Hands down, one of the most popular blog posts on this site (STILL) is this one: How I Moved to New York City with No Money. Granted, my moving story took place in 2010, but since the impact of the pandemic continues to linger, many are considering moving, both voluntarily or out of necessity. So, I thought it was time for an update.
With that said, moving out of state is much more stressful than moving locally. The moving costs are higher, you have to travel with a huge amount of things, and figuring out logistics can be a headache even under happy circumstances.
Even if you’re deciding to move in with relatives, moving out of state is no small feat. The aim of this post is to give potential families-on-the-move something to chew on and a few ways to ballpark and budget for costs.
COVID-19’s Impact on Moving
COVID-19 adds another layer of difficulty to moving. As many as 22% of people have moved because of the pandemic. Many decided to move in with relatives to cut down on living expenses, or to be closer to family. Thousands have expressed fear of living in a big city, due to higher exposure rates. But also, if we're all going to work virtually now, why not live closer to family?
Research indicates young adults are most likely to move, whether it be moving in with family, or moving to more affordable housing.
Not to be captain obvious, but the pandemic is definitely having a big impact on people relocating.
Reasons for Moving Out of State
COVID-19 isn’t the only reason people might decide to move out of state. Before the pandemic took over, there were several other reasons for relocating.
- The most common reason for moving out of state is accepting a job offer. Many people find they can get better pay working in a different state than their current one.
- Others might move out of state to make room for a growing family. You might decide you want to be closer to family, or raise your kids in a more supportive environment.
- People in long-distance relationships might move out of state to move in with their significant other. You might be ready to move in with your boyfriend.
- Starting or finishing school can also be a common reason people move to another state. Even with the pandemic still in full swing, there are many students who are moving states to go to school, with protective measures in place.
- Some college graduates move back home with their parents, especially in light of the high unemployment rate at the moment.
- Other families might decide to buy a home in a place with better living costs, or a supportive environment for their kids.
Moving Cost Factors
It is hard to give a definitely answer to “how much does it cost to move?” because there are several factors that influence the cost of your move.
There are three primary things that determine how much you'll spend on a move:
- If you hire movers or DIY
- Timing of your move
- How much you have to move
For moving out of state, most decide to work with a professional moving company who will do the driving for you. The moving company you decide to work with will greatly impact the cost of your long-distance move.
Many out of state moving companies factor in distance for their moving cost estimate. The licensing and gas required to move out of state also varies depending on how far you go.
If you don’t have any money for moving costs, you can still move out of state. It’s just going to be much more difficult. If you can pare down everything you need to fit into one car, that’s going to be much cheaper than hiring movers to lug all of your things across the country.
Basically – the further you move, the greater the cost.
Timing of your move
In non-COVID times, moving during the summer would cost more than moving at any other time of the year. Traditionally, parents want to move kids between school seasons, so there’s a higher demand for moving services during this time. Meaning, if you move in the summer, you're competing with others for moving resources.
You can also save money on your move by shipping items instead of hiring a moving company. I did this when I moved back from New York City to Georgia in 2012. It took six weeks to get my things, but I had clothes and stayed with my parents in the interim so it wasn't the biggest deal.
If it doesn't matter when you get your items, you can save money on your move by being flexible on your timing and shipping via services or a pod instead.
How much you're moving
Whether you use a moving company or ship your items, the amount of stuff you need to move will also impact your overall costs. If you’re only moving a small apartment’s worth of stuff, it’s going to cost much less than moving an entire house.
Most moving companies and flat-rate shipping services determine cost by how many trucks you'll need or how much your items weigh.
Local Vs. Out of State Moving Costs
Local moves are generally easier and more affordable than moving to another state. However, you may not always have the option to stay local.
Here’s a breakdown in the costs between moving locally and relocating out of state.
Cost of moving yourself
Moving locally means it’s easy to grab a few friends and a truck and move yourself. It’s also pretty easy to find a short distance moving service for fairly affordable day rates.
When moving yourself, all you have to pay for is gas, moving supplies, and possibly lunch for everyone involved. If you or a friend has a truck that you can use to lug your furniture, it’ll be even better.
Most likely, you'll still need to pay for a truck. Using a truck for a small move can cost you between $100-300, depending on how far you go. Or you can try renting a small flat-bed pickup and making multiple moves in a day.
Cost of moving with movers
On average, you can expect to spend $25-$40 per hour per mover. However, you’ll want to do your research before deciding to work with movers. Make sure they’re licensed through the U.S Department of Transportation (USDOT). You’ll also want to take a peek at their Better Business Bureau records, and see if they’re affiliated with any moving associations.
Out of State Moves
Out of state moves can get pricey fast. There’s really only two options for moving out of state. Renting a truck and doing it yourself, or paying for movers. When you’re moving out of state, you’re going one way, which means you need to work with a company that’s licensed to do interstate moves.
Renting a Truck
Renting a truck and moving yourself is likely to cost you around $2,000. For that price, you get a 5 day time period and 1,250 miles. Along the same lines, you can also rent a shipping container and have it transported.
Paying For Movers
Full service movers can run you anywhere between $4,000 and $10,000, depending on the movers and the distance. You also have to pay for insurance for your things.
Bear in mind whether you're moving three blocks or three states over, you'll still have to budget for turning utilities on and off at your new place, boxes (which you can save or thrift from other sources), moving supplies like packing paper and tape, and new items that don't travel well like toilet bowl brushes and refrigerated items.
And, as always, there are cheap ways of doing things and more expensive ways of doing things. The price of your move really depends on how much you have to spend, how much time you have available, and if the stress of moving it all yourself is worth saving the extra money or not.