The Costs Of Bringing It All
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:
- $5000 for movers
- $1500 to rent his own truck to tow a vehicle and the remainder of his belongings
- $920 for gas (just for the UHaul)
- $2400 for 6 months of storage
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!
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?