15 Tips for Moving Across the Country on a Budget


    Whether you got a new job, need to be closer to family, or want to go on an adventure, moving across the country can be an exciting time. You have the opportunity to start fresh with a new job, new house, new neighbors, and new experiences.

    There are plenty of fun opportunities that come with a cross-country adventure, but the cost of renting a moving truck and driving a thousand miles isn’t one of them. The truck alone could set you back $2,000 or more not including the cost of gas, food, and mileage.

    According to the American Moving and Storage Association, the average cost of a cross country move with a distance of about 1,225 miles is about $4,300. This includes the cost of a moving truck, gas, movers, boxes and supplies, and any additional services that you might require on your move.

    It’s great if your company covers the cost of moving, but if not, you’ll pay everything out of pocket. To save your pocket book and reduce hassle, consider some of these budget-friendly cross-country moving tips.

    1. Find a Place to Live First

    Start looking for your next home or apartment early. You’re more likely to find a good deal on a house or rental if you give yourself time. Many people moving across the country will rush and purchase a home sight-unseen because they didn’t give themselves enough time to do it properly. You’re more likely to overpay or settle for a money pit if you’re in a hurry.

    1. Cut the Fat 

    Before you pack everything in boxes, go through it first. Moves are always less expensive when you have less stuff. Seriously consider whether or not you need certain items, and throw away or donate items of little value that you won’t be able sell. 

    This process can be very difficult for some people. You might consider reading a book like The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up or a similar self-help narrative that teaches about de-junking and minimizing your lifestyle. It will not only help you reduce the stuff you have but will also provide more organization and comfort in your next place. 

    1. Sell Your Extras

    To aid in the de-junking process while also putting a little money in your pocket, sell things you don’t need anymore. Furniture, electronics, appliances, antiques, and anything else that can fetch a good price can be sold at a garage sale or online.

    1. Buy New When You Get There

    In some cases, it might be cheaper to sell your furniture and appliances and buy new things when you arrive. If you’re not too attached to your items or they’re old and you were planning on replacing them anyway, don’t bother taking them across the country in a giant, expensive moving truck.

    This isn’t always cheaper, so you’ll want to run the numbers. But, if you have a great leather sofa that you can sell for $500, you can use the money to buy a brand new couch. It’s an excellent way to reduce your moving costs, and it’s always fun to get new things.

    1. Ask a Friend to Help

    If you’ve sold your furniture and don’t have a lot of stuff, you might be able to stuff everything into two cars and only pay the cost of gas. There’s no need for an expensive truck, and the cost of gas will be cheaper than renting a truck.

    If you still need a moving truck, consider taking a friend anyway. It’s often less expensive to rent a moving truck and return it to the same location than it is to drop it off at a different location across the country. That’s including the cost of gas and mileage on the return journey.

    1. Buy and Sell a Trailer

    If you own a vehicle that can pull a load, purchase an affordable trailer on Craigslist or another online garage sale. Load up your stuff, move across the country, and then sell it again when you get there. Even if you can’t get the same price as you purchased it for, you’ll still have spent less than the cost of a moving truck.

    1. Try Something Other Than U-Haul

    When you think about moving trucks, you probably automatically turn to U-Haul. However, you’re mostly paying for the brand name on these trucks. You can often find cheaper rates with companies like Enterprise, Penske, or Budget.

    1. Use Greyhound Shipping

    For those with few personal belongings, boxing and shipping your items can be much more affordable than a rental truck. There are many shipping services you can use, but Greyhound is among the cheapest and most efficient for moving. The process of packing and weighing boxes can be a little time consuming, but if your bank account is strapped, it’s the perfect solution.

    1. Choose a Good Move-Out Date

    The most expensive times to move are at the end or beginning of the month because that’s when leases typically run out. Weekends and holidays, particularly during the summer, are also peak moving times. Rates for moving trucks and other moving services tend to be higher during these times. You can save 10 percent or more on trucks and supplies by moving during an off-time.

    1. Call Around for Quotes

    The first price you get quoted may not be the cheapest. Spend an hour or two calling different moving establishments and finding the cheapest rate before booking your reservation.

    1. Share a Truck

    Do you know someone else who’s moving across the country as well? Consider sharing the cost of a truck. The larger trucks usually cost less per square foot. You can rent a larger truck and share the room and the cost with someone moving to a similar destination.

    1. Don’t Buy Boxes

    A moving kit (including boxes, tape, markers, etc.) for a two-bedroom house will set you back about $200. You can add another $100 on average for every bedroom you’re moving in your home.

    But it’s not necessary to purchase so many boxes if you plan ahead. Retail stores throw out hundreds of boxes a week, and most of the time, they’re free for you to take. As soon as you know that you’ll be moving, start collecting boxes from these stores. Then, all you’ll have to purchase is tape and markers.

    1. Save on the Drive

    Rather than eating out at every stop on your journey, pack sandwiches ahead of time. If you’re moving four people across the country, the cost of a loaf of bread and a few snacks over two days is much less than the cost of four meals three times a day.

    1. Deduct Your Taxes

    If you’re moving across the country for work, you may be able to deduct some of your moving expenses from your taxes. At the end of the year, don’t forget to take advantage of this move on your return.

    1. Do It Yourself

    Hiring professional movers can set you back another $2,000. If you’re able-bodied, try doing the move yourself. You can always ask neighbors to help with the big stuff when you get there. You’ll save thousands and make some new friends in the neighborhood.

    Contact Green Residential Today!

    If you’re looking for more great moving tips as well as an excellent home in the Houston metropolitan area, Green Residential is the realty team for you. Our expert staff is knowledgeable about the Houston housing market and can help you find your dream home, sight unseen, for a better price than a traditional percentage-based realtor in the area. For more information about our services, contact us today!

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