Grade 9-12

A Moving Experience: How Much Does it Cost?

Updated: January 12 2017,
Author: Lee Hartman

This lesson uses a Better Money Habits video to help students better understand the process of finding a place to live.


This lesson uses the Better Money Habits video The True Cost of Moving to a New Place to help students better understand the process of finding a place to live. It is intended to generate a discussion about the up-front moving costs as well as the decision of whether someone should buy or rent. The lesson is designed to be used in conjunction with Lesson 8: Managing Your Money in Financial Fitness for Life, Grades 9-12. The video is 4 minutes, and the estimated time for the activity is 20 minutes. This lesson serves as an introduction to Exercise 8.3 in Lesson 8.

Financial Fitness for Life is a comprehensive personal finance curriculum for K-12 students that teaches students how to make thoughtful, well-informed decisions about important aspects of personal finance, such as earning income, spending, saving, borrowing, investing, and managing money. Visit CEE’s Financial Fitness for Life website for more information on the publication and how to purchase it.

Learning Objectives

  • List the costs associated with moving.
  • Apply the costs of moving to a real-life situation.


  1. Ask students if they have moved to a new house or new apartment. Encourage them to describe some of their personal experiences. Ask if they have ever considered getting a place of their own. Use this discussion to introduce the lesson on moving. Tell them this lesson will focus on the costs associated with moving and read the following as an introduction:“When you are looking at getting a new place, there are also a variety of one-time move-in costs to take into consideration. Keep in mind that in our lesson today, we are going to go through the potential costs you might encounter, so it’s likely that some of these might not apply to your situation.”
  2. Distribute Handout 3.1. Ask students to use it as a guide and to fill in the blanks while watching the video. Show the video.
  3. After watching the video, review Handout 3.1. Check to see if they have listed all the potential costs shown in the video and calculated the total costs.
  4. Debrief the video and Handout 3.1 by discussing the different costs. Compare their answers with the comments given before watching the video.


To summarize this lesson, remind students that moving to a new place involves more than just finding a place to live. As with other choices, it requires careful consideration of the different costs associated with moving. Having an understanding of those costs will help prevent surprises and allow them to better manage their money.

Extension Activity

Assign a project requiring students to select two apartment complexes or other rentals where they might like to live, then list the up-front expenses related to each location. The students can use copies of apartment listings in newspapers, local magazines, or other resources including the website After completing their list, students will summarize their findings and determine which location has the lowest total cost.

Use the Better Money Habits video to show students other costs associated with renting an apartment. Have students prepare a written summary of what they learned from the video.