How Much Does It Cost to Move?


Here are some rough guidelines you can use when you start planning the move to your first apartment.

Monthly Rent = annual salary divided by 40
Security Deposit = one month’s rent
Furniture = one to two months’ rent
Starter Equipment = $250-$500 (Check Amazon for great prices on top brands.)
Starter Pantry & Staples $75-$100

Example @$40,000 starting salary:
First Month’s Rent $1,000
Security Deposit $1,000
Furniture $1,500
Starter Equipment $ 375
Starter Pantry & Staples $ 85
Total Initial Cash $3,960

Example @$30,000 starting salary:
First Month’s Rent $750
Security Deposit $750
Furniture $1,125
Starter Equipment $ 375
Starter Pantry & Staples $ 85
Total Initial Cash $3,085

Example @$20,000 starting salary:
First Month’s Rent $500
Security Deposit $500
Furniture $500
Starter Equipment $ 250
Starter Pantry & Staples $ 75
Total Initial Cash $1,825

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Comments (28)

  1. Avatar Jacobblack

    It’s extremely an extraordinary and helpful bit of information. I’m happy that you imparted this helpful data to us. It would be ideal if you stay up with the latest like this. A debt of gratitude is in order for sharing!

  2. Avatar Johnathan

    Im going to be a senior and I just join the national guard and planning on finding a full time job after basic training I just want to know is it possible to move in my own apartment after my senior year with being in the military and have a full time job

    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Johnathan,
      We suspect that your national guard pay is nowhere enough for rent, but some landlords accept a written offer of full time employment as proof of income and may rent to you. However, before you even get to that point, you do need to have saved at least 3 times your expected rent to cover first month’s rent, your security deposit and moving related costs plus maybe some starter furniture.
      Stay at home if you can, and start saving. Good luck!

  3. Avatar Mill

    Thanks a bunch! I will take your advice and when the time is right, Hopefully be Ready to move out, thanks again!

  4. Avatar Mill


    I’m not sure if anyone will read this now but, I’m currently planning on moving out of my Parent’s house since I just turned 20. I’m currently working in the refineries, and currently making 16/16.90$/h.
    I work shift work, so my schedule is 4/10s and off 4 days and work 4/12 and so on. I currently live in Houston, and Single and No kids. No school or loans, I own my own vehicle.

    Just need some tips on how to live decent on the money I bring in.
    Anything would help Thanks!

  5. Avatar marcus

    im wondering how long it will take me to move out my goal is two months from now. I have a job that pays 10.50 an hour i work 10 hour shifts for four days a week also im looking at moving to a different city than what i live in now

    • Alex Alex

      Hi Marcus,

      Pre-tax, you’re making $420 a week, which is roughly $20,000 per year. If you divide that by 40 (one common formula to figure out the amount you can afford to pay in rent is to divide your pre-tax income by 40), you get $500 per month in rent. Now, factor in the following: security deposit plus miscellaneous fees ($500+$100), furniture ($500), kitchen supplies and utensils ($200), and then moving fees — moving to another city can be expensive, depending on how far away it is, and how much stuff you have. Let’s say you have minimal stuff, you can fit everything in your car (assuming you have a car), and simply show up to the new place — then your moving fees would be almost zero, but you’d likely end up spending more than $500 on furniture. Anyway, let’s call the move fees a wildcard — you can figure out how much that would cost based on your situation. Now, just add up all the expenses above (rent + security deposit + miscellaneous fees + furniture + kitchen supplies and utensils) and you get $1900 plus moving expenses. This is a ballpark estimate, of course, but I would say you should have at least that much saved before you consider moving.

  6. Avatar brian

    My name IA Brian Ans I’m 19 I’m planning on moving out in probably 3 months so far I earn 8 dollars and hour..I have a car on my own and I work from Monday to.Friday and I work 8 hours a day ..I would like to know hoe much would it cost me to move out and live on .my own

    • Admin Admin

      Hi Brian,
      You might need to extend your time horizon a bit, depending how much you can save out of your take-home pay each week.

      You are now making about $320 a week, or roughly $16,000 a year. Divide that $16,000 by 40, a common formula to figure out what your monthly rent should be, and you’ll get $400. When you sign a lease you need to also pay a security deposit, so that’s another $400. Then you’ll need some furniture, dishes, pots&pans and some food staples. Let’s say you are super frugal and find great deals on everything, it will still run at least $500. Now you are at $1,300. Add $200 for other moving related costs (setting up utilities, credit check fees to landlord, other potential application fees, etc.) and your total pre-move savings target is at least $1,500. Hope this helps. Good luck with your move!

  7. Avatar brian

    My name IA Brian Ans I’m 19 I’m planning on moving out in probably 3 months so far I earn 8 dollars and hour..I have a car on my own and I work from Monday to.Friday and I work 8 hours a day ..I would like to know hoe much would it cost me to move out and live on my own

  8. Avatar Francesca

    As many on here, I’m 18 as well. I know this is an old post but I stumbled upon it after looking up an estimate as to how much money I’m gonna need to move into my first apartment. The job I have now is paying me 9/hour with about 30 hours a week. This is a new job, mind you. But I’d like to know about how much I should be expecting to spend per month with all the payments and grocery shopping, as well as a little extra on the side to spend freely. Being independent is a trait I’ve always had but I want to make sure that I’m not kidding myself by moving out way too soon. I definitely want to make sure I’m financially comfortable and secure while making such a transition. I’d be hoping to move in with my long time boyfriend, although in case things ended between us, I’d like to be able to still make it on my own. Any advice, tips, or calculations anyone? Much appreciated, Thank you!

    By the way, I live in the phoenix area of Arizona, is that helps any!

    • Alex Alex

      Hi Francesca,

      We’ve calculated that your annual income would be roughly $13,500 per year, assuming you took 2 weeks vacation. If you divide that by 40 (one way to calculate the maximum you should spend), you’d be looking at paying no more than $340 a month in rent. That said, you’ll be in a very low tax bracket, so you may be able to inch the amount you can afford to pay in rent up to around $400 a month. That said, when you factor in the amount you will be paying in taxes, you should expect to have about $950 take-home or so per month before rent, groceries, etc. If you subtract that $400, that leaves $550 a month to pay for groceries, a car (if you have one), your utilities, miscellaneous expenses, health insurance, etc. This isn’t much, particularly if you want some side money to spend freely.

      That said, you could certainly live on that much, but expect to live frugally, and to have very little money to spend on going out, seeing movies, etc.

  9. Avatar Dee

    This is a good guideline, but it didn’t include how much it would cost to buy all of the first-time groceries, such as foods you will have to replace regularly, and items like spices and condiments. What also should be considered is the cost of buying staple items like bathroom items, cleaning supplies, etc…

    Here is a list of SOME of the items that every home “needs”:
    plunger, towels, bleach, shower curtains, dish drainer, toaster, light bulbs, broom…

    There is also the estimated costs of getting utilities put in you name and getting them “turned on” which also costs.

    I gave myself a budget of $5,200 for 1st and last months rent, the deposit, furniture and necessities. I did go the extra mile by setting a small budget for decorations and things of that nature, but if they can help it, I don’t think anyone should make the decision to move and then have NO money once they get settled in.

  10. Avatar Kelley M.

    I am 26yrs old & Im bout to move from Wilmington, DE to Phoenix, AZ & I am alittle scared.
    Im leaving the 1st week of December and I will have alil over $800: that includes gas, hotels (3 hotels til I get to Phoenix) & alil emergency $$ on the side. I have already found an weekly rental apartment there and I have also mapped out my routes during my extended road trip. I am excited and scared all at the same time. I guess it doesnt matter how old you get, there will always be alil anxiety.

  11. Avatar Anonymous

    Here is the deal… In your moving cost you have to incorporate a cost of move itself, which you can easily calculate by getting Free moving quotes from moving companies. It is actually a very good step in your moving process if you don't want to be ripped off by unscrupuleous movers…

  12. Avatar Miss M


    I know this post is a little old, but I just stumbled through looking for something else. I'm 27, about to move into my own apartment. I have been living with my mother for about 5 years out of college, and felt it was time for me to go.

    My new rent is $950 a HUGE jump from how much I was paying before. I never paid utilities , but now I have to budget it in. I've had second thoughts, after second thoughts, after second thoughts….and still have them. However, I've come to learn that it's natural, and sooner or later they will disappear or not be as loud. If not, luckily it's only a one year lease.

    Huge help is…a great service that keeps track of your budget. Some don't like to know what they're spending thier money on, but it's a great help, and it's free!

    Hope this helps,


  13. Avatar Sisko

    That is a tough one. Can you boost your income with a second job? Or maybe you can find a situation where you do some work for the landlord/landlady, in return for a break in rent. Or find a room with an elderly person who needs help with shopping and housekeeping. For someone older than 18, apartment sitting could also be a temporary option, but probably not for an 18-year old. Also, check out if your income level entitles you to some rent help from social services. Good luck.

  14. Avatar Anonymous

    Wait, what if you HAVE to move out by the time you’re 18 and you only make $7800 after taxes? There is no way the rent will be divided by 40 of the salary and still work because no place here is under $425 and even that needs $17,000 salary. What do you do then? That’s only divided by 18 instead of 40. Any help or tips? Oh yeah, also I have my own furniture for my bedroom and office that I can keep with me.

  15. Avatar Anonymous

    im planning on making a move from northern FL to southern ME
    im 18 and i plan to move out about this time next year

    how much money should i have saved up? before i move
    including costs such as truck rentals etc. also what is the best (finacially) way to move?
    the apartment im looking at has a rate of 640 a month

  16. Avatar Anonymous

    Hi, I’m getting my first Apartment ever and been saving for acopple months now I live in Canada Ontario and I’m kinda nervious I was wondering if someone could help me out with the average cost of living. Rent here is about 500 to 700 Hundred a month everything incl, but how much do you normaly on a average cost of
    How Much would this normaly come up to a month is someone HELP me on this or give some advise that would be GREAT. thanks so much you can email me too at
    [email protected]

    thanks again

  17. Avatar Sisko

    Hi Princess Scooby,
    I’m assuming that you’re working and making enough money so that realistically you could live on your own. Put that to a test while still living at home. Use the system of envelopes suggested by the Anonymous above and pretend you have all the expenses you would have if you lived in your own apartment. If after two to three months it looks like you will be able to cover all the costs and still have a few dollars left over for fun, you are ready to start looking for a place. The money saved in those envelopes will cover your security deposit, first month’s rent and moving costs. Good luck!

  18. Avatar Anonymous

    I’m 18 and seriously considering moving out on my own but before I make the move, since I’ve been told if I leave I can’t come back, I’d really like to get some advice someone who has been in a similar situation so please if you’ve been in the type of situation and are willing to offer some advice, email me at [email protected]

  19. Avatar Anonymous

    I rented my first apartment when I was 18, literally the first one of my buddies who had their own place. The learning experience was tremendous, just trying to survive actually, and I came up with some novel ways to do things. One of the most difficult things for me to do was handling my paycheck week to week and at the end of the month I always seemed to come up short.

    The solution came one Saturday as I was watching this local TV show called Bozo the Clown. Bozo took some nesting blocks, and as I sat there eating my Frosted Flakes, he told the kids to put pennies in the smallest block, nickels in the next size, dimes in the next one, and quarters in the biggest box. They would be all separated and you would always know where your money was.

    That was an epiphany. I ran to the desk and took out some regular business envelopes, then I labeled them with all my bill names. Phone, Electric, Gas, Rent, Emergency. Then I calculated how much of each paycheck I would need to put in these envelopes to make a payment every month ON TIME.

    I began feeding these envelopes at every payday, placing the money needed inside, then putting the envelops inside a locked box, for total safety. At the end of the month, I would write out the checks for my bills, deposit the money in my checking account, balance it out, and I was done!

    Oh, and, by the way. At the end of every month, I would use any unused emergency fund money to treat myself to a night out with my girl, or to buy a new video game.

  20. Avatar Sisko

    These formulas apply to apartments in large cities in the United States.

    Here’s another quick monthly budgeting rule of thumb for those living in small cities with cheaper rents:
    1 week’s take-home pay for rent
    1 week’s for fixed expenses (commuting, electric, phone)and food
    1 week’s for discretionary expenses (clothing, entertainment, travel)
    1 week’s for savings