Sell with Confidence
Read More

The hidden costs of moving house

By Monica Boyd
Finding a new home can be fun, sometimes … but moving house is the worst. It is one of the most disruptive, stressful and chaotic of life experiences. It can also be really expensive. I packed up my life and moved to a new apartment last week, so while the pain is still fresh in my mind, here’s a list of everything you will need to factor into your budget when planning your next move.


Put simply, you will always need more boxes than you think you will. It’s so much better to over-shoot the mark with this one. We hired boxes from our removalists for $5 a box, with the promise of a full refund if they were returned in good condition: $125 worth of boxes and a few days of packing later, I realised for a two-bedroom apartment 25 boxes wasn’t going to cut it (I’m really bad at spatial awareness), so it was off to the shops for me!

Moving house? It’s stressful, tiring and costs more than you might think.

You can buy boxes cheaply from Bunnings from $1.99 to $5.90, and some stores are open till 10pm, which is perfect for late-night packing emergencies. Yes, there were plenty of those.

Unless you have been hoarding newspapers for the last few months, you will also need bubble wrap or butchers paper, which you can buy at Bunnings or similar stores for about $9.90 for 50 metres. .

Total cost: $200


Moving is dirty. Maybe it’s just me, but I wiped down all the furniture before going over to the new place and had to rewipe it again once it got there. How did it all get so gross driving up the road?

Off to the supermarket! Arming myself with spray and wipe, microfibre cleaning cloths, paper towels, all the things, the bill came in around $100-plus.

Cheap trick: You can use a $5 bottle of metholated spirits for everything. Dusting, wiping surfaces, mirrors, windows and it does wonders on stainless steel.

Getting the old place professionally cleaned, $280.

Total cost: just shy of $400


If you’re looking to save as much money as possible, don’t hire removalists as it is usually the biggest expense in a move. However, they are also much quicker, a lot less stressful and will mean less physical exertion on your behalf.

So, my boyfriend did some research and found a removalist he liked the sound of. Happy with the prices, I called up to book. The woman on the phone gave me back a different quote than I was expecting.

“You know, your prices on the internet are different to when you actually book,” I said into the phone.

“Would you still like to book?” she asked.

I just wanted to get this ticked off my list.

“Yes please,” I said.

“Two removalists and a mid-sized truck is $65 per half hour with a three-hour minimum,” she told me. “Also, because you are on the second floor, it is $4 a step after the first floor.”

Aww man I thought, $4 a step. How many steps were there? Maybe 15 steps x $4. That’s $60. Was that for each item up the stairs? How many trips would they need to take? 45? 45 x 60 is like a trip to New York right?

“Hello miss, are you there?” the voice broke through my thoughts.


“Would you still like to book?” she asked.

“…Yes.” You win this round, receptionist.

Total cost: $900


With everything packed away in boxes, takeaway is the only option for over a week. At around $50 an evening for seven days, it’s not a cheap (but is a far more tasty) alternative to baked beans.

Add to that the moving-day thank you Thai you then shout the five friends who helped you unpack while you yelled “Work, work, work!” and your wallet is feeling much lighter.

Total min spend $570 + weight gain

Random stuff

Reconnecting the internet with the same provider, $100. Then they don’t even show up at the pre-arranged scheduled time.

Three nights in your new home and the electricity goes out, so you have to call an emergency electrician. No hot water. No lights. A surly electrician then arrives after giving you a 7am-to-12 window, stays for four minutes and then rolls his eyes when you can’t answer his complicated questions like where the electrical box is located: $200.

New Christmas tree + decorations, $250. We have higher ceilings now, OK.

Taking an annual leave day. This is more of a personal blow, as you know in your heart you could have spent this precious holiday day drinking G&Ts by the pool instead.

The fights you have with your boyfriend who does not appreciate it when you throw a grape at him and then say “don’t have sour grapes over it”.

Needing to jump start the old car after it rolled into a bush because sour grapes thought he could “Little Miss Sunshine it” and start the car while it was moving. This adds up to heaps of embarrassment in the new neighbourhood.

Total cost: $550 + relationship counselling + a scratched-up car and damaged garden

Buying all the new nice things

I’m in a little bit of denial on this one, I don’t want to tally up all the homewares shopping for new tablecloths, napkins, plants and furniture after all that.

Total: $0

The total damage is … $3290 + stress + tiredness + the strong desire to never move again.

Conclusion: try not to add up all the incidentals. After all, ignorance is bliss

Cassandra Byrnes

Up to Date

Latest News