long distance moving costs


We recently moved from Oklahoma to Arizona to pursue a couple business opportunities, most importantly, my husband’s dental practice. He went from being a W-2 employee to owning his own business, which is super exciting but also very expensive up front. Not only are we forking out tons of cash for his practice, but we also spent a good chunk of change on our long distance move. So, if you are moving soon or planning on moving, I thought it may be helpful to see just how much a long distance move costs.


Here were all of our long distance moving expenses which you can use to help gauge how much your long distance move will cost.

U-Haul truck: $1100. We looked into several different options for moving, from selling literally all of our stuff and just flying, to using a container like with Pods.

Gas for U-Haul: $350.

Gas for Toyota with amazing gas mileage: $81

Gas for Jeep with terrible gas mileage: $140

Hotel: $120. We splurged on a nicer hotel at a half way point between AZ and OK. It felt justified in the moment because the drive had been SO long, there were 4 of us plus a dog that needed a place to sleep– and I just wanted all of us to be able to relax given all the stress of moving and the stress of the drive. It was definitely a splurge though, and you could definitely keep costs down by either driving straight through, sleeping in your car, or finding a cheaper hotel (they existed! Saw plenty of deals for $60-$90. If you do choose a hotel, be sure to mention the AAA discount if you have it or check out websites like priceline.com, expedia, etc to make sure you’re getting a good deal).

Food along the drive: $30. We had sweet friends and family members pack us lots of fun snacks for the road, but still had to buy a couple of things here and there on our trek. We could have planned a little better by packing sandwiches for one or two meals. Staying at a hotel with a legit breakfast at least helped us defray food costs a little.

First month’s rent (in addition to continuing to make our regular mortgage payment): $1395. Ah we are a little sad to be going back to renting. And we’re also sad that our rent is WAY more than our mortgage payment for our house in Oklahoma. But the Arizona housing market is a little too dicey for me at the moment, plus we weren’t sure exactly where we want to permanently put down roots here in AZ, so renting seemed like the right choice for now.

Security Deposit: $1400. The security deposit on our rental was a fat $1400. And if you’ve ever rented an apartment before, despite being entitled to this deposit, somehow I never get these things back.

New (to us aka used) couch: $400. We donated our old couches when we left (PSA- Salvation Army will literally come pick up your couches for you for free if you are donating them. This was an actual God-send since we hadn’t sold our couches literally while we were loading up the U-Haul.

= $5,016! 


(1) Move yourself.

The biggest way to save money on long distance moving costs is to move yourself rather than hiring movers. Enlist the help of family and friends and you’ll save tons.

(2) Get rid of your stuff. 

We defrayed a little of our costs by selling tons of old stuff before we moved. I started selling things that we knew we wouldn’t want to move with us about six months before our actual move. I sold literally everything I could imagine, including the fence around our garden! So take a close look at your stuff and really think about what you could sell. The more stuff you get rid of, the more money you’ll have in your pocket and the cheaper/easier it will be to move.

(3) Consolidate your drive as much as possible. 

If you can do a three day drive in two days, try not to drag it out so that you can save money on a night or two of a hotel stay.

(4) Buy meals, snacks, and drinks at a grocery store.

Instead of buying your food and drinks at fast food restaurants and gas stations, opt to grab these at a grocery store before you start your move. Fast food/convenience food at gas stations can blow up your budget quickly so don’t fall into the trap.

(5) Don’t pay for boxes. 

Moving boxes aren’t crazy expensive (usually under $2 each) but little costs can really add up, especially if you are moving a lot of stuff. Save money on your long distance moving costs by getting free boxes. We did this by asking our local stores (Home Depot, Lowe’s, Walmart) about once a week when they did inventory if we could have their boxes. We did this for about a month and got SO MANY free boxes.

(6) Negotiate a moving stipend. 

If you are moving to take on a new job, don’t be afraid to ask your new employer to help you pay for moving expenses. As you can see from this most, long distance moving costs can add up quickly– it’s expensive to move even if you try to do it frugally. Moving expenses are really common, so don’t be afraid to ask.

From paying double rent, to buying gas for multiple vehicles, long distance moving costs can really add up fast. Hope you’ve found a few tips helpful so that you can save even more on any upcoming moves.

For the comments: What has helped you defray long distance moving costs? I’d love to hear from you!

Here at Deeply in Debt, we offer tons of personal finance advice based on our own journey paying off $650k of student loan debt. If you have student loan debt and aren’t sure where to start or what to do, I highly recommend the CFA’s over at Student Loan Planner to help you put together a solid financial plan for your student loan debt. We personally used them and it literally saved us over $200,000 on our student loans. You can check out the Student Loan Planner here.

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long distance moving costs

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