Relocating for a new job can be an exciting adventure.
You get to live in a new area, see other parts of the country, and get a new home!
Everybody likes new stuff, right?
However, companies don’t always pay for an employee’s relocation. And when they do, there are still extra costs involved.
Don’t let the cost of cross country moving to be a factor in advancing in your career. Additionally, don’t let the financial part of moving to dampen your spirit.
This should be a time of excitement and celebration!
Keep reading for our top 15 tips to save money while cross country moving!
1. Negotiate With Your Company
In some cases, companies foot the entire bill to help their employees relocate for work. If this is the case, you don’t have too much to worry about.
However, as stated above, not all companies fork out the dough to help their employees move, even if they’re moving because of the company.
But don’t be discouraged just yet, it’s possible to negotiate and get at least some assistance.
The key to successful negotiation is doing your homework. Make a reasonable evaluation of how much the move will cost, including gas, moving fees, storage units, temporary housing, etc.
The more professionally you have your research and proposal preparation, the more serious your company will take you.
The worst thing that can happen is they say “no”.
2. Start Collecting Boxes for Free
There are places you can buy moving boxes for relatively cheap, however, why pay for something when you can get it for free?
Visit local groceries stores early in the morning while they’re restocking supplies. Grab a cart and start snagging boxes. You can also go to local liquor stores, electronic stores, etc.
There is virtually no limit to the free boxes you can find around town. Sometimes, stores will have stacks of flattened boxes out back.
Additionally, checking Facebook markets and Craigslist can be a great source for finding free boxes.
Finally, don’t be afraid to ask! Get on Facebook and do a shout-out to family and friends. Let them know what you need!
3. Timing is Everything
In the world of cross country moving, timing is everything.
There are certain times of the week, month, and year when moving will cost you more money.
For example, people like to move on the weekends when they’re off work. Secondly, the majority of people tend to move at the very beginning or very end of the month.
Finally, there’s definitely a busy, more expensive part of the year to move. While it may not be entirely in your control, try to move after summer and before spring.
4. Freight Trailers
Depending on how much stuff you have and how much you plan to take with you, renting a freight trailer may be a good idea.
Based on the weight, distance, and company you choose, renting freight trailers generally cost between $2,000 and $3,000.
There are two phenomenal benefits to this method of moving. First, you can pretty much pack your entire house into a freight trailer. Second, you don’t have to drive it.
Cross country moving is difficult enough, wouldn’t it be nice to have someone else haul all of your stuff for you?
5. U-haul, You Drive
If you don’t mind driving hauling your own stuff when moving across the country, you can save yourself a bit of money by driving the moving truck yourself.
Keep in mind, however, that a moving truck you can drive without a CDL will not be as big or all-encompassing as a freight trailer or portable moving container.
6. Don’t Overlook Profesional Moving Companies
While it’s commonly believed that doing all the moving work yourself will save you tons of money, there are surprisingly cheap professional moving companies out there.
While they’re likely to be more expensive, you never know until you try. Shop around for all the professional moving companies and see if there are a couple that might be reasonably priced.
This can save you time and lower back pain in the long run!
7. Sell Your Junk
When gearing up for cross country moving, look at it as a time for a fresh start. After all, you’re moving to a new state, a new home, and really, a new life.
This is a great opportunity to purge all of your old, unused things and even make some money off of them.
Additionally, many companies charge you based on the weight of what you’re shipping. Without old furniture such as shelves, bookcases, couches, and dressers, your weight is going to come way down, giving you a smaller bill.
Now, if you have to replace those things when you get to your destination, then obviously this method will cost you more in the long run. However, the average American has over 300,000 items in their home.
I think we can all afford to minimize a bit.
8. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff, Ship It
If you’re not planning on cross country moving with large items such as furniture, exercise equipment, or mattresses, consider using a shipping service to get all your stuff to your new location.
Aside from the U.S. Postal Service, UPS, and Fed-Ex, there are several companies nationwide that specialize in shipping packages long distances.
If you’re driving, pack as much as you can in your car and/or tow-behind, and ship the rest of your stuff to your new home.
Alternatively, if you have a small number of things, you can always travel with them, including if you’re flying, busing, or taking a train.
9. Ask For Help
This is not the time to be shy. Cross country moving is a big task, ask for help!
Most of us are blessed with amazing friends, family, or even co-workers who would donate some time to help us pack up our things.
Now, you probably shouldn’t expect them to travel across the country with you to help you move in, but they’ll probably be good for a day of packing your stuff into a U-haul, freight trailer, etc.
10. Shop Around
Most importantly, no matter what option you choose for cross country moving, you can shop around. You don’t have to pick the first moving or shipping company you find.
Jump on the internet and start doing some research. Find out which option is going to be best for you based on your needs.
Next, shop around for the option until you find the most reasonably priced company.
However, pay attention to the reviews of each company. You don’t want a cheap company that has a knack for breaking stuff.
11. Take COLA Into Account
COLA stands for cost of living adjustment. This takes into account the cost of living difference from your original location to your new location.
For example, gas, rent or housing, food, and services can vary greatly from one state to the next. If you are moving to a state with a higher cost of living, your employer needs to compensate for that.
Cost of living adjustments is handled in several ways by employers. You can receive a one-time large payment or small payments over time.
Alternatively, your relocation may come with a raise that naturally compensates for the change in the cost of living, allowing you to save up for your next house!
If your employer isn’t offering a COLA, rethink if the move is worth it, especially if the cost of living is higher in your new location.
12. If You Aren’t Driving, Consider a Bus or Train
If you decide to ship the majority of your possessions and travel with the rest, that’s great.
However, what if you’re cross country moving but not driving?
A plane may be too expensive, but you should have the option of taking the bus or a train. Even if you have quite a bit of luggage and packages coming with you, it will likely be cheaper than any other option, even with the extra fees.
13. Consider Insurance
Pretty much all moving and shipping companies will offer insurance on the relocation of your belongings. While it is going to be an additional upfront cost, it could save you thousands of dollars in the case of an accident.
This will only save you money in the event that your stuff is lost or damaged, however, the alternative would be paying to replace everything out of your own pocket.
You need to decide if you want to take the risk or spend the money on insurance.
14. Budget and Track Your Spending
Hands down, the best way for anyone to save money is by paying attention to how they’re spending it.
Set yourself a conservative budget and stick to it! Allow wiggle room for emergencies or things you didn’t plan for, but give yourself a limit.
Secondly, track every dollar you spend. Studies have found that 45% of Americans spend more than they make each month!
Tracking every dollar spent, especially while cross country moving will save you tons of money.
15. Be Cheap
Finally, be frugal and don’t be ashamed of it! Budget, shop around for the cheapest deals and cut costs everywhere you can.
A generic brand of coffee instead of Starbucks every day for a month could save you more than $75 a month! While you’re at it, just make your own coffee and you’ll save even more.
Have homemade snacks prepared before you leave, even if you need to use a cooler. Spending 5-10 dollars on snacks and drinks at every gas station adds up fast.
Finally, with homemade snacks and food packed from home, it will negate the need to eat at restaurants. Even fast-food joints are expensive.
Cross Country Moving Like a Pro
If you’re preparing to embark on cross country moving, stick to this list and we guarantee you’ll save money!
For more on saving money, check out our Frugal Living Blog!