moving boxes

Do you have a big move in your future? First of all, congratulations! But I know you must be stressing over moving costs! Finding the cheapest way to move out of state can take a little bit of finessing, but it’s certainly not impossible to do a long move on a budget.

The distance between the two homes and the amount of stuff you’re bringing will have the most impact on the costs of moving.

Moving from Atlanta to Portland will cost you much more than moving from Miami to Jacksonville, for instance. Packing up and hauling a one-bedroom apartment vs. a four-bedroom home will also vary greatly!

While it will look different for every family, here is everything you need to know about long-distance moving costs and the cheapest way to move out of state when you’re on a budget.

Expenses to consider before moving

Before you begin figuring out ways to cut down on costs, it’s important to make sure you’re not forgetting any of the hidden costs associated with moving.


Obviously, the biggest cost of moving is hiring movers. Depending on your needs, there are a lot of options for movers. Some will come in and pack your items for you, some will help you load, and others will just do the transportation.

Depending on your budget, you can get as little or as much help as you need.

Packing supplies

Everything you own must fit tightly into boxes. Packing supplies will include tons of boxes as well as bubble wrap, packing paper, moving blankets, and plastic wrap to secure your objects.

Then you’ll also need these materials to identify your boxes:

  • Tape
  • Labels
  • Markers


Depending on the move, you may need storage. This could be for moving into a smaller place than what you currently live in. You also may need temporary storage if you leave a place before moving into your next.

Couple with moving sign: Cheapest way to move out of state


Chances are, you will need to do a deep cleaning of the house after you move out and a light cleaning of the new home before you move in. Even if you do it yourself, you still may need to get additional cleaning supplies or equipment like a carpet cleaner.

Transportation costs

With long-distance moves, not only do you have to think about how your stuff will get there, but also how your family will get there too. While flying is quick and easy, most people opt to drive to transport their car, pets, and additional items.

If driving, you will need to consider the trip’s costs, including:

  • Gas
  • Accommodations
  • Tolls
  • Food


When you first move into a new house, you’ll need to completely restock the pantry and fridge. While you can bring food with you, it can only include nonperishables for long-distance moves. Also, carrying food across the country may not be worth the space in the moving truck!

And because moving is tough, there will probably be quite a few days of eating out before you’re able to actually use your kitchen.

Groceries cash envelope

Deposit or fees

When you first arrive at your new home, there may be some initial first expenses. This can include things like:

  • Security deposits
  • Condo fees
  • Homeowners insurance
  • Pet deposits
  • Real estate agent fees

Vehicle fees

If you’re moving your vehicle to a new state, you’ll need to get brand new insurance and registration. This needs to be done soon after the move, and the cost should be included in your moving budget.

The cheapest ways to move out of state

Now that you know all of the expenses, here are some of my top tips to cut down on those expenses!


The cost of the move will vary based on how many items you bring. This is why it’s essential to declutter as much as possible before moving. Ask yourself if it’s worth hauling it somewhere new or if you can replace it in your new home.

Sell, donate, and recycle anything you don’t need!

Free packing materials

People are always moving, so there will be plenty of used boxes and leftover packing paper to grab. Ask friends if they have any supplies or look for people getting rid of items on Facebook Marketplace.

You can even get free boxes from companies that don’t need them anymore, like grocery stores!

Boxes for moving

Time of move

Certain times of the month will be busier than others. You’re more likely to get a better price for movers if you schedule on a weekday and away from the beginning or the end of the month. Summer is also the busiest time for moving, so try to avoid moving during this time if possible.

Rent a truck

If you can manage to move everything yourself, renting a truck is by far the cheapest way to move out of state. In some cases, you can even tow the car behind the truck.

Depending on the truck’s size, prices can vary up to $3,000. Remember, this doesn’t include the transportation costs or assistance from movers.

For an even cheaper alternative for smaller moves, you can rent a cargo trailer that hitches to the back of your vehicle.

Ask for help

Moving takes a lot out of you! Don’t be afraid to ask for help moving from friends and family, even offering them compensation for their assistance. They can help you with packing leading up to the big move, as well as getting everything packed away in the truck.

If you know people in your new location, too, ask them to help with the unloading!

Get quotes

If you think you do need to go with a mover, get as many quotes as possible. The prices could change quite a bite based on who you pick. However, always be sure to look at the reviews!

Moving containers

A happy medium between hiring movers and doing it yourself is by using a shipping container. PODs are the most popular option out there. The company delivers the POD to your home, you pack it up, they pick it up and ship it to your destination, and then you unload your items before they take it away.

Sample moving budget

Some things you may need, others you won’t! Here are some of the most common costs associated with moving to add to your budget.


  • Mover
  • Car shipping
  • Truck/trailer rental
  • Additional rental fees
  • Moving equipment rental
  • Gas and mileage
  • Moving insurance

Transportation costs

  • Gas
  • Accommodations
  • Food
  • Tolls

Packing supplies

  • Boxes
  • Tape
  • Packing paper
  • Bubble wrap
  • Labels
  • Markers
  • Moving blankets

Deposit and fees

  • Homeowners/renters insurance
  • Real estate agency fees
  • Security deposit
  • Pet deposit
  • Condo fees


  • Pet sitting/babysitting
  • New household items
  • Storage fees
  • Cleaners
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Wiggle room

Final thoughts on the cheapest way to move out of state

When looking to move out of state, there are so many costs to consider. I hope this list helps you to set expectations for your next big move and ultimately stick to the budget you need!