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How To Move Across The Country On A Budget

So you’ve decided you want to flap your wings and settle down in a new place across the country. Congratulations! Moving isn’t easy, especially to a far-away place, so be sure to take the time to strategically plan how you’re going to get it done. Here are some credit counseling tips to get you started.

 Saving money ahead of time prevents debt after a move across the country.

Saving money ahead of time prevents debt after a move across the country.

Establish A Relocation Fund

You know the three to six month emergency fund you’ve been contributing to? Well you’ve now got a head start on your relocation fund. If you’re unsure about when you’ll be getting your next paycheck, you’ll need to have some cash to:

  • Get you from A to B. Will you be driving your car? Renting a U-Haul? Hiring movers? Don’t forget to factor in all those tolls and fuel costs!
  • First. Last. Security. Three words that drain your bank account significantly.
  • Hidden Costs. Vaccinations for your pets to travel, DMV costs for vehicle registration and driver’s license in your new state, and deposits and connection fees for utilities can add up quickly.

Consolidate & Liquidate Your Assets

I have found this to be the most rewarding. Applications like OfferUp and Craigslist are awesome ways to get rid of your stuff for cold hard cash. Here are some items I had great success selling (for the right price) online that helped me consolidate and put gas money in my pocket.

  • The Wii Fit my parents gave me five years ago, including the controllers, letting go of Mario Kart and the Wii itself ($200)
  • My massive hand-me-down suede sectional sofa, used for only 1 year and sold to a friend for $1,000! (originally $3,000)
  • My mini fridge, juicer and several tacky shot glasses ($150)

This list doesn’t include some expensive pieces of clothing and shoes barely worn that I was able to make a bit of money on, knowing they would never be used again. Altogether I was able to liquidate over $1,500 worth of items in my apartment! It took some running around to meet people, and hundreds of messages back and forth, but it was well worth the effort.

3 Additional Tips to Help Save You Money During Your Move

1. Take your time. Everyone wants to move in the summer and on the weekends. Choosing off-peak move-in dates -like the fall or winter- could save you a lot of money, not only if you’re hiring movers or a truck, but your rent could be significantly cheaper.

2. Bring snacks and plan your lodging ahead of time. Rest stops charge up to $2 for a bottle of water so throw a case in the car if you can fit it. Bring along other healthy snacks to keep you going so you don’t waste money. Avoid tourist traps for lodging, and stay on the outskirts of major cities to get better rates on hotels.

3. Map out your gas stops. GasBuddy is a great application for saving money on gas. Research and write down the cheapest spots before you hit the road.

If you’re struggling to pay off debt, ACCC can help. Schedule a free credit counseling session with us today. 


Madison is a Marketing Communications & Programs Associate at ACCC. She is excited to share her tips on saving money and being financially responsible here on the Talking Cents blog!

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