The Cost of an In-Town Move

the living/dining area on the lower floor

It took over two months, but all of our moving-related expenses have finally come into our mailbox and been tallied!  I can now report how much the move cost us.


We moved from a 1200 sq. ft. apartment to a 1200 sq. ft. townhouse 5 miles away (and much closer to school and church).  We had a week of overlap in rent and utilities between the two places and during that time we boxed and packaged up all of our things.  On the Saturday at the start of our overlap three of our friends came over to help us move our furniture and larger boxes, and then Kyle and I followed up throughout the week bringing over our smaller stuff.


Direct Moving Expenses


This is the category that is most applicable to others, I guess – the part of the moving process that we had the most control over.  We rented a UHaul for a few hours and paid for its gas, plus we provided food and drinks for our friends who helped us move.


  • UHaul truck rental -$69.97
  • gas for UHaul truck -$13.52
  • snacks and drinks for friend-movers -$10.29
  • pizza for friend-movers (with 50% off promotional code!) -$23.35
  • adding my car back onto our insurance for one day so we could move it -$1.24

total: -$118.37


Not bad at all, I think!  We didn’t buy any boxes or any other supplies for the move, just used free boxes we got from a couple sources and some tape we already owned.


Non-Refundable Expenses


This is money we’re not going to see again that was directly caused by moving.  There would have been another installation fee but our internet company waived it because we set up recurring payments.


  • application fee for new place -$60
  • water initiation fee -$15
  • ID verification to change address with post office -$1
  • driver’s license change fees -$20

total: -$96.00


Two Residences Overlap


This was the most expensive component of our move – paying rent and utilities for two places for a week.  We originally didn’t want a 7-day overlap but that’s how it worked out with the way the weekends fell, and we ended up using all of the time to get our many, many, many boxes of “little stuff” over to the new place.


  • rent -$202.10
  • water -$1.67
  • power -$35.81

total: -$239.58


This category was also the most difficult to track/estimate.  The partial rent was straightforward.  But because of the change in billing periods how much we paid for the overlap is difficult to determine.  The water amount is what was over-budget for the last three months and the internet and power amounts are our last bills from the apartment (so probably for more than a week).


Things Purchased and Sold


New things we bought:

  • bath mat and linens ruined by our last apartment/in the move -$25.44
  • storage containers for our china -$67.88
  • bookcase (housewarming gift from my parents!) $0


Old things we sold:

  • washer $150
  • dryer $80
  • pebbles from our wedding centerpieces $20
  • votive candle holders from our engagement $10


total: $166.68


Selling the washer and dryer was a big bonus.  Kyle remembers that he only paid $150 for them when he bought them 5 years ago!  Our townhouse has a lot less storage space than our apartment did so we had to buy some things to help store our stuff.  We asked my parents to pick up a bookcase for us at IKEA on their way to visit us and they ended up gifting it to us.


Refundable Expenses


We got a small deposit back from our apartment complex and had to pay a huge deposit for our townhouse.  We also had to paid a deposit for our water.


  • townhouse security deposit -$895
  • apartment security deposit $50
  • water deposit -$50

total: -$895.00


Rent Savings


Every month now our rent is $110 less than it was before (and $170 less than it would have been if we stayed).  So far we have three months of savings racked up.


So all of our moving expenses (and few credits) aside from our refundable deposit sum to $287.27, which means that we have paid ourselves back with our rent savings within three months!


All in all, we paid the move back a lot faster than we had expected.  We though it would take 5-6 months of rent savings to repay it but selling the washer and dryer really helped with the bottom line.  The move was definitely worth it with such a quick payback time.  We still want to buy a table for our front hallway so that will probably edge us over 3 months of expenses but I hope not by much!


How much did you spend on your last move?  Do you have any cost-saving suggestions for in-town or long-distance moves?  Do you use professional movers or bribe your friends?


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33 Responses to "The Cost of an In-Town Move"

  1. SWR says:

    An unexpected cost for us was a parking permit for the van while we were moving in. I’m all about having friends help us move. We share our apartment with a friend, so the three of us all helped get everything to the apartment this time- no bribing necessary!
    SWR recently posted..This seat’s taken.

    1. Emily says:

      A parking permit! I wouldn’t have thought of that either. Was it a space that needed permits generally or only for large trucks?

      We traded moving favors with a friend but since she gave food to us we wanted to give food to her. 🙂

  2. Leigh says:

    My last move was definitely more expensive than yours because I hired professional movers, but hopefully, I won’t be moving again for many years 🙂 I can’t believe how large of a deposit your new townhouse required! I’ve never seen a complex around here take more than $200-500 as a deposit!

    My overall monthly budget actually didn’t go up at all after moving since (mortgage payment + property taxes/12 + HOA dues) = (last apartment rent + parking rent + apartment building utilities). My utilities don’t seem to be any more expensive here either. I’m also saving $130 per month over staying in my last apartment by being in the condo, which is pretty awesome.
    Leigh recently posted..Calculating total federal income tax due for 2012

    1. Emily says:

      Yeah, the deposit was 1 month’s rent. We are renting through a property management company so maybe that is their policy or something.

      That’s sweet that you are saving money by owning there instead of renting. Are you responsible for repairs and maintenance (I don’t know much about condos)?

      1. Leigh says:

        I’m responsible for maintenance and repairs within the condo walls and the HOA is responsible for everything outside of my walls. So I’m not directly responsible for the roof, the gutters, the siding or anything like that.

        The cool thing about this is that I own all of the appliances in my unit. If the washer, dryer, fridge, stove, or microwave break, I need to fix/replace them myself (or call a plumber). I can also paint however I like inside, replace toilets, sinks, blinds, closet doors and shelves, inside doors, etc. I should also be able to install ceiling fans, which I’m super excited about for next summer!
        Leigh recently posted..Calculating total federal income tax due for 2012

        1. Emily says:

          So do you think you’ll end up spending a bit more on your living expenses now with maintenance/updates or still less than your last place? Either way it seems a good deal for building equity!

          Kyle insists on having a ceiling fan running all night while we sleep. I think he would melt without it! Having a ceiling fan in the MBR or at least a hookup was a legit reason to eliminate a rental unit from the running when we were searching for our place.

          1. Leigh says:

            We’ll see! I love this place so much more than my last one. Having the more space is amazing 😀 I could end up spending a bit more on maintenance and such, but some of the things I would have bought had I rented a two bedroom apartment (a front entry way table, a futon for the second bedroom, etc.) anyway. Being able to replace the fridge myself is awesome because then I can buy the exact fridge I want, even though I have to pay for it.

            I mostly want a ceiling fan because there is no overhead lighting in my master bedroom :/ and that would help solve that problem. That’s hilarious that you guys eliminated a rental unit from the running for not having one! They’re not very common around here.
            Leigh recently posted..Calculating total federal income tax due for 2012

  3. That stinks that you had to pay for two places at once! At least you got to use that time to move though….it is a PITA to move out of and into a new place all within one day.

    Good job on keeping your costs down!
    Holly@ClubThrifty recently posted..Craigslist: Great Way to Sell your Crap or Total Pain in the Ass?

    1. Emily says:

      I moved in 1 day – the day after our wedding – and it was terrible. I’m glad we took longer this time, although 3-4 days might have been optimal.

  4. I’ve done the slow move over several days, but I think I prefer getting it all done in one day. Ripping the band-aid off is usually less painful.
    Edward Antrobus recently posted..Is the Fiscal Cliff Really That Bad?

    1. Emily says:

      Moving in one day for us resulted in damaged furniture (it rained – and we only had the one day!) and a mess that literally took a year to sort out!

  5. Brian says:

    We move quite often so I’ve got a good handle on the costs. You’ve done good here and I’m impressed you can move closer to school and pay less! Could you have ditched the internet for the cross over week? Seems about the only thing you could have changed.
    Brian recently posted..Recipe Idea: Fresh tomato salsa (Pico de Gallo)

    1. Emily says:

      You know what, come to think of it we didn’t double-pay for internet. We actually went a week without internet at our new place after we had finished the move! So the weirdness with those charges must all be due to changing billing periods. I’m going to remove that from the moving expenses since we weren’t double-paying. Thanks for making me think of it!

      Do you have any other expert-mover tips?

  6. Wow, I almost always overlap for a week — it stinks! I think you did a great job. In your area, is it common to have to buy your own washer/dryer? As a renter, I just never have come across that in apartments before. Houses, sure, but not apartments.
    Kathleen @ Frugal Portland recently posted..My personal philosopy at age 31

    1. Emily says:

      I guess it varies. In my apartment complex W/Ds were provided but in Kyle’s complex they weren’t and he had to buy his own. Now that we are renting a private residence it already had a W/D. There was definitely a market on craigslist so there must be some reason for all of the turnover.

  7. Impressive!

    Our last move involved shipping a bunch of stuff USPS across country (sadly Amtrak used to ship to us and would have been cheaper, but had stopped service a couple years prior) and was a few hundred dollars.

    The move before that was a few thousand (we moved all our stuff) and the university reimbursed it.
    nicoleandmaggie recently posted..Nicole and Maggie gossip about bloggers

    1. Emily says:

      I’ve never done a cross-country move with possessions, only what I could fly with – oh, and I guess I shipped some boxes of books. I want to leave nearly all our possessions in Durham when we leave but I don’t think Kyle will go for that!

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