How much money should you save before moving out of state?

Budgeting for a long-distance move

The best way to prepare for the financial side of moving is to create a budget. You can do this on paper, but it may be easier to use an Excel spreadsheet or a budgeting app to keep track of expenses as you go. It’s important to remember that not every charge will happen at the same time, so dividing them into different periods can make it easier to save. 

Follow these steps to set your moving budget:

1.    Make a list of everything you expect to spend money on
2.    Label each expense as “before the move,” “during the move” and “after the move” 
3.    Set an amount for each item
4.    Add up the costs for each phase of the move (before, during and after) 
5.    Create a plan to save up money 

Family holding green paper house in their hands.

Moving costs to consider

Get info on typical relocation expenses and learn when you should expect to pay for them:

The moving company

The type of service you use will play a big role in how much money you’ll need to save. The easiest way to determine this cost is to get quotes from several companies and choose the one that best fits your needs. Read this article on how much moving companies cost to learn what goes into the rates and how costs differ between service types.  

Timing: Varies by company. Rental trucks are paid for up-front, but you’ll pay for fuel along the way. Other companies have charges at multiple times during the move, and some require a deposit. With U-Pack, you don’t pay until your belongings are in transit. Be sure to understand what’s included in a quote and when you’ll need the money before choosing a company.   

Packing supplies

If you plan to pack yourself, you’ll need to purchase boxes and other packing materials to keep your items safe during the move. Look for discounts on quality packing supplies to keep this cost low while still protecting your belongings. Professional-grade boxes and supplies are designed for moving and won’t bend or crush like used boxes can. 

Timing: Before the move

Moving labor

The cost for loading and/or unloading help will depend on who you use. Friends and family may be willing to lend a hand for the price of a pizza, but professional help will charge based on the size of the crew, how long you need them, and any “extras” like stairs, excessively heavy furniture, etc. Many moving companies (including U-Pack) can refer you to different crews so you can check prices and budget correctly. And don’t forget to plan for a tip — or at least some food and drinks for your friends! Get guidelines for tipping movers.

Timing: Before and after the move (depending on if you need help loading, unloading or both)

Gas in personal vehicle

Even if fuel for the moving equipment is included in the quote, you’ll still need to pay for fuel in any vehicle you’re driving to the new home. Estimate this amount with an online calculator (GasBuddy has a good one) or by dividing the total distance of your move by the MPG your vehicle gets, and multiplying that number by the average cost of gas. For example, if you’re moving 1,200 miles, your car gets 35 MPG, and current gas prices average $2.14, you can expect to spend around $75 in gas (1,200/35 = 34.286; 34.286 x 2.14 = $73.37). 

Timing: During the move 

Hotels while traveling 

Unless you can make the drive in one day, you’ll need to plan for hotel stays or other overnight lodging. You can book rooms in advance if certain stops are planned, or just look up average prices in each area to estimate your cost. Pro tip: many hotel chains offer loyalty programs, which may earn you a free night if you stay at their properties multiple times.  

Timing: During the move

Food during the trip

Make budgeting for food easy by setting a daily limit for each person and letting people who are old enough manage their allowance themselves. Keep snack costs low by buying in bulk before the trip instead of at gas stations. And consider bringing things like lunch meat and bread for quick, cheap meals on the go. 

Timing: During the move

Other travel costs

It’s a good idea to have your vehicle serviced before the trip, so make sure to budget for things like an oil change and tire rotation. You may also want to sign up for a roadside service like AAA in case something happens during the drive. Planning to see the sights while you travel? Factor in costs for souvenirs, entry fees and spur-of-the-moment purchases. 

Timing: During the move

Housing expenses 

Closing costs, rent and utility deposits, repairs in your current home or new home, lease cancellation charges and buying new furniture or décor are all things to consider when budgeting for your move. Talk with your landlord, real estate agent and city utility companies to see how much they’ll cost. It might be necessary to hold off on buying a new couch or fixing minor issues until some of those other essential items are paid for. And if you’ll need to stay somewhere before you can move into the new place, include that in the budget, too!

Timing: Before and after 

Child and pet care 

If you have children or pets, it can be helpful to have someone watch them while you’re packing and when it’s time to load the equipment. You may even need to find a temporary daycare or boarding facility in your new town to use while you get settled. The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that hourly wages for childcare workers average around $12 an hour, but since it varies by location you can probably expect to pay $15-$20 per hour/per child for temporary care. Boarding and pet care costs will depend on the service you use. If possible, ask a friend or family member to help with this — it’ll help you save money and your kids and pets will probably be more comfortable. 

Timing: Could be needed at any time 

Ways to save money for a move

Now that you have a budget, it’s time to start saving. Set aside money you’d normally spend on eating out and shopping or use these ideas to bring in some extra income: 

Keep your tax refund

If you know you’re planning to move within the next year, save your tax refund to help pay for it. It’s an easy way to save money without having to make too many changes to your usual budget. 

Take on a part-time job

If you have the time and flexibility to make it work, a part-time job can make a big impact on your income. Go the traditional route with retail or food service. Or consider joining an app to become a personal shopper or food delivery driver in your free time.  

Start a side business

Turn your hobbies and talents into side jobs! Do you like to sew? Take custom orders. Love to work on cars? Offer to do the oil changes for family and friends. Babysitting, pet sitting, lawn mowing, tutoring, and house cleaning are other ideas. Offer your services on social media or local online job boards. Some can even be done remotely. 

Sell unwanted items

Get rid of excess clutter and make some money for your move. Have a yard sale or post items in online marketplaces to cash in on things you no longer need. Better news? Moving fewer items can make your move cost less!  

Cut back on bills 

For a few months, could you go with the cheaper cell phone plan or the lower TV bill? Could you work out at home and cancel your gym membership? Reducing monthly payments is an easy way to save money. And if you’re moving soon, it means one less thing to cancel later.

Have questions about your moving budget?

If you need help preparing for your out-of-state move, leave a comment below — we’re happy to help! You can start setting your moving budget with a free online quote from U-Pack. Or give us a call at 844-362-5303844-594-3077 to go over the details of your move and find ways to help you cut costs. 

Read more about moving costs and how pricing works with U-Pack