The Costs Of Bringing It All

Posted on May 28, 2008 by Eric 
Filed Under Automobile, Frugality, Moving

Yet another great moving tip…My brother has been planning a long distance move that’s supposed to happen next month. Until I talked to my mother the other day, I had no idea how much it would actually cost him to move halfway across the country.

I figured it would probably cost a few thousand dollars when all was said and done. I was wrong.

By packing and loading a truck himself he’s saving some money, but he’s still having to pay someone to drive that truck long distance. He’s moved long distance before and the “load it yourself” plan was much cheaper then hiring a full-fledged moving company.

However, it’s been quite a while since that last big move and he’s accumulated a lot of stuff over the years. It’s easy to do after living in one spot for a long time. The problem is that hauling all that additional stuff means higher costs.

It’s now going to cost over $5000 to get all that stuff carried long distance in a moving truck.

On top of that, he plans to rent a UHaul to bring the items he doesn’t want to send with the movers, and he’ll haul one of his cars behind that truck. His wife will drive their second car.

When he arrives at his destination he won’t be ready to move in to a permanent residence. He plans on living with his in-laws for at least a few months (probably closer to 6 months) until he and his wife figure out where they want to move, and what they can afford for housing there (the cost of living will be higher in his new city of residence).

But, his in-laws don’t have any room for all of the stuff he’s bringing with him. This means he’ll have to get a storage unit for most of his furniture and belongings until he finds a new home. That’s 6 months worth of storage!

I decided to check some pricing on storage. I think based on the amount of stuff he’s bringing, he’s likely to need a storage unit that will cost around $400/month. Figure a 6 month time frame and you’re looking at about $2400 for storage alone!

There’s also the cost of gas to move across the country. He’s driving a small moving truck in addition to his wife driving a car, so it’s going to cost more in gas. He’ll also be towing a second car behind the truck, which is likely to negatively affect the gas mileage.

A quick Google search on MPG for a moving truck showed about 7-8 MPG. I’ll go with the lower estimate because he’s towing the car. The distance he’s traveling is ~1700 miles, so that’s 1700 Miles/ 7 MPG = ~242 gallons of gas. Ouch! At today’s prices (lets say $3.80 a gallon), he’ll be spending about $920 in gas for the UHaul!

So, just looking at estimates on the major expenses (not including the second car that his wife will be driving, snacks/food and lodging along the way), we’re potentially looking at:

That’s a total of nearly $10,000!

To make this move cheaper, I’d try to avoid moving everything.

If you were able to reduce the amount that had to be moved by half, that could potentially remove the need for a secondary truck, reduce the cost of the initial move (let’s say by a third but I’m not sure), and save on storage by being able to rent a smaller unit at the final destination. If you were able to sell a some of it before you left, you could save yourself a bundle AND earn a little extra cash!

Sometimes you just gotta let it go…Maybe you really like that sofa, but is it really worth the amount of money you’ll have to spend to move it and then store it? What if the new house is smaller due to the higher cost of living and you don’t have room? Could you get a new sofa after moving into the new house for around the cost you would have paid to move and store your old one?

In his case, most of the furniture isn’t new or very expensive. Some of it is sentimental (from a relative who passed), so I understand taking those items. But do you really need everything? The move might be a good chance to clean house.

I know it’s hard to let go of things and “downsize” and I’m concerned about bringing up this particular idea with my brother because I think he might feel defensive. I doubt many people would enjoy hearing that they might be better off financially by selling some of their belongings. I feel it’s still something to, at the very least, consider for a long distance move like theirs.

Melissa and I downsized our belongings considerably when we moved. We’re actually still doing that, reducing even more the clutter and unused stuff in our lives. I hope I can help my brother see things similarly. I know it will give him more peace of mind with the move as well as help them keep more money in their pockets while they make this transition.

Do you know anyone who’s had a similar situation? How did they save money during their long distance move?

Image Sources: Just-Us-3 and The Consumerist


60 Responses to “The Costs Of Bringing It All”

  1. jay on May 28th, 2008 11:15 pm

    Yep. I moved cross country (coast to coast) in an MGB. I had 6 boxes shipped. That was it. Oh and I had two old favorite chairs freighted, piggybacked with someone else’s stuff, once I had a place to put them. If I hadn’t had family to stash ’em for a while I would have sold them, just I did most of my other belongings.

  2. Rachel @ Master Your Card on May 29th, 2008 7:23 am

    I have never moved long distance but what you say about downsizing or selling stuff before you go makes a lot of sense. Imagine the cost difference if just one truck could be used.

  3. Krista on May 29th, 2008 8:19 am

    Every time we move I downsize a little more. The running joke in the family is that once we are ready to move to Hawaii (6 years or so… after the kids are grown) we will have nothing left. Little do they know, but that is the plan.

    My brother and SIL have a house full of stuff. They are planning to move from Ohio to Florida in the next year or so and are pretty overwhelmed with the thought of decluttering. I keep telling them that it is easier to declutter than it is to move it, and if they have a yard sale or ebay it, they just might make enought o pay for the move!

  4. Dawn on May 29th, 2008 10:03 am

    I’m not moving far, less than a mile or so, but already I am looking at ways to educe costs. One way is selling or giving away anything I don’t need. I am even having a big garage sale to help get rid of whatever I can. Another is I am going to use Craigslist to see if I can find movers who can give me a break on the cost of hiring someone.

  5. SavingDiva on May 29th, 2008 11:15 am

    I’m planning a big move at the end of the summer, so I know your brother’s pain. Luckily, I don’t have $10k floating to move.

    To keep the price of my move as cheap as possible, I am:
    –Giving my siblings my furniture (they’re getting new places)
    –Selling an possessions that my siblings don’t want
    –Giving away any items (freecycle, craigslist, friends, neighbors, etc) that I can’t sell or give to my sisters
    –I will only use my Impala to drive down.
    –I have a bike rack to carry my two bikes down.
    –I will only bring what I can fit in my car.

    Gas is going to be the major cost for my move. I will have to replace my furniture when I get to Texas, but I will try to keep it as inexpensive as possible.

  6. Faron Benoit on May 29th, 2008 4:39 pm

    $10 000? :O I’ve only had to move once and I was lucky to be able to move my stuff little by little for a couple of months. I agree about downsizing, we always tend to have way too much stuff/clutter.

  7. Sabrina on May 30th, 2008 9:25 pm

    You can do with way less than you think. We have made a few cross country moves, and we have cut our possessions in half. Your brother is doing it the smart way, but it’s still expensive. Live is a journey, though, so sometimes you have to move.

  8. Kim on May 30th, 2008 10:19 pm

    You think that’s bad…I have a dear friend that has gotten herself into a huge financial mess…she and her husband made every mistake possible – 3 mortgages on their house to put an addition onto it and build a new garage, massive credit card debt for new clothes and furniture and eating out, brand new cars every few years, etc. Finally it caught up with them when her husband lost his high-paying job a few years ago, and they made the decision recently that they have to either sell their beautiful house of 25 years to pay off all their debt or declare bankruptcy, since they have been paying all their groceries and gas with credit since he lost that job (rather than change their lifestyle). They have chosen to sell, take the $40,000 or so that will be left after they pay off all their debts ($235,000), rent a place for a few years, and hopefully get themselves back on their feet to buy again down the road.

    Now here’s the ridiculous part – they are moving approximately 5 miles. Instead of doing it themselves, they have hired a moving company…and it is costing $5,000! To move 5 miles down the road! Even though they have several friends and relatives that own pick up trucks and have offered to help them move, they went ahead and hired a moving company. I can’t believe it. And on top of that, they are moving to a substantially smaller place but can’t stand the thought of parting with some of their things, so they are also paying storage until they can (hopefully) move into a large house again.

    It is so amazing to me…they haven’t learned a thing…they continue to make mistakes and waste money. At this rate they will be left with nothing in the bank soon and no house. She is so sad and depressed, I feel bad for her because she is crying all the time, but you just can’t talk any sense into them at all. They are almost 50 years old and starting all over again.

  9. Make Friends, Earn Money on May 31st, 2008 11:08 am

    personally I would consider only taking the essentials and buying new things when I arrived, but I appreciate that not everyone likes the thought of that.

  10. Burnski on June 2nd, 2008 7:49 am

    I just read a good post on moving at Mommy Gets Paid (

    I didn’t even know you could get moving supplies from Craiglist and other sites. It’s a good idea!

    However, it doesn’t help that $10K in moving costs your brother is facing. Yowza!

  11. debt consolidation unsecured on June 5th, 2008 11:49 pm

    Garage sales are the best way to get rid of useless stuff before you move and will return some bucks.

    When we moved we also found that was easier buy new furniture than pay for moving the old one so this might also cut costs but need to be planned carefully.

  12. Gary Diamond on June 9th, 2008 1:28 am

    I would say down size take the bare essentials!!!! Especially if your brother is going to be living with the in laws, rather sell everything but the money away and buy once they have a new place much better idea!!!!!

  13. Erin(new comment) on June 11th, 2008 8:11 pm

    I have a feeling his gas expenses will be higher. Most moving trucks take diesel which is about $4.70+ here in NC.
    When we moved cross-country we had a large Budget truck my husband drove. It got SIX miles to the gallon. Thankfully gas was cheaper at the time, but we still spent a lot on gas to move 2,100 miles.

  14. Jerry(new comment) on June 20th, 2008 10:44 am

    We are moving across country for two months, and then overseas for a few years. This leads us into downsizing BIG time. Almost all of our furniture is gone, with a few precious exceptions, and we are getting really brutal on deciding what clothes to keep and what to send to Goodwill. We are buying a (new) trailer for less than the cost of a truck rental, and that will save us a bunch as well, especially if/when we sell it upon arriving on the Left Coast. All in all, getting creative and being very discriminating on what to keep is giving us some insurance that we will save money over what we might have spent, otherwise.

  15. Alisa(new comment) on June 30th, 2008 5:38 am

    I moved about 700 miles a few years ago. Money was tight so I didn’t have a lot to spend. So, I had a Tag Sale (everyhing stayed in the house and I put prices on the items for sale… people came in and purcased what they wanted) for two weekends and sold about 90% of what I owned. A few special pieces I kept. My brother happened to mention that our cousin’s ex-boyfriend was a professional mover (I am glad they were still on speaking terms!) He moved the remainder of my stuff (I just had to wait until a delivery brought him close to my pick up and destination points) and charged me less than 1/2 of what the other professional movers quoted me.

    The entire move cost around $600.

    I would highly recommend selling what you don’t want. Tag Sales are easy, fun, and you can make money to help with your expenses. If you are going into a new place chances ae you may want a few items anyway.

    Be Well.

  16. Looby(new comment) on July 2nd, 2008 10:02 pm

    Yup- I moved from the UK to Canada a few years ago. I have a few boxes at my parents, got rid of everything else and started over.
    Literally my partner and I came with 3 cases between us. Your brother won’t need furniture to begin with, so he can take his time and save for new items or search for good deals that will fit in his in-laws.
    When it comes down to it there is very little that cannot be replaced. If I were him I would embrace this as a perfect opportunity to purge.

  17. Gary Diamond(new comment) on August 1st, 2008 12:56 am

    I have commented on this before, it would really be great for some new posts.

  18. Sarah(new comment) on August 1st, 2008 2:09 pm

    I agree, time for a new post. It’s been over 2 months!

  19. Talk About Debt(new comment) on August 20th, 2008 2:57 am

    I love this post. I have downsized twice which made me really popular with some members of the family as they got a fair bit of furniture for free. I then moved us into a much smaller family home where even if we could afford to buy more things we don’t really need but like, there is no where to put them. We save a fortune.

  20. Emily(new comment) on August 27th, 2008 4:04 pm

    I agree with everybody — downsizing is key. If you sell some of your largest furniture pieces (that aren’t family heirlooms) you make money, and then save tons of money in mover costs, storage costs, and even gas since heavier weight lowers your MPG. You can buy a new couch or whatever, maybe even used, for way less than it would cost you to bring your exiting one with you. I wouldn’t downsize if I was moving in the same city, but once you start moving far enough away, it becomes crazy to take everything with you.

    Also, see if you can find friends with pick-up trucks if it’s a local move! That will help.

  21. Coco(new comment) on September 1st, 2008 12:09 pm

    I’m so glad I am only moving 7 miles away!

    That was a very good insight, thank you!


  22. stocks(new comment) on September 15th, 2008 9:59 pm

    I know that when I moved from Colorado to California, we found someone to drive my vw bug out here (broke down on the way, oops) but I’m sure that there are services out there similar to that for moving and having them drive the Uhaul, if you trust them…

  23. Pays to live green(new comment) on October 1st, 2008 6:08 am

    I totally agree that reducing the amount of stuff you have is critical to a cheaper and smoother move. I just moved this past weekend. The move was about 20 miles away and by throwing out stuff we don’t need and selling tons of stuff on craigslist, we only needed on small truck and didn’t need movers to reduce the costs dramatically.

  24. stocks(new comment) on October 1st, 2008 8:59 pm

    We may have to be moving soon, and now I get to task my wife of getting rid of everything that she hasn’t worn in a year. Donate it to Goodwill, and maybe even get a write off for it. Thats just a few less boxes I have to carry and that we have to move, it certainly adds up, but hopefully she won’t want me to get rid of my books, (i don’t know when I will need “applied cryptography” by bruce schreiner, but I may need it someday…(see how a pack rat works??? heeh)

  25. Jennifer(new comment) on October 8th, 2008 1:32 pm

    Wow! We moved ourselves from CO to OH 2 years ago and between the Uhaul, gas, hotel along the way, etc. we did it for under $3000. We wouldn’t have been able to afford to move, if it had cost us $10K. Wow! It can certainly be done cheaper tha that.

  26. isa savings(new comment) on October 16th, 2008 7:56 am

    Yet another one!Garage sales are the best way to get rid of useless stuff before you move and will return some bucks.

    When we moved we also found that was easier buy new furniture than pay for moving the old one so this might also cut costs but need to be planned carefully.

  27. Caroline's Debit card loans(new comment) on October 29th, 2008 6:54 am

    Charities will take larger items and you can also consider house clearance companies. We recently moved and found that planning ahead and not leaving everything to the last minute helped reduce the stress levels.

  28. stocks(new comment) on November 1st, 2008 7:09 pm

    Yeah, garage sales are a great way to get rid of stuff, but unfortunately, a horrific place to be at because the wife usually ends up getting something that we don’t need and end up selling in our own sale at a loss… :(

  29. retirement(new comment) on November 3rd, 2008 6:51 pm

    I try to downsize our junk every time I move. Craigslist has been a great help and the cost of storing everything just didn’t make sense for us.

  30. Gary Diamond(new comment) on December 1st, 2008 4:07 am

    Hey guys its another new month and no new posts really love this site but running out of stuff to read:)

  31. Kim da Cook(new comment) on December 1st, 2008 4:22 am

    Would really like there to be some new posts on this site, its been forever since there has been.

  32. Armen Shirvanian(new comment) on December 2nd, 2008 3:57 pm

    The costs of a trip such as this are much higher that would be estimated from a quick guess. One tends to downplay the effort needed to make such a move until the costs start to be planned out, and then the thinking about whether to keep items starts to occur.

  33. Afternoon Rally(new comment) on December 9th, 2008 2:39 pm

    I recently had to decide between a job offer in another city and decided to take the offer in town. Even if I could have sold my house (without a big loss in this economy) I’d have to incur BIG moving costs. Realtors fees, vans, packing materials, security deposits, repairs on the current home and such all add up and I’m not sure if everyone who moves realizes how much it can cost.

  34. Sarah(new comment) on December 30th, 2008 2:49 pm

    Maybe they both died thus the lack of posts for 7 months.

  35. stocks(new comment) on January 4th, 2009 4:02 pm

    Eric, when are you going to start posting again?

  36. KimdaCook(new comment) on January 12th, 2009 4:58 am

    Sarah, I have to agree with you on your comment

  37. Gary Diamond(new comment) on January 13th, 2009 1:43 am

    Here is to the New Year and to some new posts this year too

  38. isa savings(new comment) on January 14th, 2009 11:12 am

    Would love to say a Happy new year to all you guys that have added value to others knowledge by sharing their views.

  39. Meeting rooms(new comment) on January 14th, 2009 11:15 am

    I hope you’re fine. I exchanged mails with you sometime last year but ever since I have not got replies to any of my mails. I hope you’re fine.Paul

  40. KimDaCook(new comment) on February 2nd, 2009 1:21 am

    Hi everyone, its another new month and still no new posts hoping that all is well with everyone and hoping that there will be some new post soon.

  41. Gary Diamond(new comment) on February 2nd, 2009 2:01 am

    Wow into the 2nd month of the new year its already flying by, guys hope you are well and that we can look forward to some posts this month

  42. Kim Cooking(new comment) on February 5th, 2009 3:37 am

    Are we ever going to see anything new here, I guess ill just keep coming back to see if there are.

  43. ISA savings(new comment) on February 5th, 2009 4:41 am

    I try to downsize our junk every time I move. Craigslist has been a great help and the cost of storing everything just didn’t make sense for us.

  44. Nicole Caverta(new comment) on February 14th, 2009 10:34 pm

    I found your blog in Google News search.

  45. Gary Diamond(new comment) on March 3rd, 2009 12:32 am

    Another month and still nothing new, what is going on here??

  46. Fred @ One Project Closer(new comment) on March 29th, 2009 3:37 pm

    Hi Eric,

    Just found your blog looking for blogs with similar names to ours… (yours is VERY similar!) We’re One Project Closer (a home improvement blog). Very cool site, sorry to see it inactive for nearly a year. Guess you guys found better things to do than blog :-)

  47. Kim da Cook(new comment) on April 1st, 2009 12:49 am

    Hi Guys
    Another month and still no new posts?

  48. Sarah(new comment) on April 30th, 2009 8:56 pm

    Wow it’s almost been a year since their last post. I’m beginning to really think they are dead. I was half-joking before. RIP guys.

  49. Kim da Cook(new comment) on May 4th, 2009 1:07 am

    What has happened to you guys??? Are still there is every thing ok with you, please just do a post so that we know that you are all good.

  50. Sue | Cater(new comment) on May 4th, 2009 2:01 am

    I was really hoping that there would be a new post or two here but I still see that there has been nothing new, it would really be awesome to see some new recipes are something here again.

  51. Kim Diamond(new comment) on May 4th, 2009 2:36 am

    Its funny that there have been no updates, like everyone else has said lets hope you guys are fine and well and lets hold thumbs that there will be new posts soon.

  52. Kim da Cook(new comment) on May 31st, 2009 11:23 pm

    Its been months and months since there has been an update, starting to wonder if anyone is still checking up on this post???

  53. Sue | Cater(new comment) on June 1st, 2009 3:12 am

    A new month have come again and there is still nothing happening here, where are these people, we need new post please

  54. Hidden Object(new comment) on July 24th, 2009 2:36 am

    Hey, are you going to update your blog? It was very interesting to read.

  55. dance folk(new comment) on December 15th, 2009 8:48 am

    Quarantine is for living organisms: animals, etc. Electric guitars are charged customs fees based on the value of the item being imported. You’d need to post the “value” or cost of the guitar in order to get an answer.

  56. Natalie Office Chairs(new comment) on January 11th, 2010 12:46 am

    Happy New Year to all
    I find it very surprising that there are still no new posts here, I hope that you are all ok and that you have a wonderful 2010

  57. Natalie Office Chairs(new comment) on February 3rd, 2010 2:49 am

    A new year another month, and still no posts here, hope all is well and that we can have something new soon. Keep well!!

  58. Achekian(new comment) on March 11th, 2010 12:54 pm

    A new year another month, and still jo posts here, hope all is well and that we can have something new soon. Kewp well!!;

  59. mom business(new comment) on March 24th, 2010 6:03 am

    By lining up our truck side by side with a competitor’s truck, it’s easy to see a big difference in deck height. Our trucks were designed for families to load right from their house, while our competitors’ trucks were clearly designed to be loaded by professionals at a loading dock.

  60. Nancy(new comment) on July 17th, 2010 5:38 pm

    12 years ago we moved from CA to PA. We figured the cost of selling most of what we owned, getting rid of more…and taking a 6×12 uhaul trailer VS renting a larger Uhaul and bringing everything with us.

    Granted it would have been tough as my husband and I were the only drivers in our family at the time. And the 10 children wouldn’t have fit in the truck.

    We figured it was going to cost us a good 5-6000 more to rent the truck one way from CA to PA the trailer was on a weekly rental not miles. Oh, and that wasn’t counting finding someone to drive the big van and flying them one way. I had just had a baby 2 weeks before we had to move so for me to drive cross country was out of the question.

    We blocked off an area in the garage the size of the trailer and very carefully packed. What didn’t fit we got rid of.

    I don’t regret getting rid of it all. Most was easy to replace once we got here and it was kinda fun setting up house again.


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