save money on a long distance move

Woo wee. Pardon our absence while we have been moving across the country and trying to get settled into our new (to us) place. The past week has been a whirlwind. We were really sad to leave our friends and family in Utah. It was harder than I imagined.

Moreover, it is considerably more hot and humid in Tulsa than anticipated. I have described contractions during labor as feeling like the cruciatus curse. I now take that back, and describe having to run errands in the afternoon in Tulsa in 100 degrees with 100 percent humidity as the cruciatus curse. Despite the weather, we love our location where we are living. We are a stones throw away from a river with fun parks and biking trails, Trader Joe’s, and tons of fun cafes, restaurants, and shops.

Hey moving with a toddler is no joke it turns out. M is just as excited to throw things out of drawers and closets as I am excited to put them in. Both of his grandmas have spoiled him to death with lots of attention this past week. Danny’s mom flew M out here to Tulsa so he did not have to endure the 18 hour road trip which meant he got to spend a couple extra days at her house. My mom has been soaking up her time with M while we unpack. We are lucky. My feels go out to you moms and dads who do not have family nearby and somehow survive each day.

We calculated the cost of our move, including the cost of furnishing our new place. We quickly learned that stores like Home Depot and Lowes are giant time and money pits to be avoided:

Uhaul plus car towing dolly thing: -$967.00

Gas: -$264.94

Hotels: -$173.59

Furniture/stuff for house: -$1070. This included items such as shelves, toy storage, j-hooks and other weird screws, a new doorbell, and blinds.

Total cost of moving (so far): -$2533.94

One thing we negotiated before deciding to accept Danny’s job was a small moving stipend in addition to a generous sign on bonus. The moving stipend was small, but it sure came in handy:


Our total out of pocket has been: $1533.94. (so far).

That could have been a nice trip back to Hawaii. But on the bright side, we did move far away from the mountains, lakes, and family to live in the middle of nowhere so there’s that. Hehe just kidding. Tulsa has actually been pretty rad. The people are SO nice and we love our little house.

Here are some quick and easy take aways from our move:

NEGOTIATE a moving package with your employer.

One of the best ways to save money on a long distance move is to start by talking to the person or people who wanted you to move in the first place. Of course, not every long distance move is due to starting a new job. But, if it is, you can always start by asking for a moving package from your employer. Most big companies offer moving packages to entice potential employees to move. But, even if you aren’t working for a big company who has already offered you a moving package, don’t be afraid to speak up and ask for one during your salary negotiations. For example, the dental practice that Danny is working for is a relatively small chain of dental offices, but he was able to get $1000. While that is not the biggest moving package in the world, it DEFINITELY helped offset our costs in moving. But he had to ask for it. It wasn’t on the table when he was originally offered the job. So, don’t be shy. Moving is going to be expensive. You need all of the help you can get.

Bring your own food. 

Another great way to save money on your long distance move is to bring your own food and snacks on the road with you. We saved big money by not eating out every time we stopped. We had snacks on deck in the car so that we did not ever have to stop for fast food. Eating out can blow up your budget quickly. Plan ahead– it is so worth it.

Save on hotels.

You can save a ton of money on your long distance move simply by choosing to save on sleep. You can do this by using deal-finding websites, such as Priceline, to find a good hotel. Or, if you are really feeling frugal, you could always sleep in your car or camp. I personally preferred to stay in a budget hotel so that I would feel rested and at my best to make the two day drive.

Move your own stuff.

One of the most expensive parts about moving is hiring movers to pack up and or move your stuff for you. Not only are there a million moving scams out there, but even the good guy movers are still crazy expensive. The best way to save money on a long distance move is to do it yourself. That means packing your things yourself, loading up the truck yourself, and heading out yourself. Enlist the help of family, neighbors, and friends to help you load and unload. Buy them breakfast and snacks or other inexpensive gifts to show your appreciation.

Buy second-hand home goods. 

One really expensive part about moving is moving in! Inevitably there will be things that you didn’t realize that you need in your new place. I’m talking blinds, (our house didn’t have ANY! Somehow we didn’t notice this when we looked at our house five hundred times when we filmed for House Hunters), trash cans, curtains, art work, that kind of thing. There are so many wonderful used, good home products out there (I’m talking furniture, trinkets, that kind of thing). Not only will it be nice that the things you own will have a story, but it will save your budget. You can find great deals at local thrift stores, Amazon, eBay, and your local Facebook Marketplace.

That is all from me. Back to unpacking. Three cheers to hoping you and yours won’t have to move anytime soon! xo

save money on a long distance move

Are you moving? Have you moved? What has worked for you to save money on a long distance move, I’d love to hear from you!

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  1. I think we spent close to $5,000 moving from Massachusetts to Dallas, Texas. I hired a moving company, but still have our stuff got broken. It made me realize that it’s cheaper to just throw things away and buy new stuff, unless it’s really high quality furniture.

    I actually took a trip up to Tulsa about 6 months ago. It’s weird to say but OK is a bit greener.

  2. I actually don’t mind moving too much. Our move to the Tulsa area 4 months ago was the 8th move in our 8 years of marriage. We already know that we’ll be moving again in March, although it will be a local move this time.

    Our move to T-town was from a place close to 500 miles away so we had to get a rental truck. Altogether it cost us around $1200 in expenses to move, $750 of that was from the truck rental. We don’t have much for a family of 5 and could replace everything we own for $1800 with the exception of our electronics. If we had to replace all that too we’d be looking at around $3500. We keep that in mind when we’re looking at the cost of our moves.

    1. 8 moves in 8 years! Amazing. I definitely think it would have cost us more to get new stuff than to keep what we have, despite what almost everyone tells me (that we should have sold everything and started over) so I’m happy to know your calculation of your own stuff! We were definitely similarly situated

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