Planning Your Budget for a Cross-Country Relocation

Moving across the country is a complicated process, and it requires a great deal of planning. In addition to being stressful, a cross-country relocation can also become a costly endeavor, but there are ways you can keep your expenses under control. By thinking more frugally, you can stay within your relocation budget.


Find Out What Help Your Employer Offers

If you’re relocating at the behest of your employer, it can’t hurt to ask, if they cover relocation expenses. Even if they won’t pay for everything, they may agree to pay a portion of the costs. Additionally, government and military employers may be able to provide hotel, meal, and other relocation service discounts that can save you a bundle.

Taking advantage of any help offered by your employer can help you lower your spending, even before the actual move.

Try to Select a Cost-Effective Move Date

Moving at the wrong time can cost you more than you realize. Moving companies are usually busier, during the first and last weeks of each month, which means their prices will be higher. Since people usually move in the summer months, you can also expect to see higher rates from May through September.

Planning and reserving the moving equipment you’ll need can save you a significant amount and ensures you’ll be able to rent the truck size you need for the move.

Start Gathering Free Moving Supplies

You’re going to need plenty of packing supplies, even for just a one-bedroom apartment. You can get much of what you’ll need for free, either from area retailers or through the classified ads. Online sites can also get you some good deals on the things you’ll need to pack up your furniture and belongings.

At the very least, you’ll need a plentiful supply of:

  • Cardboard boxes
  • Scrap cardboard
  • Plastic wrap
  • Bubble wrap
  • Packing tape

Have You Forgotten Utilities?

Most people do forget about the utilities when they move. Moving across the country, or even to a neighboring city, often means returning rented equipment and you should prepare to do that well in advance. Failing to return your modem, or cable box can cost you money in fees that would be better spent on your move.

If you have poor credit, you may need to submit deposits with your service providers at your new location, so be sure you prepare for that, as well.

Getting to Your New Location

Even if you hire professional movers, you’re still going to have to get your family from one part of the country to another. This means spending money on gas, meals, and motel stays. As far as gas goes, there’s not much you can do about this expense.

There are some apps that will show you which gas stations have the lowest prices and planning your route around these service stops can save some money. Similarly, research motel prices along your route, as well. Your family’s meals are where you really have an opportunity to save money.

By bringing along a cooler and stocking it with bottled water and snacks, you can eliminate many costly restaurant meals. Limiting restaurant meals to dinners can trim quite a bit off of your expenses.


While some costs simply can’t be reduced, others can be affected through thorough planning. If you belong to travel organizations, or if your employer offers other discounts, you may be able to shave down your expenses considerably. Once you have an idea about what the relocation will cost, some internet research can help you save on that budget.

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