Top 10 Surprise Moving Expenses

By in Guest Post, Saving

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Welcome to encore month at Barbara Friedberg Personal Finance. We are caravanning across the country to our new home in a new land. During this major transition, please enjoy guest articles and some of my best previously published posts. Please be patient with my responses and keep visiting!

Guest Post from Paula at

This week Barb is hauling her furniture across the nation, enduring — no doubt — the sweat, frustration and expense of packing your life into cardboard boxes.

So this seems like a perfect time to talk about the surprise expenses that pop up when you move. Everyone knows to expect a few minor bills. You need to buy boxes, packing tape, and fuel. You may want to hire movers or rent a truck.

But a myriad of unexpected expenses can chip away at your wallet. Here are 10 moving expenses for which you might not have planned:

1. Shipping

You’re stashing boxes into the back of a moving truck when the realization strikes: “Hey, this truck is pretty full. And there are still a half-dozen large boxes left.”

You lack enough boxes to justify renting a second truck, and upgrading to a larger truck would take hours of unloading and re-loading. You’re left with only one choice: FedEx your possessions to yourself. And that, my friend, will take a bite out of your bank account.

2. Shopping

You’ve packed the items you’ll need during the move — a toothbrush, your phone charger — into a small backpack. Yet the evening of your move, you realize you forgot a crucial item. Where did you pack your contact lens case? Where’s the ibuprofen? Has anyone seen the cat food?

You can’t wait days to figure out where you’ve packed these essentials. You need them now, and that means you need to dash to the nearest 24-hour drugstore.

3. Eating

Your pots and pans are packed away; your microwave is in the trunk. You have some granola bars from the grocery store, but that’s not enough for a satisfying dinner. Looks like you’ll be eating three meals a day at restaurants for a week.

4. Coffee

“Don’t buy lattes” is a personal finance cliche, but your coffee maker is packed away. And there’s no way on earth you’re going to endure the next 12 hours without a cup ‘o joe.

5. Groceries

You tried to eat everything perishable item in your refrigerator before moving day, but you still had to throw away that bag of frozen chicken breasts, a container of strawberries, a gallon of milk, butter, cheese, eggs, a half-open jar of pasta sauce, and those Cheesecake Factory leftovers.

6. Trash

Some items just aren’t worth packing. Are you really going to move a rusty can opener across state lines? Are you bringing that push lawnmower built in 1992? Unfortunately, this means you’ll have to buy it new when you reach your final destination.

7. Breakage

Ceramic cups, plates, glasses, picture frames, mirrors — a lot more shatters during transit than you’d think.

8. Rent/Mortgage overlaps

Ah, the big-ticket item that makes your brand-new lawnmower seem trifling in comparison: Your current lease ends in September. Your new lease starts in August. You’ll be paying double rent for a month.

Own a home? Things become even worse. Your old home hasn’t sold yet, but you’ve closed on your new home. Congratulations, now you have two mortgages.

9. Rent/Mortgage underlaps

You’ve timed your housing transition perfectly: your current lease ends September 30. Your new lease starts October 1. What are you going to do for that one night in limbo? You could stay with a friend, in theory, but you have a dog, two cats, plus a U-Haul filled with stuff. Looks like you’ll be finding a pet-friendly hotel …

10. Cleaning

Speaking of moving out, don’t forget that you’ll need to scrub every surface of your former home. Either you’ll do-it-yourself, which requires a bucket of cleaning supplies plus hours of your time, or you’ll need to hire cleaners.

Barb’s comments; Paula just skimmed the surface of our “unexpected expenses”. One cannot begin to fathom the amount of cash one needs on hand for the unexpected moving surprises.

Read more about MOVING from other personal finance bloggers:

What are your moving stories?

image credit; lunarsea