We did it!
We moved from the East Coast to the West Coast, from New York to Santa Barbara, from sea to shining sea.
This included selling all of our furniture, shipping our car, packing our stuff, and — last-but-not-least — trundling our cat along for the ride.
Are you curious how much it cost us to move across the country? Me too!
The Logistics Of Our Move
Now that we are here, I finally have some time to crunch the numbers and see exactly how much money we spent. As readers of this blog know, my partner and I are rather frugal. We will generally try to finagle the best prices– even under high stress situations like a move. That said, we also had a lot of help from family, which was an enormous life-and-money-saver. We so appreciated the help because the move itself was a bit complicated.
Last year when we moved from Portland, we left all of our furniture and lots of our things with our relatives, who graciously gave up their garage space for free.
In our plan, Mr. Mechanic flew to Portland, met up with family there and loaded up a trailer with our things. Then he drove down from Portland to Santa Barbara with his folks. Meanwhile, I flew to Denver to see my family, taking the cat with me so the little creature could spend fewer hours in a car.
June Expenses – Non moving related
First, let’s get June expenses accounted for. As usual, these are expenses for just me.
|Final Month’s Rent||$488||Prorated amount as we moved on the 24th and arrived with just a couple days left on the end of the month. We have received notice that we will be getting our full deposit back!|
|Groceries||$101||We did our best to eat through everything in our cabinets before the move, but found ourselves going to the store for milk, eggs, and other fresh ingredients.|
|Restaurants||$38||Before leaving our little town, we had a couple of restaurants we wanted to be sure to eat at one last time.|
|Craft beer||$9||Wanted to try some final flavors from the local brewery.|
|Total||$759||This was the total I spent in June on non-moving-related expenses.|
That’s cool and all, but none of those expenses went towards the move, and that’s what we are all here for!
Cross-Country Moving Expenses
Unlike my usual expense reports, these amounts are the total spent by Mr. Mechanic and me. It made accounting much simpler to collect all of the costs before we sit down to split them down the middle.
|Car shipment||$1,300||We decided to ship the car rather than driving, for many reasons. First, when we were planning the move we only had 3 days between Mr. Mechanic’s final work day in NY and his first in CA.|
The drive is at least 5 days long, and between paying for fuel, food, accommodation, and taking off more time from work it would have nearly cost the same as just shipping it. On top of that, we moved with a cat who hates car rides, so taking a shorter journey seemed kinder to him.
|U-Haul trailer||$156||For moving furniture from Portland to Santa Barbara.|
|Fuel from Oregon to California||$204||Mr. Mechanic and family drove our things from Portland to Santa Barbara.|
|Family dinner||$127||So glad we got the chance to take the family out to dinner as thanks for moving. Their help was invaluable (and we certainly owe them more than just one dinner!)|
|Package shipping||$192||We shipped 9 boxes through UPS using their affordable flat-rate option (about $25 for one box the size of a microwave, with contents weighing less than 70lbs) and also each checked 2 large 50lb boxes through Southwest.|
|Mail forwarding||$3||Updated mail forwarding via USPS. What a great service.|
|First grocery run (Ralph’s)||$101||I got the basics: butter, trash bags, laundry detergent, peanut butter, yogurt, cheese, bagels, bread, ham, cereal, milk, cat food, etc.|
|Second grocery run (Costco)||$260||Rice, toiletries, syrup, photo hanging supplies, soap, snacks, salsa, pesto, coffee, bruschetta, eggs, goat cheese, bacon, Italian meatballs… yum.|
|Third grocery run (Trader Joe’s)||$170||All of our favorite things! Frozen meals, pastas, cheeses, vegetables, salad dressings, salad fixings, condiments, basil plant, etc.|
|Flight||$0||I knew we would be moving cross-country via Southwest so I signed up for a rewards credit card earlier in the year. (For those who are interested, the flight was 13k points.)|
|Ticket for cat’s flight||$190||It costs $95 to fly with a cat in the cabin, and I took a stop in Denver to visit family, so I paid this twice.|
|Renting a car||$85||We knew we wanted to fly Southwest for the baggage allowance and flexible pet policy, but that meant renting a car from LAX to Santa Barbara. This included insurance as none of my current credit cards have those benefits.|
|Cart fee||$6||I looked outside at LAX for an abandoned luggage cart, but I couldn’t find one. I needed to get to the rental car company with my bag, a cat, and a 50lb box with no handholds, so I decided to cough up for the cart.|
|Facebook marketplace||$105||When we arrived in SB, I immediately started hunting the local Buy & Sell groups on Facebook. I picked up a Brita water filter ($10), a black picture frame ($5), drying rack ($15), cat shelf ($15), IKEA queen sofa bed ($50), and two window racks of plants ($10). Hoping to getting around to documenting everything we bought second-hand during the move in another post!|
|Goodwill||$37||Vacuum, water boiler, clothes hangers, throw pillow, butter dish.|
|Dollar Store||$21||Kitchen sundries like foil, cling wrap, ketchup, and house things like plunger, waste baskets, and floor protector felt pads.|
|Amazon||$8||Sonicare Toothbrush heads|
|World Market||$10||Tea bag holder, sambal, and a new knife.|
|Total||$2,984||This is the complete cost for moving cross-country, including stocking up our kitchen! We will split this cost, which comes to ~$1,500 each. That’s not nearly as bad as I was expecting!|
This brings my total expenses in June to $2,251.
Given the fact that this included uprooting our lives, scrambling with logistics, and moving across the country, it’s not nearly as bad as I thought. Also, we made some money back by selling our bikes, furniture, and other items in New York before we moved, which helped offset the costs.
Assistance from our families definitely made a difference as well. We would likely have made different choices if we didn’t have a place to reliably store our stuff for the year. Plus, I enjoyed the respite with my family before heading out to California.
That said, July will also likely be a spend-heavy month as we continue to furnish our new place and replace some of our things. For example, we sold our 32″ TV in NY and are looking to upgrade to a larger one, and we still need a dining room set and coffee table. After July is over, we expect to be a bit more settled in and hopefully our expenses will settle as well!
What About You?
Do you know how much you spent on your last move?
Was there anything unexpected about our spending during a move?
What are your favorite moving tips?
Share in the comments below!