How Much Money Should You Save Before Moving Out of State?

Planning for out-of-state moving costs

There can be a lot of unknowns in the moving process, but your moving budget doesn’t need to be one of them. It just takes a little bit of pre-planning to figure out how much you’ll need.  

In addition to considering the cost of movers, you’ll want to plan for other related and unexpected expenses. Let’s explore some essential factors to consider while budgeting and ways to save for relocating out of state to avoid any unpleasant surprises. 

Family holding green paper house in their hands.


7 expenses to consider while planning a moving budget 

Relocating long-distance costs more than just what moving companies typically charge. There are some other expenses to consider while planning a budget. 

1. Moving rates

Whether you’re going with full-service movers or a cost-effective DIY service like U-Pack®, you’ll need to include those fees in the budget. Get estimates from several companies, or use our moving cost calculator to get an idea of your price.  

Be sure to plan for packing materials ($100-$500 depending on home size) and storage if needed (averaging $200 per month).  

Learn more about figuring out your moving price

2. Personal travel

You’ll want to figure fuel expenses if you’re driving. Try AAA’s gas cost calculator to get an estimate. 

Depending on the distance of the move, you may also need to consider hotel costs, which average just under $150 per night, according to Statista.  

If you’re flying or taking a train to the destination, include the fare, which can vary greatly depending on the service and time of year (typically between $100 and $1,000 per person). Make sure to include any taxi or rideshare fees for getting to or from the airport or train station. 

With traveling comes eating out, so plan an extra $50 to $75 per person per day for food.

3. Housing

It’s important to plan for a mortgage or rent payment, but some other housing-related expenses can get overlooked during the excitement of moving.  

  • Homeowners’ Association (HOA) fees 
  • Insurance (homeowner or rental) 
  • Security deposit 
  • Utility deposits or start-up fees 

4. Registration fees

You’ll need to have money set aside for fees to update driver’s licenses and car registrations Check with the DMV in the new state for actual costs, which are usually between $25 and $100.

5. Living expenses

Having some money set aside for a month or two of living expenses at the new place is practical, especially while waiting on a paycheck from a new job. Consider all living costs like utilities, groceries, entertainment and transportation.

6. Employment costs  

Don’t forget to include any expenses associated with starting a new job (or finding one). Will you need to purchase uniforms, work attire or supplies to do the job? Are there parking or commuting fees? If you work from home, consider extra utility costs like upgraded internet service.  

7. Miscellaneous

It’s helpful to save extra money ($300 to $500) for unexpected expenses. You might need the funds for car maintenance along the way, an extra day of travel or hiring someone to watch a pet or child during the process. 

Example moving budget

Here’s an example budget for a 2-bedroom home move from Phoenix, AZ, to Atlanta, GA, in January 2024. The price was accurate at the time of posting, and the amounts used in the budget are estimates. Actual costs will vary.

Items Amount
Moving service (13 linear feet, U-Pack moving trailer)  $3,069  
Packing supplies  $200 
Personal travel:  
      -Hotel (2 people, 2 nights)  $300
      -Food (2 people, 3 days)  $300  
      -Fuel (30MPG @$3.25* per gallon, 1,807 miles)  $195.78 
Housing (Rent and utilities for 2 months)  $3,000 
Taxes and fees (DMV, car registration)  $100 
Living expenses (2 months)  $2,000-$3,000 
Employment costs $100 
Miscellaneous  $300-$500 
  Total moving budget $9,565-$10,765 

* AAA’s average gas price at the time of posting. 

Ways to save for out-of-state moves

Once you have an estimated budget, it’s time to start saving. Here are some ways to cut costs:

Cut back on unnecessary spending 

Eliminating or reducing unnecessary purchases is the quickest way to save money. Try one or more of these ways to get started: 

Cook at home

Stop dining out or reduce the number of restaurant meals or deliveries each week to keep more money in your wallet. 

Cancel subscriptions you can do without 

Exercise at home (or at work if your employer offers a gym) instead of paying gym membership fees. Pause streaming services and utilize a local library for free entertainment while saving for the move. 

Skip shopping trips

Put off buying clothing, home decor or other items that can wait until after settling in at the new place.

Sell unwanted belongings 

It’s a good time to declutter before a move, so sell those unwanted items online or in a consignment store and save the profits. 

Get a side hustle 

If you can take an extra job before moving day, the balance in your savings account will grow faster. 

Save windfalls 

Save any unexpected funds like bonuses, gifts or tax refunds. 

Make a budget-friendly out-of-state move with U-Pack

Get the cheapest out-of-state moving price with U-Pack. Request a free, no-obligation quote online or call 844-362-5303844-594-3077 to speak to a moving consultant. If you have questions about U-Pack or budgeting for relocating long-distance, let us know in the comments. We’re happy to help!