How to Budget for a Cross Country Move

List of expenses for moving

Moving to a new home is expensive, and this is especially true if you are relocating to an entirely new city or state, transporting a large amount of personal belongings or moving to a property that may need work. If you take the necessary steps, however, and know what costs you need to consider, you can keep the amount of money you spend on a move well within your budget. So, what costs are associated with moving?


  • Rent (first and last month) or down payment
  • Realtor fees
  • Maintenance supplies and repair costs
  • Security deposit
  • Utility deposit
  • Application fees

Planning for all of this ahead of time will help keep you on budget. Your new home will likely cost you the most it ever will when you first move in, and even before you do so if there are application fees and realtor fees. If renting, you’ll also likely need to pay a security and utility deposits in addition to rent. Some initial maintenance may also be needed when you arrive. If you’re renting, most repairs should be on your landlord. However, you may still be responsible for little things (although be sure to talk to your landlord if anything is damaged upon arrival).

Moving and Travel

  • Packing supplies (boxes, tapes, labeling materials, etc.)
  • Moving services (truck rentals, moving containers)
  • Tips and additional costs for movers, gifts for volunteers
  • Transportation costs (airline tickets, fuel, hotels, meals, etc.)

By evaluating your needs and options well before the move day, you can determine which moving method is best for you both financially and in terms of convenience. For example, hiring a moving truck service may be more expensive than transporting everything yourself or renting a truck, but if you need to move and get settled quickly for a job, it may be best for your budget in the long run. Additionally, using crumpled up newspaper and picking up free boxes from warehouses or others who have recently moved will help save you money on packing supplies.


  • Storage facilities
  • Gifts for friends holding furniture and other items (until you can pick them up)

If you’re trying to stay within a moving budget, spending extra on putting items into storage (either at your current location or near your new home) may be the last thing you want to do. However, it is sometimes necessary if you are only staying for a short period of time and need a place to put your extra stuff. Be sure to look for deals at different storage locations, and consider renting a moving container (like a shipping container that can sit in your driveway for months) for larger items instead of hauling them to and from a storage facility. Even if you get a friend to hold some of your belongings for you, the respectable thing to do is to thank them with a gift of some kind, big or small. Always determine what items may need to be stored well before you start packing up to move.

That being said, if you are still looking for a new home that fits within your budget, be sure to use RentFinder’s search tool.