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 at OZ Moving & Storage would be to 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, especially if it’s your first time moving out. 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.


Moving out of your parents house is a big step, and be financially burdensome if you don’t prepare correctly, and don’t save enough money. It’s no secret that moving out requires a decent amount of savings-- but exactly how much are we talking about? 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



A rule of thumb for young adults hoping to move out, is that many landlords require you to make 40 times (annually) the cost of your rent. 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 month’s rent, 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. Also remember that some rental units may charge an application fee, or charge for a background check/ credit check. Be sure to keep some money aside for extra fees. Typically those types of charges can cost up to $200. 

cost of moving expenses


In 2016, Oz Moving & Streeteasy combined forces to see where New Yorkers were relocating 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 like professional packing 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.


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.  


Everyone has their own set of expenses, beyond rent and moving costs. 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 can add numerous additional costs. A new couch can cost hundreds of dollars, and other furnishings like tables, chairs, lamps, and beds can add to your costs.
  • You may also have to take into account other expenses like application fees and utility fees when signing a lease for your new home. Be aware of the costs of 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.
  • Food/drink includes groceries and dining out; somewhere around $100-150 monthly per person who’s moving is a reasonable amount to earmark.
  • 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 costs depends heavily on location. For instance, A 30-day unlimited use MTA metrocard costs $121.00 while the LA Metro’s offers a $100 30-day pass. Drivers may spend more or less than public transit fees on gas per month, depending on their commute length and local gas prices. (The only way to know is to track your fuel spending during a typical month!)

How much do I need to save before moving?

How to save money BEFORE MOVING OUT
  1. ROUGH IT! Saving money should feel burdensome and uncomfortable. Skip the meals out, drink at home and avoid shopping. You will need to do plenty of shopping once you move out, because moving requires purchasing lots of new furniture and appliances-- a huge expense! 
  2. Sign up for a good credit card. Moving out requires having a good credit score, which can be achieved by paying off your student loans on time, and by having a credit card and paying your bills on time. But aside from that, credit cards can help you save money with their rewards systems. Some credit cards will even give you free cash if you are responsible with your purchases. 
  3. Sell your old stuff. Instead of just leaving your old clothes and furniture behind, try and re-sell! Use sites like depop, poshmark and craigslist to make some extra money before your move. If it’s your first apartment, you may not own many apartment staples, so be sure to invest in some good quality appliances that can be used for the rest of your life. 
  4. Avoid unnecessary transportation costs. Don’t take that Uber! As convenient as ride-sharing apps can be, they are costly and can add up. Walk or bike, or take public transportation in the months leading up to your move. Carpool with friends and save gas money.
  5. Look through your bank account statements and try to see if you can cancel unnecessary subscription services that you are not using frequently enough. If you are only watching Hulu every so often, cancel it. If you signed up for some make-up subscription box, cancel that too. These types of expenses may seem harmless, but they can certainly add up. Budgeting means having to cut back on unnecessary expenses. 
  6. Make a spreadsheet of all of your current living expenses. Use google sheets so that it is easily accessible on your phone. Every time you spend money, force yourself to jot that into a google sheet. Not only will you have a clearer idea of where your money is going, but you will be less likely to spend that money if you have to write it down somewhere every time you make a purchase. Doing this will make you wonder if the purchase you are about to make is truly necessary. 
  7. In addition to opening a savings account, consider starting an Emergency Fund. An Emergency Fund is a safety net that is geared towards long-term use. There are many stressful situations that arise, especially when you are on your own and paying your own bills. For instance, your computer may break, or your sink. Things need repairs and can set you back if you aren’t prepared financially. When saving money, try to put money away into different accounts, so that you limit your access to your money, and in turn, limit your spending. Our suggestion is to take out 5% of your monthly income and keep that for emergencies.

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.  If you are considering hiring movers, be sure to do so in advance. Moving companies can be costly and in-demand so don’t wait until the last minute to schedule your move! 

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

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