels.
  • Storage unit rental.
  • Disconnection and connection fees for utilities at your old and new residences.
  • Security deposits and first/last month rent if you’re renting in your new city.
  • Costs associated with selling your current home if you’re a homeowner.
  • Costs of purchasing a new home or paying for temporary housing until you’re able to buy.

Once you move in, your budget may need to expand to include paint, furnishings, and other household items.

Estimate your return on investment

It’s crucial to weigh the long-term return in salary and professional upward mobility against what you’re spending for a move.

On the most basic level, this means asking yourself: Will I see a significant salary increase? Could this job lead to more opportunities for advancement in my field? Will I be able to expand my network or pick up new skills that might increase my earning potential?

And then there is a secondary set of questions: Is the city I’m moving to more or less expensive than the one in which I currently reside? Will my new employer offer any incentives beyond salary—say, student loan reimbursement or stellar health insurance and retirement benefits—that could make a move worthwhile?

Also, consider how relocating might affect your lifestyle. You may be leaving behind friends and family or giving up certain hobbies to make the move work. While those things don’t necessarily impact your decision from a financial perspective, it’s still important to think about when determining how easily you’ll be able to adjust to new settings.

How to prepare financially for relocation

First, create a realistic moving budget that includes an extra ten to twenty percent for any unexpected or higher-than-anticipated costs.

Opening a savings account specifically dedicated to your upcoming relocation can be a significant first step: Take the estimated amount you need to save and divide it by the number of pay periods you have until your target moving date. Automating transfers from checking can help you stay on track.

Create a second budget tied to your estimate of what the basic cost of living will be after your move. This budget should include housing and utility costs, transportation, and food. If you’re buying a home, it could also include homeowner’s insurance, property taxes, HOA fees, and maintenance. It also may take a pay period or two for your paychecks to start coming in, so you may want to add funds into your moving savings to cover your living expenses until you start getting paid.

Finally, have a plan for using any money that might come back to you as a result of the move. If, for example, you’re renting now, you may be able to get some or all of your initial security deposit back when you move. If you’re selling your home, you might net a profit from the sale. Your employer may offer reimbursement for moving expenses or a sign-on bonus. Any of these options could help replenish your cash reserves after the move is complete.

Relocating for a new job can be an exciting—and challenging—prospect. Remember, you don’t have to go it alone. Schedule an appointment today to talk to a PNC banker about your options for funding a move.