Let’s face it: Moving isn’t cheap. For those of us on budget (and really, who isn’t these days!) moving can be a stressful and financially dilapidating event, especially as the fees and charges quickly add up and up and up! Although, it may take some money away from your savings, it doesn’t have to leave you broke. In fact, with some careful planning and organization (especially advanced planning) you be able to budget yourself and alleviate costs and even walk away from your move saving money. As crazy as it is may seem, you can move on a budget!

Create a Budget:
Before you call a mover, know what you can afford to spend on moving day. Even if you think you know, it’s best to see the numbers in writing. In your budget, you are not just accounting what you can spend, but you should notate additional fees such as heavy items that movers may charge extra for. You should also note charges such as any bills at your new and old places and if there will be an overlap in paying rent, utilities, etc. Include all of your expenses on a handy excel spreadsheet or a Google document that allow users to share and edit information through e-mail.

Get an Estimate:
Once you know what you can spend, call three to five moving companies in your area. Check with friends and family that have moved for referrals, as well as searching for local movers. For the most part, you should stick with local movers. Even if a mover is cheaper farther away, they will likely charge you for their travel time, which may not be much of a savings in the long-run. From your list, interview two-four movers for an in-house estimate. It is important to have an in-house meeting, so that they can actually look at your items and determine an estimate. Giving this information over the phone will likely not be accurate and result in additional fees (and headaches) on moving day. You should also factor in the cost of moving insurance and any other expenses, as well as tips for your movers.

Factor in the Cost of Supplies:
Regardless of how you move, you will also have to spend some money on packing supplies. Boxes, bubble wrap and packing tape may seem as if they wouldn’t be too pricey, but these goods can quickly add up. You can find second-hand boxes at a grocery store or locate a reputable box company online such as shop4boxes.com. Whatever route you decide on, be sure to set aside extra funds for materials, since anything can happen and you may discover that you will need extra boxes on moving day.

Pack Wisely:
Packing doesn’t have to be an expensive experience, in fact it can be the best time to get organized and assess your items for a fresh start in your new place. Often times, people organize with a moving company so that they will pack for them. This will likely increase your bill by an additional 25 percent. Instead, opt to back everything yourself (or with some very nice friends) and assess a pile of keep or donate. The keep pile really should be items you can’t live without, and not those that you think you can’t live without. The donate pile can go to charity or your family or friends. If you have extra time you may even want to have a yard sale where you can get some money-who doesn’t need extra money on moving day? Even better, if you can get rid of heavy items you may be able to cut some moving costs. If you do lighten up your load, be sure to let the moving company know, so that they can change your moving quote. You can also opt to put your items in storage. If you can’t part with certain items (or don’t have the room for them), you can keep them safe in a storage facility. When you finally get down to the packing, make a system by gathering your belongings by room where you color-code the boxes and mark those that have fragile items. This will not only enable you to know where everything is going, easing and saving time with the unpacking process, but it will set up a system for the movers.

On Moving Day:
Another cost to factor in the mix is what you will spend on moving day. Of course, you will have the best intentions to not spend money, but most likely you will be traveling. And traveling means spending money on gas, food, hotels and activities (for kids). If you are flying to your new home, record the cost of plane tickets and all associated fees. Don’t forget to include the costs of babysitters for children or any pet care as you get ready to move.

New Home-Related Expenses:
Generally, people only factor in the cost of the mover, and maybe some supplies, but rarely does talk of new home costs go into the budget, or often it is a separate budget. The next section of your budget should consist of the costs you will face upon moving into your new home. Factor in rent, security deposits, mortgage payments, and other costs involved in relocating. Also, find out in advance the prices for starting various utility services.

You should also determine any other services you will need to pay for, such as parking permits or pet fees for apartments.You will also want to include the cost of groceries after you move in. Since you probably won’t want to go grocery shopping or cook on your move-in day, also factor in the price of take-out food. Furthermore, it is a good idea to provide food and drinks for anyone helping you move, professional movers included.

Add it All Up:
Although you were careful with your costs and everything added up to your satisfaction, you should still add 5-10 percent of the final cost to your tally. This extra amount will cover any unexpected fees that may occur during moving day. After all, everything and everything can happen, so it is better to be financially prepared.

Regardless of how expensive you move turns out to be, if you plan your budget in advance, you won’t be floored when you discover the final cost. If your planned expenses fall outside of what you can afford, you can easily review your budget and find areas where you can cut corners. Either way, if you know the costs involved in moving beforehand, you will have one less thing to worry about during your move.