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?
I thought it was about time that I give an update on how things have been going lately. I know I have been noticeably absent around here. I am getting closer to being in a place where I’m able to get my life and schedule back to where I need it to be.
We have officially moved to the new home! We spent our first night in the new place ten days ago. Although we are technically living here now it still doesn’t feel like home. It feels foreign and strange. I assume that feeling will linger until we get a schedule and routine in place. The fact that most of our possessions are still in boxes probably doesn’t help much either.
The place looks like chaos and it is taking a surprisingly long time to unpack. Unpacking the kitchen is particularly painful because I feel the need to analyze the best places for everything to go. Flatware should be close to the dishwasher and the pyrex dishes should be close to the oven. But wait, now where does the Tupperware go? I’m finding that trying to optimize the space complicates and draws out the unpacking process. I even find myself taking things out of boxes and putting them into other boxes while I figure out where they need to go. How is that unpacking? *sigh* I’ll get there eventually.
We’ve had our share of home related issues, too. I know Eric told you about the burglary of our appliances. We did get replacements and the new microwave was fixed on Monday. In addition to that drama so far the A/C broke down, the front door stopped latching, the dishwasher wasn’t pulling in water, and after taking the first shower we discovered that the master shower doesn’t drain. Just yesterday the plumber was finally able to fix that. The drain was stopped up with mortar and rocks from the tile guys. Nice. Luckily, our builder has been great so far and has been prompt to fix any issues we report.
Having so many repairmen and installers coming in and out of the home has been very hectic. And we still have more work needing to be done. Whenever you have someone come to install something, say window blinds, just expect that they will need to come back again and again. At least, that has been the case for us so far. Installs never seem to go as planned.
Not forgetting about the “old house” has been a challenge, too. Despite wanting to get the new home set up as quickly as possible we still have to fix up the old home to get it ready to go on the market. And with the holidays quickly approaching it appears we won’t even be able to get a crew in there for an estimate until after Christmas. This week we also discovered that we will, in fact, have to replace the roof due to recent hail damage. Awesome!
It’s a good thing we decided to postpone some of the big purchases in the new house (like landscaping and sprinkler system) just in case. We realized that there could be unexpected repair or carrying costs associated with the old home and that it would be better to have that cash available if we need it. Looking back that was a very good decision, especially now that we have to pay the deductible for the new roof and won’t have the house ready to be listed by January as we had hoped.
Seriously though, it isn’t all headaches and stress. We love the new home and look forward to making it more “our home” as time passes. The kitties seem to enjoy all the extra space, too. I need to be patient though, and get the old house fixed up and sold first, before focusing too much on the new place. Every day that house sits while not ready to be listed is money in carrying costs we are throwing away. Getting that house sold has to be our first priority or we could run out of savings with the double mortgage payments.
Whew – that was a long and rambling update. I am looking forward to getting back on track with writing and hope to be back to my more frequent posting schedule by the end of the year. Thanks everyone for hanging in there with me! I can see the light at the end of the tunnel now!
Image Source: laffy4k