What is the Cheapest Way to Move Out of State?

Article Summary:

Moving out of state can cost thousands of dollars, but there are a few things you can do to get it done cheap. These include saving money early, finding free boxes and moving supplies, and even completing the move yourself without the help of professional movers.

If you’ve ever moved before, you probably know just how expensive and stressful it can be. Even moving from one part of the city or one part of the state to another can be pricey, so you can only imagine the cost of moving to an entirely different state.

If you’ve got a big move planned, you’re probably wondering about the cheapest way to move out of state. Saving money now can mean more for your new home without devastating your finances. In this guide, we’ll share the average cost of moving out of state, as well as some ways you can save money in the process. Here are 11 tips to help you move on a budget.

How much does it cost to move out of state?

According to the American Moving and Storage Association, the average long-distance move costs about $4,300. This figure is based on a distance of 1,225 miles and a weight of 7,400 pounds.

Of course, your costs could be higher or lower, depending on where you’re moving. You could pay less if you’re moving just one state over instead of to a different part of the country. On the other hand, if you have more belongings than average, then your move could be more expensive.

It’s also important to note that this figure only shows the average cost of hiring professional movers to move your belongings. It doesn’t include any other costs associated with your new home, including a down payment or security deposit, furnishing your new home, or anything else. When you add in other costs, you could easily spend $10,000 on your move before even making a down payment.

1. Start saving early

If you’re moving out of state, just plan for it to be expensive. The last thing you want is to tell yourself you’ll do it on the cheap, only to end up going into credit card debt to pay for it.

First, sit down and make a list of all of your planned expenses during the move. Make an estimate of how much you expect them to cost, and then add a buffer to each one. Once you have an idea of how much your move will cost, start saving for moving expenses as soon as possible.

Remember, saving for your move upfront and paying cash is the cheapest way to do it since it helps you avoid paying credit card interest on the moving expenses you didn’t have the money for. If paying with cash isn’t an option, but you don’t want to use your credit card, consider looking for a personal loan to help with your moving expenses.

2. Declutter before your move

Moving is a great time to declutter. But the major mistake many people make is decluttering as they’re unpacking their belongings in their new home. When you do it that way, you end up paying to move a bunch of items you didn’t even want.

Instead of decluttering once you get to your new home, do it before you move. As you’re packing each room, you can ask yourself honestly whether you need each item. For those you don’t want or need, you can sell to help pay for your moving expenses.

3. Find free packing supplies

The cost of moving boxes and other packing supplies can really add up when you’re packing up an entire house. The good news is you can probably find them for free instead of paying for them.

There are many places to find free moving supplies, including Facebook Marketplace, a local “buy nothing” Facebook group, Craigslist, Freecycle, and more. You may also be able to snag some free moving boxes from your place of employment or ask friends and family if they can get ahold of some.

4. DIY your move instead of hiring professional movers

Hiring moving professionals is one of the largest expenses associated with moving cross country. This service usually costs thousands of dollars, and long-distance movers will be more expensive than short trips. If you feel confident doing the heavy lifting yourself, you can DIY the job instead of spending money on moving services.

If you decide to forego professionals, you’ve got a few different options. The most obvious choice is to rent a moving truck to drive across the country. You can also look into moving containers, which could be cheaper in some cases. Finally, if you’re moving a relatively small number of belongings and don’t have large furniture in tow, a cargo van or pickup truck might do the trick.

5. Shop around for services

Whether you’re hiring movers or just renting a moving truck, don’t simply sign on with the first company you talk to. Prices can vary drastically from one company to the next. The best way to reduce your costs is to shop around for the best deal.

You may even be able to use your quotes from a more affordable moving company to negotiate with the company you really want to work with.

6. Ask for a relocation stipend

If you’re moving to a new state for a new job, consider asking your new employer to pay for your moving expenses. Relocation stipends aren’t all that uncommon, and many companies will pay thousands of dollars to help their new workers move.

Pro Tip

If you haven’t already accepted the new job, negotiate the relocation stipend as a part of your compensation package. Even if you’re only moving a relatively short distance, the company may be willing to pay for it if they think it will get you to accept the job offer.

7. Enlist the help of friends or family

If you’re skipping the professional moving company and are doing the move yourself, consider asking friends or family to help out. Depending on where they live, they might agree to help you either pack up the rental truck at your current home or help you unpack it at your new home. A close loved one might even agree to make the whole trip with you to help pack and unpack.

Just remember that helping someone move is a big favor, especially if you’re traveling to a different state with them. Look for a way to thank your loved ones, and be sure to return the favor if the opportunity presents itself.

8. Move on off-days or in the off-season

Like most things, moving is more expensive when many people are doing it. The demand for moving trucks and services goes up, meaning companies can increase their prices. Certain seasons like spring and fall may be more expensive to move in since that’s when lots of people move. Additionally, you can probably save money by moving mid-week rather than on a Saturday.

9. Ship your belongings

Rather than packing all your belongings into a moving truck, consider packing them into boxes and shipping them to your new home. They’ll be waiting for you when you arrive.

This method may be even more appealing for people moving alone. That way, you won’t have to worry about getting your vehicle and a moving truck to your destination. You can simply ship your belongings and then drive to your new home in your own vehicle.

10. Know what insurance you need and what you don’t

Just about any service — including professional moving services or a moving truck — that you buy to help with your move will offer some sort of insurance. These policies are sold as a way to remove your liability in case something goes wrong.

For example, if you’re in an accident with a moving truck, insurance will pay for the damage rather than you getting a bill. Some moving companies may also offer an insurance package to pay for any items that are damaged in the move.

In some cases, these policies aren’t necessary. For example, professional movers may already have a line item in the contract that says they’ll pay for anything damaged by their movers. And you may have a credit card that has insurance for certain vehicle rentals.

That being said, there are some policies you may want to sign up for. Some credit cards offer rental car insurance policies that cover vehicles but not moving trucks. You can also look for policies that cover rental vehicles specifically.

11. Take advantage of credit card points

This tip isn’t exactly a way to make the moving process cheaper, but rather to help you earn a bit of extra money from the purchases you’re making anyway. With a cash-back credit card, you can earn 1% to 2% back on all your purchases. And if you have a travel credit card, some of your moving expenses may even count as travel purchases, allowing you to earn travel points.

Even if you plan to put your moving costs on a credit card, make sure you’ve saved enough to cover everything and pay the credit card off right away. Otherwise, you’ll end up paying interest on your purchases, which wipes out any benefits provided through credit card rewards.


What is the cheapest way to move to another state?

Hiring a moving company is the most expensive part of moving to another state. Therefore, the most cost-effective strategy is to handle the move yourself rather than hiring pros.

What should you not move long-distance?

Avoid moving anything you don’t need, especially things you plan to get rid of anyway when you arrive at your new home. Examples could include furniture you plan to sell or put in storage.

How much should you save if you’re moving out of state?

How much you should save for your move depends on several factors, including the distance you’re moving, whether you’re hiring movers, and whether there are costs associated with your new home.

A long-distance move can cost up to $10,000. The best way to figure out how much to save is to sit down and add up your expected costs, along with a bit of a buffer in case you go over your moving budget.

Key Takeaways

  • The average cost of moving to another state is about $4,300. However, that only includes actual moving expenses and not any expenses you incur for your new home.
  • The most expensive part of a cross-country move is hiring a moving company. You can save a lot of money by doing this work yourself.
  • There are several ways to reduce your moving costs, including decluttering before your move, shipping your belongings ahead of time, or moving on off days.
  • Save up as much money as you can for your move to avoid spending months paying credit card interest on those purchases.
View Article Sources
  1. Home Page — American Moving and Storage Association
  2. Reimbursable Relocation Expenses and Rates — U.S. General Services Administration
  3. 7 Easy Steps to Create a Successful Budget — SuperMoney
  4. 11 Smart Money Moves You Can Try Today — SuperMoney
  5. 10 Personal Finance Decisions To Protect Your Family — SuperMoney
  6. 14 Practical Tips To Attaining Financial Freedom — SuperMoney
  7. How Much Money Should I Save Before Moving Out? — SuperMoney
  8. The Ultimate Guide to Budgeting — SuperMoney