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

Setting a realistic budget for an out-of-state move

With a DIY moving service like U-Pack® you can expect to pay less for an out-of-state move when compared to full-service movers (and sometimes even truck rental). But when it comes to planning your moving budget, it’s important to consider more than just the cost of transporting your things. 

Family holding green paper house in their hands.


Moving expenses to include in your budget 

These are the most common expenses associated with moving out of state.

Moving company fees

Understanding how much moving companies usually cost and when payments are due can be helpful while planning a moving budget. 

When comparing costs, make sure you know what each company’s quote includes since some companies will charge separately for fuel or other fees. And don’t forget to include the cost of hiring moving labor (if you need it), which averages about $100 per hour for two workers. 

Learn more about how to figure your moving price 

The cost of packing your things

Make sure to include in the budget anything you’ll need to purchase to protect belongings like moving supplies or boxes. The materials needed will depend on the size of your home and how heavily it’s furnished. For a studio apartment, you’ll average $100 - $150 for supplies, while someone with a larger home (8-9 rooms) might spend $500 - $700.

Check out our guide for choosing the right boxes for your move

Personal travel costs

In addition to moving belongings, you’ll need to move yourself and your family. If you’re driving, include in your budget the cost of hotel stops ($125 U.S. average daily rate) and food ($59 - $79* per person per day) on the route to your new home. You can find lodging and restaurant discounts by searching for deals online to keep the costs as budget friendly as possible.  

Fuel costs for your personal vehicle will vary based on gas mileage, distance and gas prices. You can use AAA’s gas cost calculator to get a good estimate for this expense. For example, if you need to travel 1,000 miles in a vehicle that gets 30 MPG with the current gas price of $3.67, you can expect to pay around $125 for fuel (1,000/30= 33.34; 33.34 x $3.67 = $122.34). 

If you’re traveling by plane or train, your ticket costs will vary based on the details. Tickets could be as little as $100 to as much as $1,000 per person. Compare prices between airlines or stations to get the best deal. Include any taxi or ride share fees as part of your budget 

*Based on the U.S. General Services Administration’s meals and incidental expenses reimbursement rates for the 2022 - 2023 fiscal year. 

Housing deposits

New housing often means new security deposits, HOA dues or fees for starting utilities. Find out these costs in advance so you won’t be surprised while moving in. Many apartments will require first and last month’s rent up front, and deposits are often equal to a rent payment. Pet deposits can be an additional $100 - $500 depending on the rental unit.

Unexpected moving costs

It’s a good idea to leave some wiggle room ($250 - $500) in your budget for miscellaneous expenses. Extra funds come in handy for a flat tire or the need to add another day of travel to your schedule. Plus, depending on your circumstances, you might need to pay for child or pet care ($15 - $20 per hour) at some point during the move — like while loading or unloading.

Example moving budget

Here’s an example budget for a studio apartment move from Cleveland, OH, to Seattle, WA, in October 2022. The moving price was accurate at time of posting and amounts used in the budget are examples only. Actual moving costs will vary.

Items Amount
Moving company fees $2,877 (U-Pack, 1 ReloCube) 
Moving help $400 (2 workers, 4 hours for loading and unloading) 
Packing Supplies $150
Personal travel  
    -    Hotel $500 (4 nights)
    -    Food $295 (5 days)
    -    Fuel $294 (2,400 miles, 30 MPG, $3.67 per gallon)
 Housing deposits $1,500
  Miscellaneous $250
  Total moving budget $6,266


How to save money before moving

The costs of relocating can add up, even when you’re getting the cheapest price. Fortunately, there are many ways to save money before the big move. Try one or more of these ideas:

Cut back on spending

Trimming unnecessary expenses is the quickest way to add funds to your savings account. While preparing to move, skip shopping trips for clothing or other items that can wait until after settling in at the new place.

Cook at home

In most cases, eating out is much more expensive than cooking at home. Stop dining out altogether or reduce the number of restaurant meals each week to keep more money in your wallet.

Cancel subscriptions

Still using that gym membership or streaming service? If not, cancel subscriptions to add the monthly fees into a savings account instead. Exercise at home (or at work if your employer offers a gym) and utilize a local library for free entertainment.

Sell unwanted items

You’re likely planning to declutter before the move, so turn those unwanted things into cash. Sell items online or in a consignment store.

Consider a side hustle

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

Save any windfalls

Make sure to add any unexpected funds like bonuses, gifts or tax refunds to your savings to help pay for your move.

Ready to plan your out-of-state move?

U-Pack can help! Request a free quote online or call 844-362-5303844-594-3077 to speak to one of our moving consultants.