How Much Do I Need to Save Before Moving Out?

How Much Money Should I Save Before Moving Out?


How Much Money Should I Save Before Moving Out? Our quick answer would start with “3 months of expenses”. However, there are other finances, such as moving costs, that also need to be considered into this total. The financial implications of moving from one home to the next can be overwhelming. We know the numbers pretty intimately here at Oz, so we did some research and took the advice of some financial planning professionals to try and help you come to a number that makes sense for you.



Before calculating the amount of savings each person who moves needs to reach, let’s define what exactly this amount is supposed to represent. Luke Demaria, NYC-based financial advisor at Client Focused Advisors, told Oz that he saved up 4 months of expenses before the last time he moved. 4 months may not be right for everyone, depending on their personal goals, but it is a good starting point. Demaria started with simple expenses like rent and utilities, but didn’t neglect spending money for evenings out among other monthly expenses normal people typically have. Let’s break down these expenses and rational ways to calculate them. 


Calculating Saving Rent Money




Rent is most people’s primary expense. Most financial advisors recommend that renters pay no more than ⅓ of their income towards their monthly rent or mortgage payments, but a much higher percentage is reality for many people who live in large cities like New York City and Los Angeles. In its recent New York Quarterly Rental Index, real estate website SpareRoom analyzed room rental prices across New York boroughs and Manhattan neighborhoods over the last year, and observed how these rates have changed. The index reveals that there are now no neighborhoods with average room rents under $1,000 a month. According to Spareroom's data, many room advertisers ask for first and last month’s rent, in addition to a security deposit, which can range from half a month’s rent to 1.5 month’s rent. Therefore, $3,000 prepared for renting in NYC is an appropriate amount of money to save prior to moving. Depending on your own needs, the actual amount may differ, but New Yorkers (or renters in any high-demand markets) should, at an absolute minimum, save 3 months of rent prior to moving.


cost of moving expenses


In 2016, Oz Moving & Streeteasy combined forces to see where New Yorkers were re-locating to and from in the previous year (2015). Evaluating the data, Oz was able to extract and compile an average of what each person who moved within the NYC area spent on their moving services. The amounts were as follows:


  • Average Studio Moving Cost  - $420 - $700
  • Average 1 Bedroom Moving Cost - $700 - $1100
  • Average 2 Bedroom Moving Cost - $1100 - $1500
  • Average 3 Bedroom Moving Cost - $1500 AND UP

After a baseline cost of about $500 to account for the first room, travel time, and other accessorial costs, each additional room adds about 400$ to the cost of a move. Additional factors like moving distance, lack of elevator access, and additional services required can add to these costs and should be considered as well. This data is most applicable to NYC residents, but could be helpful for anyone trying to estimate their own moving costs.



Everyone has their own set of expenses, and beyond rent and moving costs, what these expenses are varies wildly for the populace. The main costs everyone have include food/drink, transportation, and utilities. Most also have loans to pay off, and normal lifestyle costs.



  • Furnishing your new home, especially if you move across the country without many of your belongings or move out on your own, can add additional costs. How much more space is in your new home that takes filling? A new couch can cost hundreds of dollars, and other furnishings like tables, chairs, lamps, and beds can add to your costs. You may other new expenses to take into account like application and utility fees at your new home, and homeowner’s or renter’s insurance if you don’t already have it.
  • Utilities can vary wildly based on location too; Demaria advises his utility budget came out to roughly $175/month, but that number depends on a multitude of factors unique to each user’s life scenarios. Keep in mind cable, electric, gas, internet, phone, and whatever other monthly expenditures come through your home as well when calculating utility costs.

  • Loans also factor into monthly expenses. “Loans” could include student debt, car payments, mortgages, or some other kind of outstanding debts. Plan accordingly.

  • Cost of living and quality of life are additional aspects that should be accounted for. No one wants to be unable to live their life to the fullest due to a tight budget. Demaria tried to estimate how much he wanted to earmark for “spending money” by evaluating his usual leisure and personal expenditures and coming to a ballpark figure. For those on a tight budget, this is an area that can be cut. But most people won’t want to have to miss out on a good time with friends if they can help it.

  • Transportation depends heavily on location. A 30-day unlimited use MTA metrocard costs $121.00 - The LA Metro’s $100 30-day pass is somewhere in the middle when it comes to most cities for monthly average transit fees. Drivers may spend more or less than that amount on gas per month, depending on their commute length. (The only way to know is to track your fuel spending during a typical month!)
  • Food/drink includes groceries and dining out; somewhere around $100-150 monthly per person who’s moving is a reasonable amount to earmark.


How much do I need to save before moving?


Calculating How Much to Save Before Moving

Let’s recap the costs we’ve put above for the average NYC area resident, assuming they will want to save up 3 months of expenses.These expenses may not be quite as high in cities with lower costs of living; bear that in mind if the costs you incur are typically smaller. Assuming rent costs $1,000 per month with 3 months of rent saved up required, the savings start with $3,000 going toward rent money. Moving costs, including buying packing materials, paying movers and sometimes insurance, will run somewhere around $500 (for someone with a $1,000 monthly rent). $3500 goes into making sure this person can move into their apartment with all their belongings safely. If this person decides to save up 3 months of expenses for food, transportation, and utilities expenses (each somewhere between $100-$150 a month), this adds another $400 per each of those three months, adding up to $1,200. Adding it all together without taking into account high-variance loan payments or lifestyle spending, a lean-living New Yorker could work with around $5,000 of savings for about 3 months. Those playing it extra safe may want to include additional savings for surprise costs or emergency expenses. 



If you’re only considering moving away soon, and not sure whether or not you should embark on your move quite yet, think about whether or not the savings you’ve calculated above are obtainable for you. Is the new lifestyle where you want to move something you can afford? If there are additional regular expenses; more bills, other expenses required (like transportation), and lifestyle spending can make moving expensive even after the fact. Talk to the people around you if you’re not sure if moving is financially feasible for you.  


Note: Post updated 4/24/2019 to include most recent information.

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