How to Budget for Moving Expenses




A new home – how exciting!

It’s a chance to start fresh in a new place to call your own. Everything is a clean slate, from where you put the furniture, to how you decorate.

And, if you’re a bit of a clean freak like me, the chance to take an empty house and make it sparkle before it’s full of stuff is an exciting prospect. But then comes the part when you have to actually fill the house with stuff.

You can’t live in an empty home. You will need to move all your furniture, clothes, decorations, and all the rest of your stuff — which can be expensive.

If you’re thinking about moving, it’s time to make a budget. Let’s take a look at how to budget for moving expenses.


A move can range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand depending on how you want to do it. Moving from one small apartment to another a few blocks away can be done with a rental truck and a few friends.

Moving across Canada with a family of four could require a team of professional movers and a long-haul driver.

If you’re going the DIY route, you’ll want to look into the cost of:

  • Packing supplies: boxes, tape, and bubble wrap
  • A moving truck
  • Fuel (a 24-foot van will burn 4-5 times as much fuel on the highway as a small car)
  • Insurance for your contents and the vehicle (credit card car rental insurance likely won’t cover a moving truck)
  • Travel for yourself, your family and pets
  • Pizza and beer

If you’re going for an executive move, aim to get quotes from at least three different moving companies. Consider the cost of:

  • Packing supplies: boxes, tape and bubble wrap
  • Packing service (may be charged by the job or hourly)
  • Loading and unloading service
  • Truck service
  • Insurance for your possessions
  • Travel for yourself, your family and pets

If your current and future home both have a private driveway, you could also consider using a portable storage container. These containers can be delivered to your current home and left in the driveway for a few days (or even weeks) to give you time to load up everything.

The company can then deliver the pod to your new address and leave it in your new driveway for as long as you need to unload. Consider the cost of:

  • Delivery to your current home
  • Pick up from your home and delivery to the new address
  • Final removal from your new home
  • Monthly rental of the container
  • Insurance for your possessions
  • Travel for yourself, your family and pets


Once you’ve tallied up all the costs, it’s time to start saving. Open a high-interest savings account and start putting away money as soon as possible.

Avoid big bank savings accounts for this purpose as they usually pay next-to-no interest. Instead, choose a high-interest savings account that will pay much more. Right now, the best savings account rate in Canada is 2.80%, offered by Motive Financial.

If you have a little more time to save (or if you don’t trust yourself to leave your savings alone), you can also invest in a guaranteed investment certificate (GIC).

These savings tools lock your money in for a specified period of time so you can access it when you need it, but not before.


In some circumstances, your moving expenses will be tax deductible. If you’ve moved more than 40 kilometers to start a new job or business, you can deduct the cost of transportation and storage, travel for yourself and your family, temporary living expenses, and possibly the cost of selling and buying your home(s).

If you’re moving for a new job, you may also be able to negotiate with your employer to pay some or all of your moving expenses. Typically, employers who pay moving expenses will ask you to stay with the company for a specified length of time in exchange for the benefit.

And don’t forget, if you’re buying your first home, you can claim the home buyer’s amount for a $750 credit on your taxes. It’s one of a few programs for first-time homebuyers in Canada.


Packing your stuff, asking your friends for help, loading a truck – it’s hard work and not much fun. But with a little planning, you can at least be prepared for the expense of moving.

Just think about the clean slate that is your new home, and remember that all the hard work is worth an adventurous new start.


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