If you take the time to plan your move well in advance, you can keep both your money and your sanity intact. Here’s how!

How to Plan a Cross-Country Move in 6 Simple Steps - how to plan a move, planning a house move, budget for moving

How to Plan a Cross-Country Move in 6 Simple Steps

Moving isn’t fun, and doing so all the way across the country sure as heck isn’t anybody’s idea of a grand time. I should know: I’ve moved across the North American continent twice – from the Lower 48 to Alaska and back again.

 

My husband will be graduating from college next year, and we’re already considering the possibility of moving somewhere else.

 

We’ve got how to plan a move down pat by now, but the financial aspect of paying for a cross-country move has always eluded us.Click To Tweet

 

That is, until now. So if you’ve ever wondered how to plan a move like ours, here are some helpful tips:

 

1. Start the Planning Process Early

This time, we’re planning our finances well ahead of our (potential) move. If we decided to make the schlep, we’d probably do it at least 14 months from now. Extreme? Maybe. But stick with me.

 

Of course, you won’t always have a 14-month lead on planning your move. But if you even have an inkling that you might move in the future, it doesn’t hurt to start making a plan and budget for moving now.

 

2. Squirrel Away Packing Materials

U-Haul tells me that I should expect to pay $317.41 for moving supplies for my apartment. But while I may have to purchase some supplies, I’m betting that I can get most or all of them for free. Boxes are likely to be the largest cost, and I can get those for free by asking friends, family members, and employers. Craigslist is also a great resource – people are always trying to get rid of moving boxes there.

 

Get creative with your packing materials, as well. You can use towels, blankets, and other clothing in place of bubble wrap. Just make sure that you don’t leave your skivvies in the rice cooker!

 

3. Master the Decluttering Process

Get rid of as much stuff as you can. This will serve four benefits: it’ll reduce stress from carting around stuff you don’t care about anymore; you’ll get more cash back in your pocket to fund the move; your move will be cheaper; and you can declutter your life.

 

Craigslist is a great place to sell things. You could also have a garage sale, use a service like Decluttr, and donate whatever you can’t sell by the time you leave.

 

We made about $2,000 from selling things when we moved away from Alaska, and we saved about $2,200 by not having to rent a larger moving truck.

 

TAKE ACTION

Need an extra hand to help you load up that moving truck? Find discounted offers for moving services on sites like Angie’s List and Groupon.

 

4. List Costs

Moving is expensive. You know this, so don’t be caught unprepared. Each move is different, so you’ll need to put on your thinking cap and draft a list of costs. Set aside 10 minutes and just brain dump all of the costs that you’re likely to incur. Some examples:

 

  • Truck rental
  • Gas
  • Hotels and meals
  • Utility hookup fees
  • First month’s rent
  • Rental fee and security deposit

 

Add up all of these costs and multiply it by 1.10 in order to add a 10 percent buffer.

 

If Murphy’s Law taught us anything, it’s that whatever can go wrong, will go wrong.

 

We decided to budget for moving to western Washington because it’s the farthest we’d be likely to move (and because it’s cool). I calculated that we’d spend a maximum of $3,264.80 in restarting our new life there.

 

 

5. Start Saving Now

Now that we know how much money we’ll need to move, we need to actually start saving up for it. The simplest way to figure out how much you should save each month is to divide your total moving costs by the number of months you have to move. For me, it’d look like this:

 

$3,264.80 ÷ 14 = $233.20

 

If I saved $233.20 per month for the next 14 months, I’d have a fully stocked moving fund.

 

TAKE ACTION

Don’t have a lot of money to set aside? Apps like Stash Invest can help you save up a little at a time.

 

6. If You Don’t Have Enough Time to Save Up…CentSai Buyers Guide - Best Personal Loans

Sometimes you need to move on short notice, though, and you won’t be able to save up for it. In that case, you’ll need to figure out another way to finance it by taking on debt (unless you want to start a GoFundMe page and beg people for donations).

 

The two easiest ways to finance a move are with credit cards or personal loans. Credit cards carry super high interest rates, though. I funded my last move with credit cards and it took me two years and hundreds of dollars in interest charges to pay it off.

 

I’m kicking myself now – it would’ve been far cheaper to get a personal loan instead. I’d have paid less in interest and probably paid it off much sooner. If there were any leftover funds, I could have just put them right back toward the loan.

 

 

The Bottom Line

Moving is stressful enough. Don’t complicate it any further by not properly planning or setting a budget. As long as you follow these tips for how to plan a move, the only thing you’ll have to worry about is not breaking Nana’s family heirlooms.

 

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