Give Me Back My Five Bucks

How much does it cost to move?

Let’s face it, moving is a major headache, and for someone moving into their first apartment, it can be an expensive event. Especially if you’re still calculating how much you might need to move out on your own. No matter how much you plan, chances are you’ll probably end up missing some sort of expense.

I’ve moved 11 times in the last 12 years, and each time I moved, I encountered the same thing – unexpected expenses:

  • When I was 17, I packed all of my belongings into 2 suitcases and flew across the continent for university. My luggage got lost, and the money I had to spend on small things like toiletries might not have seemed like a lot of money, but for a 17-year-old with no job, every dollar mattered to me.
  • When I was 23, I filled my car up with my possessions and drove 1,500+ km away for a 4-month internship. My crappy car needed $900 worth of repairs when it was all said and done – it would have been cheaper to fly!
  • Last year when I made the big move into my townhouse, a couple of boxes were dropped in between the moving van and my home – destroying some dishes, a DVD player, and a couple of picture frames.

Here are some other moving expenses that have surprised me over the years:

Packing supplies

Even if you can save money by collecting used boxes at grocery stores or liquor stores, you might also need to consider the cost of renting dollies, buying bubble wrap, packing tape, and markers for labeling boxes. Try to shop around to try and get the best prices – the cost will add up quickly, and can kill any moving budget.

If you’re unable to find used boxes in your area, consider buying them online through Craigslist or Kijiji for a fraction of the cost of new boxes. Or maybe you know someone who just recently moved and is looking to unload their boxes. A friend of mine was moving into a new apartment just weeks after I moved into mine – she was able to help me get rid of all the empty boxes I had lying around, and in exchange, she didn’t have to pay a penny for moving supplies.

And, believe it or not, but you can actually buy moving boxes on, and the prices are actually quite reasonable compared to how much they charge at a place like UHaul.

For a different approach to traditional cardboard boxes, consider going eco-friendly and renting reusable plastic moving crates from


If you are using a moving company, some people feel obligated to provide cold drinks and snacks, or even a meal as a gesture of goodwill. Others will tip the moves 5-10% of the total bill. If your friends and family are helping you move, make sure to have pizza and beer readily available.


You will need to clean your old place before you move out, and you’ll certainly want to clean your new place as you start to move in. Consider the supplies and time it will cost to do it yourself, or get quotes from local cleaning companies if it fits within your budget. I’ve always done the cleaning myself, and it’s the worst part of any moving experience.

Moving van

If you’re moving yourself, you’ll have to pay for more than just the van or truck rental. If your auto insurance or credit card company doesn’t cover rental vehicles, you might have to pay for insurance out of your own pocket. And don’t forget the cost of fuel for those gas-guzzling vehicles!


Contact your utility companies to inquire about disconnection and connection fees. If you have a contract with your internet or cable provider and cannot bring your service with you, you might have to consider a cancellation fee into your moving budget.


When I moved to Vancouver nearly five years ago for a career opportunity, my apartment insurance and car insurance rates nearly doubled in cost, and I was without extended health insurance until I passed the probationary period at my new job.

Travel costs

If you are moving out of your city, travel costs such as gas, potential repairs to your vehicle, hotels, and meals out will cost you quite a bit of money. If your move will take more than a few days, consider staying in areas outside of big cities to save on hotel accommodation.

Don’t forget to factor in the cost of tolls or ferries, which can get to be expensive, depending on the route you take to drive to your destination.

Is your move tax deductible?

Generally speaking, if you are moving  at least 40 kilometres to start a new job or a business, or you are moving to attend full-time post-secondary courses, you can deduct some of your moving expenses such as:

  • Transportation and storage costs such as packing, hauling, storage and insurance for household items.
  • Vehicle expenses, meals, and accommodation to move you and members of your household to your new residence.
  • Costs for up to 15 days of meals and temporary accommodation near either your new or old residence.
  • The cost of canceling a lease for your old residence.

Please contact the Canada Revenue Agency for more information about tax deductible moving expenses. You can also check out this information sheet.

Have you ever been caught with an unexpected moving expense?


August 2012 Goals: Recap

Over Budget:

  • Food – Well before we left on vacation, we forgot to completely close the refrigerator door. :| So we had to throw away and replace a lot of food.
  • Entertainment – We took transit to a beer garden I’ve been wanting to try for months.
  • Clothing – I bought a new pair of running shoes.
  • Travel – Even though I went over budget by about $300, I’m actually okay with that. Considering we had some major problems with transportation, we had expenses due to the whole bedbug incident(s), and the Scandinavian countries were a lot more expensive than I had anticipated.

Net Worth Change+ $654 (+ 0.89 %)

I’m surprised that my net worth went up this month, despite spending so much. I got paid out for a lot of freelance work I’ve been working on (my highest paid month since March), and I’m hoping that this will continue into the fall. :)

August 2012 Goals:

  • Go on 2 day hikes. CHECK! We went on three gorgeous hikes – one along the coast just north of Barcelona, and two in northern Sweden (Abisko National Park, and Nikkaluokta).
  • Have all travel plans for November confirmed and booked. CHECK! Trips to Toronto, Budapest, and Turkey (Istanbul, Goreme) are booked. We are tentatively planning a weekend trip to Paris in October, but even that has been fully researched already.
  • Find an orthodontist and doctor in Toronto. CHECK! I made an appointment with an orthodontist, and I just plan on going up to a walk-in clinic to see a doctor.
  • Meet all deadlines while traveling. CHECK! It was really, really hard to get everything done while travelling. I don’t know how full-time travellers do it!

Ongoing 2012 Goals:

  • Post a new photo every day on my Tumblr account, My Life In Pixels. FAIL. This goal is gone. As much as it pains me to give up, I just don’t have time to maintain my Tumblr account on a daily basis, and work on Frugal Wanderer at the same time. :|
  • Only post my own photos on GMBMFB. CHECK!
  • Write one guest post for another blog or website. CHECK!

Gen Y in the workplace

I came across this infographic from Payscale and thought it was really fascinating, so I wanted to share it with you. It will be interesting to see what Gen Y in the workplace will look like 10 or 15 years from now.

For me, the biggest things that jump out are 1) the wage gap between males and females, 2) people are now majoring in Chinese, and 3) more professional full-time Gen Y employees have MBAs compared to no post-secondary education at all.

Always connected. Always mobile. Gen Y workers have a reputation for being tech savvy and having short attention spans. Which jobs do they prefer? Do they go to college? PayScale shares a snapshot of  Mr. and Ms. Gen Y at work.

Gen Y in the Workplace

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