Moving Cross Country on a Budget

Moving across the country can be one of the most stressful times in a person’s life. Between organizing and packing, paying for the move and saying goodbye to an old life while settling into a new one, it’s no wonder people get overwhelmed. We thought it might be a good idea to take some of the overwhelm out of your moving experience and provide you with 7 ways that you can move across the country while sticking to a budget.

1. Keep only what you love


If there’s one thing that we know to be true about moving across the country, it’s that you don’t want to pay to move items that you don’t plan to keep, don’t have a use for or don’t even remember you own. Downsizing is a great way to get rid of those items before you move and helps you save money on your overall budget.

Ways to downsize:

  • Having a yard sale will not only help you raise money for your move but it will also help you get rid of some unnecessary items at the same time.
  • Donate items to Goodwill. Be sure to get a receipt for a tax write-off at the end of the year
  • Give away items to your friends & neighbors.

2. Compare moving companies v. DIY Move

moving cross country on a budget

In order to get the best price on the actual shipping & moving of your belongings you’ll want to get a few price quotes from reputable moving companies. It’s also a good idea to price out what the move would cost you to do on your own and compare the two prices.

How to compare moving companies

  • Get at least 3 quotes from moving companies.
  • Estimate how much money it would cost you to move yourself (including moving truck, gas, tolls, hotel, time & energy).
  • Compare the moving quotes against the price of moving yourself.

3. Get free moving boxes

Another way you can save money on your moving budget is to avoid paying for moving boxes and packing supplies. You never want to pay for moving supplies, if you can avoid it. You can look for free supplies on Craigslist or a community site like Next Door. You can either place a wanted ad asking or moving supplies, or check out the free section on either site to see if anyone has moving boxes to spare.

How to find free moving boxes:

  • Place an looking for boxes on Craigslist and Nextdoor.
  • Ask your friends on Facebook and Twitter for leftover moving boxes.
  • You can even call a few local grocery and hardware stores and ask for leftover boxes.

4. Move off-season


Did you know it can cost up to 25% more to move during the months of June – September. If your moving dates are flexible, you may way to opt to move across the country in the off months because it can save you thousands of dollars.

Budget Moving Tips:

  • Move during off months like April & May and October & September.
  • Moving during the middle of the month can save you money.
  • Try to move during the weekday as weekends are more expensive.

5. Shut down your utilities as early as you can


You definitely don’t want to have to pay for utilities you aren’t using, which means you’ll want to cancel your utilities at least 2-3 weeks ahead of time to ensure that they are shut off on the day you move.

How to cancel your utilities before a move:

  • Call company 2-3 weeks in advance and give them the exact day you want utilities turned off.
  • Return any rented equipment.
  • Ensure the company has your new forwarding address to send your deposit.

6. Ship books using Media Mail with USPS

Did you know that the United States Postal Service has a special reduced pricing structure just for books and media? They do! Which means it can sometimes be cheaper to mail your books than it would be to put them in the back of a moving truck.

How to ship your books via Media Mail:

  • Place your books in a box.
  • Have it weighed and priced out by the USPS as Media mail.
  • Compare the price of shipping it via USPS or moving it with the rest of your belongings.

7. AirBNB instead of hotel


If you are planning a multi-day cross country move, chances are you are going to need a few places to lay your head own. You can save some money by checking out AirBnB instead of hotels. AirBnB is a website which allows home owners to rent out a room in their home or the entire home by the night. You can usually save yourself a nice chunk of change if you don’t mind sharing a bathroom.

How to find a room on Air B&B


7 Tips for Moving Cross Country on a Budget