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How to Budget for a Long-Distance Move

budget for a long distance move

Moving across the city — or even within the same state — is a whole lot easier than moving interstate. Moving costs are typically higher due to the distance to be traveled, but that doesn’t have to mean going way over what you’ve budgeted for your move.

We’ve laid out the biggest things you should consider when assessing the costs for an interstate move, including a few unexpected things that might come up along the way. Get your budget sheet out and we’ll show you how to plan for a long-distance move.

Choose your moving style: DIY, or hire professional movers?

This choice could have a big impact on the cost of moving interstate, though the way you approach your move can keep you in control of costs. Renting a truck and doing the driving yourself might cost less up-front, but do you have that much time before you need to start your new job? Or would it be more cost-efficient to have your belongings shipped using professional movers or a shipping company so you can get started settling in? Should you drive or fly? Keep in mind that the costs of the drive will also include gas, food along the way, and hotels.

If you are moving for a job, check to see how much of the relocation costs your employer will cover. Use that number to make a financially prudent decision about which route to take.

Decide how much you’ll take with you

If you can downsize your belongings, you can cut the cost of your interstate move by renting a smaller truck or requiring less help from your movers, which typically reduces the rate quoted. Selling some (or all!) of your larger furniture can add a helpful cushion to your relocation fund and save you a lot of money on trucking them down the highway. When you get your quote from interstate movers, experiment with including and not including your larger items to see how the price changes. If you want to move interstate on a budget, this can be a game-changer.

Plan for partial-year state taxes

The difference between moving interstate and intrastate? Regulations and taxes, for one. Brush up on your state’s tax regulations as well as the state you’ll soon be calling home. Most states require you to pay state taxes for the portion of the year that you lived there, so you can plan ahead by calculating the different tax rates you’ll need to pay. This is especially important for those who are self-employed or independent contractors and don’t have taxes automatically deducted!

Budget for settling into your new home

Deposits, changing the name on utilities, and all those little things like blinds, shower curtains, and cleaning supplies are necessary to comfortably settle into your new home, but they can get forgotten. Don’t expect your deposit from your last home to cover it all, since your last landlord could take a little while to return those funds. Check your lease and confirm with your landlord before you depart to ensure you get it back as quickly as possible. 

Set aside money for the little details

You’ll need to register and inspect your car in a new state, get a new driver’s license, change your car and health insurance, register your pet in a new state… the little details start to add up after a while, especially if the state you are moving to has significant fees. You can do some research ahead of time to determine what it will cost to register your vehicle and get a new license, then use that as the bare minimum for your “little details” category when you’re budgeting for a long-distance move.