9 Best Ways to Save Money Moving Cross Country

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Figuring out how to save money moving cross country can be challenging.  There are a lot of steps and pieces involved when it comes to moving cross country.

Luckily a friend of mine just completed this daunting task of moving cross country from Michigan to Arizona.

She revealed a lot of what is necessary to save money on a cross country move.

How to save money on a cross country move depends on if you will use portable moving containers, a long-distance moving company, or do it yourself and move with a truck rental.  In addition, using a timeline to manage your moving process and getting rid of possessions that won’t be needed is also key to saving money on a cross country move.

Additionally, she also revealed a lot of moving hacks to save money she used on her move.

This extensive guide will cover a lot of what is necessary to move cross country and what is necessary to save money on a cross country move.

How Much Does it Cost to Move Cross Country?

When trying to save money moving cross country it is important to figure out how much it will cost to move cross country.

The cost to move cross country can vary based on how you decide to move.  Whether or not you move yourself with a truck rental, hire a moving company, or move with PODs, the cost to move cross country will vary significantly.  Determining the cost for each will help decide which is the best method for you to move cross country.

Below are some of the average moving costs associated with different ways to move cross country.

Average Cost of Cross Country Move with PODs

If you have ever driven around a neighborhood during the prime moving season I am sure you have noticed for sale signs and families moving.

Summertime is a peak time for families to move and relocate due to school being out for the summer.  Moving is highly disruptive to a families day-to-day schedule.  That is why a lot of people choose to utilize moving PODs.

Moving PODs are nothing more than shipping containers that can be utilized for packing and transporting your possessions.

Moving PODs are a great way to save money moving cross country.

You have probably seen these moving PODS parked in driveways of for sale houses.

One of the big advantages that moving with PODS offer is convenience.  Moving with PODs is extremely convenient because it allows a family or individual to pack at leisure since their POD is outside in their driveway.  When the POD has been filled, simply call the company to pick up the moving pod from your driveway and transport it to the new destination.

The average cost of a cross country move with PODs is $2,118.  Half of the cross country moves with PODs are higher and half are lower than this amount as well according to their website.  What can affect the pricing is the size of the POD shipping container, geographic location, and how far the POD will be transported to the new destination.  There is a 30-day period included to unload the container.

Additionally, organizing your household to save money is also a benefit of packing up all your items in PODs.

Using PODs is a great way to save money moving cross country.

Be sure to check the PODs website for additional information.

Average Cost of Cross Country Move with a Truck Rental

A lot of people will end up moving themselves cross country like my friend just did.  Renting a moving truck is one of the cheapest ways to move cross country.

The average cost of a cross country truck rental is between $1,500 and $2,500 which is based on a distance of 2,300 miles and 7 days.  It does not include supplemental insurance for your trip which might be necessary if you don’t have auto insurance or coverage with your auto insurance for truck rentals.  The majority of truck rental companies will fall into this range for average cost of a truck rental.

There are a few things that can affect the price of a move when it comes to the cost of a cross country truck rental.  Those things include the size of the truck, how many miles your move is, and the time of year your move is occurring.

Additionally, there will be other incidental costs that you should factor in such as lodging and meals while traveling cross country.

Depending on the size of the truck rental, your fuel costs will vary.

However, there are ways you can save money moving cross country with a moving truck rental.

If you rent a larger moving truck with a diesel engine, you will get better MPG.

On the other hand, if you rent a moving truck that has a gas engine and is the same size as a moving truck with a diesel engine, you will get less MPGs.

If you are renting a moving truck for a cross country move, be sure to factor in these incidental costs mentioned above so you can determine what the total cost will be for your cross country move.

Whichever moving truck rental you decide to go with, a great budgeting tip is to make sure you get multiple quotes.

Obtaining multiple quotes, will allow you to save money moving cross country.

Average Cost of Cross Country Move with Moving Companies

If the logistics of a DIY cross country move are too much for you, consider using moving companies.  A lot of people will use moving companies for cross country moves.

This is especially true if driving a 26 foot moving truck for thousands of miles across all terrain isn’t your cup of tea.  That’s where using a cross country moving company comes in.

The average cost of a cross country move using a moving company can range from $2,000 to $12,000.  This is based on typical average costs associated with a 3 bedroom home less than 2,000 square feet and an overall move distance between 500 and 2,000 miles.  Other factors that can affect pricing would be whether or not you will have your car in tow, distance, time of year, and the number of movers assigned to your job.

While this may seem a lot, consider all of the incidental costs you would have if you undertake a do it yourself cross country move.

Hiring a moving company might actually be cheaper in the long run and a great way to save money on a cross country move.

All you have to do is show up and meet the movers at your new destination.  You can either drive there, or hire someone to drive your car to your new location.

There are all kinds of people that get paid to deliver cars to all kinds of places across the country.

If you can arrange that for your car, then all you have to do is board a plane to your new cross country destination and you will be there in no time.

Best Ways to Save Money Moving Cross Country

ways to save money on a cross country move

Now that you have an idea of the costs associated with a cross country move, you can figure out how to save money moving cross country.

There are a lot of ways to save money on a cross country move and bring your total out of pocket cost of your move down.

We will cover some of those best ways to save money moving cross country below.

Plan Your Cross Country Move with a Timeline

If you are task-oriented and like to stay on track for large projects, consider using a timeline for your cross country move.  You can use a timeline to help plot and plan out your move.

Start with your tentative move date and work backwards from there.

Be sure to factor in time for packing everything that will be coming with you for your cross country move. Research can you put your electric bill in someone else’s name so you legally know how to do it.

You should also allow yourself time to deal with the items that won’t be moving cross country with you.

Anything that you are going to spend time on (such as garage sales) should be included on your timeline.

You may have to also close your current bank and open a new account when you get to your new location.

If that is the case, be sure to get starter checks in case you need to purchase items in the interim.

Using timelines are key if you want to save money moving cross country.

Inventory Your Possessions

Let’s face it, not all of your worldly treasures will make the cut to your new destination.  Conducting a proper accounting and inventory of your possessions can help save money moving cross country.

A way to help decipher what items will stay and which ones will come with you can be done by creating an itemized list of your possessions.

Determine which items are easily replaceable and which items are hard to replace.

If they are easily replaceable items, put those items in a pile to stay behind.

If the items are hard to replace, be sure to mark those items as cross country move worthy.  Plan on packing those items for your move.

Letting go of easy to replace items is another great way how to save money on a cross country move.

Downsizing clutter is a good way to save money moving cross country.

If you are downsizing and moving into a housing cooperative for example, you won’t need as many items in your home.

Have an Estate Sale

One of the best ways to save money moving cross country is to have an estate sale.  People love estate sales because of what it implies.  When people hear estate sales, they think of a massive sale in which everything on the whole estate will be sold.

So they definitely want to check out the estate sale and if you are planning to have a garage sale, you should use the term estate sale in marketing because of the psychological effect behind the words.

Be sure to sell all of your big and bulky items that you can’t move with you such as lawnmowers, tools, garage storage units, or whatever homestead items you may have.

Estate sales are sales of all different types of items such as clothing, dishes, cookware, entertainment systems and the like.

People are always looking for these types of items to buy, especially lawn equipment, home goods, and household tools.

A lot of the items that you are not planning to move cross country can be sold for money at your estate sale.

That money can be put towards the costs of your move thus offering another way to save money moving cross country.

Additionally, you can also use some of the money earned to purchase new items at buy now pay later stores no money down for your new home.

Be sure to add enough time on your moving timeline so you have enough time to have an estate sale a few weekends before you have to move.

You can also advertise your estate sale on Facebook.

Get Moving Quotes from Moving Companies

If you are not planning to move yourself cross country, obtaining moving quotes from moving companies is a good way how to save money moving cross country.

By obtaining moving quotes from the top moving companies, you can be sure that you will receive the best price for your cross country move.

When you get quotes from moving companies, you are actually making them compete against each other.

Some moving companies may physically come to your home or business and walk through your house to give a quote.

Ultimately, you are going to walk away as the winner by getting the lowest price paid for moving cross country.

Price Out Moving Truck Rentals

When it comes to moving across the country, pricing out moving truck rentals is essential in order to save money moving cross country.

At this stage of your moving process, you know what items you are taking with you and moving cross country.

cost of cross country move with a truck rental

You can determine what size truck you will need since you have inventoried your possessions.

One thing that will affect your moving truck rental is insurance.  If you are moving cross country, there is bound to be some items that may break in transit.

Consider getting the insurance for your possessions should unfortunate breaks happen during the move cross country.

Additionally, make sure you have insurance for the moving truck if you don’t purchase it through the moving truck rental company.

Whether or not you purchase the insurance from the moving truck rental company will affect the price you pay for your moving truck rental.

Use Portable Moving Containers

Another great way how to save money moving cross country is to use portable moving containers.  Portable moving containers are a good option if you don’t want to drive a moving truck rental cross country or use a moving company.

There are a few advantages when you use portable moving containers for a cross country move.  One advantage is that it’s a lot easier for a moving company to move a portable moving container than packing and unpacking a moving truck.

All you have to do is pack your items in the portable moving container.  Once you are done packing the portable moving container, call the company and the container company will come pick up the container and transport it to your new location on a flatbed truck.

This is a lot cheaper than using a traditional moving company with movers that will pack and unpack their truck with your possessions.

There are also a lot of places to find free address labels template for packing which makes labeling a cinch.

By using portable moving containers the moving company doesn’t have the extra costs of labor which translates to savings for your bottom line.

There are several companies that offer portable moving containers such as Pack-Rat which has 8, 12, and 16 foot containers.  

Even U-Haul offers portable moving containers now.

Using portable moving containers is a great way how to save money moving cross country if you are willing to do a little bit of labor yourself.

Sell Your Vehicle

There are a lot of options when it comes to your vehicle and moving cross country.  Some of those options for your vehicle include driving it, shipping it, or selling it.

There are a lot of variables that go into whether or not you should sell your vehicle.  Shipping your vehicle will be expensive for a cross country move.

If your vehicle is more than 4 years old and you are moving from a cold climate to a warm climate, it may not make sense to ship it or drive it to your new location.

If your vehicle already has been exposed to the harsh winter elements which include salt, you could spend a lot of money to ship it cross country, but the vehicle might not last since corrosion has started.

Additionally, if you are going from a place such as Detroit to Phoenix, your car might not have the proper elements on the vehicle such as the type of UV window tinting that might be needed at your new location.

This recently happened to a friend of mine who sold her vehicle before she moved from Metro Detroit to Phoenix.

She decided to sell her car due to mold allergens present and rust that had formed.

Her best option for a quick sale of her car was Carvana. She called Carvana before she left who gave her a better offer than local dealerships in the area.

The day before her move, Carvana arrived to pick up her vehicle on a flatbed.

When she got to her new location, she ended up buying a new car that had extra UV window tint protection which most new car sales in that state have.

cross country move ship your car or sell it

Additionally, when you sell your vehicle, you can also eliminate your car insurance as well.

Selling your vehicle is a great way to save money moving cross country.

Limit Bulky Items

Another great tip how to save money on a cross country move involves limiting bulky items.  You should really think twice about moving bulky items if you want to save money moving cross country for a couple of reasons.

First bulky items will take up a lot of room in any moving truck whether that is a moving truck company, a portable moving container, or a moving truck rental.

Moving bulky items will limit the available space for other things that might be more important to take with you to your new location.

Items such as appliances are not only bulky, but heavy.  If you are hiring a moving company for your cross country move, they will also weigh your items.

Since appliances are heavy items, you are better off selling your appliances and buying new ones at your new location.

You are probably thinking who buys used appliances near me, but there are all kinds of places that buy them for top dollar.

Additionally, if you don’t have money to buy new appliances after your move, there are other options as well to purchase appliances.

By not moving your bulky items such as appliances you will be able to save money which will allow you upgrade to better appliances after your move.

Be sure to check out How to Save Money on High End Appliances as well for some great ways to save big bucks on your appliance purchases for your new place.

One thing is for sure, you will save money moving cross country by limiting your bulky items.

Pack Efficiently

There are so many great ways how to save money moving cross country.  Packing efficiently is another great way to save money moving cross country.

It’s true that how you pack your items can make or break your space available in your moving truck or portable moving container.

That’s why packing efficiently is so important.  Make sure that all of the space in your moving boxes or portable moving containers is filled.

Try not to leave any wasted space where a moving box could be placed.

Additionally, there are so many places where to get free newspapers for packing that you should not have any problem packing efficiently.

Be sure to use the newspaper as much as possible so your items will not break and pack tight.  Packing efficiently involves not leaving any empty spaces inside your moving boxes.

You want to make sure that all areas of the boxes are filled with your items as best you can.

Not only does this satisfy the goal of efficient packing, but it also helps from your possessions getting damaged in the move.

Related Questions

Below you will find answers to the most common questions related to how to save money moving cross country.

How Much Should I Save for a Cross Country Move?

To move cross country plan on saving a minimum of $4,000 if you are planning on using portable moving containers or a moving truck rental.  You should save at least $12,000 if you are going to use moving companies for your cross country move.

Mileage and distance will affect how much you should save for a cross country move but most cross country moves will cost between $4,000 and $12,000.

However, there are a lot of ways how to save money moving cross country that have been noted.

Should I Feed Professional Movers for a Cross Country Move?

If you have hired professional movers, you should not feel obligated to feed them.  Most professional movers bring their own food with them and want to stick to a schedule.  The will want to load your stuff as fast as possible so they can stick to their schedule.  More than likely they will eat the food they brought with them in their moving truck while they are on the way to the next pickup before heading out cross country.

How Much Should I Tip Cross Country Movers?

For out of state moves, you should tip cross country movers between 10% to 20% of the total move.  If your move is $4,000 and there is a crew of 4 movers, $100 per worker (cash) is adequate.  That amount is equal to 10% cost of a $4,000 move.

So Many Ways to Save Money on a Cross Country Move

moving cross country for cheap

There is no question that you can save money moving cross country by following some of the best tips above.

It’s true that your costs will vary quite a bit depending on the method you choose to move cross country.

However it is possible to move cross country cheaply by following some of the recommendations and best practices above.

Using timelines, inventorying your possessions, and having estate sales all will help you save money moving cross county.

You can save money on a cross country move by getting multiple quotes from moving companies if you decide to let the professionals handle your move.

There are also cheap housing options as well to help offset the cost of your move.

If you are moving to a cheaper option, there are other ways that could financially benefit you.

One benefit is that you might be able to pay off your mortgage early by moving to a cheaper area.

Moving cross country can be a daunting task with a lot of different costs, however by following some of the best practices above it doesn’t have to be.

There are a lot of ways that you can save money moving cross county.

Once you arrive at your new home you can relax and know that you were able to save money moving cross country by following these guidelines.

BG Vance

For over 20 years, BG Vance has been a leader in public and personal financial management. He's developed and managed public budgets in excess of hundreds of millions of dollars. He is passionate about the FIRE movement and was featured in the Detroit News in 2001 about saving for retirement. Through the years, he's assisted families and individuals with getting their finances on track. He holds an MPA, is a licensed Realtor, and is currently working on a book about personal finance.

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