The Financial Details of Our Move


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Middle of Nebraska

We’ve spent the last month settling into our new home, figuring out where to put this or that or whether a mirror should ever be hung over a toilet (actually, still disagreeing on that one). But for the most part, our new place feels homey and unpacked and familiar. And we finally have a chance to talk about the move that brought us here — more specifically, all the costs we incurred getting here.

So let’s begin, shall we? This was the first move in a long time where we actually moved ourselves, rather than having a company move us. So we cut costs as much as possible, while still getting ourselves and our stuff across the country in one piece.

Moving Supplies

Because we broke our lease and were moving out of a co-op, we were given very short notice on if and when the move would be happening. Just three weeks before we were supposed to be out of our apartment, we found out the move was likely happening. But we didn’t know it was a sure thing until three days before the girls and I left town. Gotta love NYC. Actually in that situation, you don’t — at all. It was incredibly stressful not knowing for sure if we were moving. We had to plan as if we were, while still being cautious. Because of that, we waited as long as possible to buy moving supplies. And when we finally felt reassured enough to order them, the only place that could get them to us in time was Amazon. So we ordered it all from there! Here’s what we bought and how much we spent:

  • Lock for Uhaul – $13
  • Moving blankets – $93
  • Moving boxes – $148
  • Mattress bags – $15
  • Bubble wrap – $15
  • Stretch wrap – $14
  • Cushion foam – $11

Total: $309

Moving Truck

So it turns out that moving from east to west is a thousand times more expensive than moving west to east. Okay, not a thousand times, but over double. The price for a moving truck from NYC to Utah is $2,500. Meanwhile, a moving truck from Utah to NYC only costs $900. I know, gross. So in order to save money (because we just can’t help ourselves), Johnny got creative. After doing some research, he found out that renting a moving truck in, say, Maryland is $1,378 cheaper than in NYC. So that’s exactly what he did. Even with renting a car (which we had previous, free credit for), driving down to Maryland, picking up the truck, and coming back, he still saved us $1,350. The grand total for the moving truck with taxes and fees came to $1,242.

Moving Out of Our Place

Fun fact about management companies in NYC: they’re the worst. No, really. There’s no worse business than a property management company in Manhattan. I could write a 10-page manifesto on the subject, but I’ll refrain for now. When we called to schedule our move with our management company, they informed us that we were not allowed to move ourselves out of the building, that we had to have a professional moving company move us. Mind you, this was one week before we were set to leave, so hiring a professional company was next to impossible. And I let them know this as I laughed hysterically at their horribleness. We would have just bucked the system and moved ourselves anyway except that we had a $1,000 move-out deposit on the line, which we’d already paid. So we frantically called around for a moving company who could send over a couple of guys to assist us and provide proof of liability insurance to our management company. We struck out at least three times and then finally found a company who could do what we needed, which cost us $220. And for the record, we still haven’t gotten our $1,000 move-out deposit. Not cool.

Road Tripping Across the Country

Securing the rental truck is half the financial battle when you’re trekking across the country. The other half is staying fed, having a roof over your head, and keeping your gas-guzzling truck full as it carries all of your earthly possessions. I was nervous about Johnny making the move by himself so we flew his brother out to accompany him during the three-day trip. Johnny scored Priceline Negotiator deals on hotels at each planned pit stop (South Bend, IN and Middle-of-Nowhere, NE) and shaved off a third night by adding a couple extra hours to each day’s drive. He also managed to book hotels that offered free breakfasts, so fast food for lunch and dinner kept food costs to a minimum. By far the biggest expense was gas. The 16-footer averaged an abysmal 9MPG. Multiply that by 227 gallons and you’ve got a hefty gas bill.

Hotels – $150
Food – $60
Pork rinds, jerky, and other ungodly “man” snacks – $15
Gas – $650

Total: $850

Plane Tickets

While Johnny was driving himself and all our stuff across the country, I took the easier route and boarded an airplane — with a two-year-old, a three-month-old, and a very anxious cat in tow. Because I literally didn’t have enough hands to handle all of them on my own, my sister was kind enough to fly out and help. She got a short stint in NYC out of the deal, and we paid for her plane ticket back west with us. We also had to pay a $100 pet fee in order for Persie to sit under the seat in front of us for six hours. As mentioned earlier, we flew Johnny’s brother out to NYC so Johnny wouldn’t have to drive across the country all by his lonesome. Most of the plane tickets were covered by airline miles, but with the pet fee and tickets combined, we spent $250 on flying.

So the move cost us a grand total of $2,971. For what we’re now saving in rent by no longer living in NYC, I’d say it was well worth every penny. For a hot minute we considered using movers, but we realized that would have cost around $7,000. So we decided to pocket that $4,000 and put in some blood, sweat, and tears of our own. We are so glad that’s all over now. The next time we’re thinking of moving, please remind us to never, ever do it again!

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8 Comments

  • Reply Taylor Lee @ Engineer Cents September 8, 2015 at 7:16 am

    Glad y’all were able to get moved safely and presumably with all your stuff! Moving is a pain, but at least it’s a temporary state of chaos. Hope you enjoy the West.

  • Reply Suzanne September 8, 2015 at 7:31 am

    Very interesting read Joanna! It sounds like you both went through a fairly stressful time in getting the logistics of it all sorted and with two kids into the mix. Is your new house your family home now or is there still one more move in you?!!! Its good to be able to take a breath when its all unpacked and you can finally see the wood from the trees! On a side note, I definitely think you shouldn’t hang a mirror over your toilet…ever. :-) :-)

  • Reply Tara September 8, 2015 at 8:06 am

    I’m surprised it cost so much to rent a truck for you guys in the city. We got a Budget truck out of Brooklyn and it was no where near that expensive to move to Philly. Granted, it’s a 2 hour drive vs. a 3 day drive but did you guys try rentals in the outerboros or from different companies? Glad it all worked out. :)

  • Reply Money Beagle September 8, 2015 at 12:47 pm

    I think that the one ting that has kept me from living in more parts of the world is just the headache of moving. You laid it out very nicely both in terms of what to expect and the costs. Thanks for sharing and good luck with the many more adventures ahead!

  • Reply Maddie September 8, 2015 at 12:56 pm

    We found renting a truck to be ridiculously expensive as well when we went to move to the west coast. We ended up finding a company that just does NYC to CA moves and hired them. They were about $3000 and packed up our large belongings, carried those and all the boxes we’d packed out to their truck and then unloaded and rebuilt any belongings here in CA (like beds and book cases). It felt like it was worth it once we factored in paying for gas, hotels, and food. We also miraculously got a moving stipend from my husband’s new school so that helped offset our costs tremendously.

  • Reply Alicia September 8, 2015 at 2:53 pm

    Smart getting hotels with free breakfast! This was a great read. I never thought about getting a moving truck for somewhere else. Of course, I didn’t realize their cost was that much different depending on where you got it. We’re gearing up for a move in a few years, but I’m already planning how to make sure it’s smooth, economical, properly saved for, etc…I’m pinning this for later reference!

  • Reply Mrs. Crackin' the Whip September 8, 2015 at 2:55 pm

    That’s some impressive savings for moving yourselves vs. using movers. And the money you’ve save in rent costs is exciting too! I’ve only moved once in my life and that was across town. It was not fun to say the least. If we ever moved across country I would be highly tempted to sell 90% of what we own!

  • Reply Ronnica, Striving Stewardess September 9, 2015 at 11:24 pm

    Moving cross-country IS so expensive! Unfortunately, I moved from lower-cost-of-living North Carolina to Denver so I’m not saving any money by the move, but I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be and that is everything.

    Thanks for sharing the numbers!

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