Key takeaways

  • Moving costs range from several hundred dollars to over $10,000, depending on factors like the size of your home and distance.
  • Paying cash is the best way to save money on moving costs, as you'll be able to avoid interest.
  • Personal loans and credit cards can also help front the costs of both planned and unexpected moves.

Financing your move may be a necessity depending on how far you are going and how much you have. Whether it’s planned or unexpected, moving can put a dent in your finances. According to Angi, local moves cost anywhere from $881 to $2,545, on average. Meanwhile, cross-country moves can set you back by $10,000 or more.

If you’re moving for work, your employer may cover some of these costs. But even so, it’s still a good idea to explore different financing options. This can minimize stress and help you avoid unpleasant surprises.

How to pay for a move

While moving can be expensive, there are a few ways to get the money you need. And if you are careful about it, you may be able to avoid hefty fees and interest.

Save and pay cash

Saving money for an unexpected move can be difficult. But if you know about the move months in advance, consider setting up a moving fund. That way, you minimize your need to take on debt to cover moving expenses.

To set up a realistic fund, research the cost of moving companies or trucks in your area. This will give you an idea of how much you’ll need. Next, divide the cost by the number of months until your move. For example, if your estimated cost is $3,000 and you’re moving in 12 months, aim to deposit $250 a month into a high-yield savings account.

Best for

Those who have at least six months before moving.


Bankrate’s emergency savings report found that only 44 percent of U.S. adults would be able to front a $1,000 emergency expense using their savings. Considering that moving can cost hundreds — if not thousands of dollars — this approach is best suited for those who have several months to come up with the funds.

Personal loans

If you need to finance some or all of your move, applying for a personal loan may be useful. Most personal loans are unsecured, meaning they don’t require collateral. These loans have a fixed repayment term of two to seven years, depending on the lender.

The main benefit of using a personal loan for moving expenses is their interest rates. Personal loans have an average interest rate of just under 12 percent. Borrowers with excellent credit scores, however, can secure rates under 10 percent.

By contrast, the average credit card interest rate is close to 21 percent. The interest rate on personal loans is also fixed, whereas credit card interest rates can fluctuate based on market conditions.

If you have poor or bad credit, however, you may want to think it over twice. Though some lenders offer bad credit loans, these typically come with high interest rates and fees that can make your loan quite expensive.

Personal loans can be obtained from banks, credit unions and online lenders. The application process is usually easiest with online lenders, but overall personal loans are much quicker than other loans. It can take as little as one day to get a personal loan.

Best for

Good-to-excellent credit borrowers with unexpected moves or who don’t have enough saved.


Fixed interest rates and repayment terms can make personal loans a more cost-effective alternative for good and excellent credit borrowers than most credit cards.

Credit cards

Credit cards offer revolving debt, which means that — unlike personal loans — you don’t have to reapply for credit when you need more money. One of the biggest downsides is that credit cards typically have higher interest rates than personal loans.

Let’s say you’ve crunched the numbers and expect your total expense to be $3,000. The largest monthly payment you can afford is around $100. A personal loan with an 11 percent APR and three-year term will get you a monthly payment of $98.22. Over the life of the loan, you’ll pay around $536 in interest.

Most zero-interest credit card offers run from 12 to 21 months. If you could afford to pay around $300 toward your balance every month, you could benefit from a credit card because you wouldn’t incur any interest. If not, a personal loan offers a lower payment and saves more than $400 over the life of your loan. Plus, you can’t be tempted to swipe a personal loan at the department store and add to your debt.

Best for

Those with expected or unexpected moves who need additional time to come up with the funds.


If your card offers a grace period or 0 percent introductory offer you can avoid interest — something you can’t do with a personal loan — while buying some additional time to come up with the funds.

Relocation assistance

If you’re relocating for a job, ask your new employer if it will cover some of your relocation costs. Some employers offer a relocation package, which reimburses some or all relocation expenses, as an incentive for you to accept a job.

Alternatively, you can ask for a sign-on bonus or negotiate a higher salary, then use some or all of the extra funds to cover your moving costs.

Best for

Work-related moves.


Two-thirds of employers cover the moving costs of current employees who are being transferred, according to Zippia. If that’s your situation, it’s very likely that your employer will give you a lump sum to help with the costs.

The cost of moving

Although moving costs vary, here are seven common expenses to help estimate what your move might cost:

  1. Hiring movers. This is one of the most important expenses you’ll make because, generally, you get what you pay for. Angie found that hiring movers costs at least $2,000, on average, for the full service. Costs vary widely based on distance, location, how much you’re moving and if you add extra services.
  2. Packing services. If you hire your moving company or someone else to pack up your home for you, you’ll have to deal with this cost. Angie says the average cost of packing services is $1,000 for packing materials and labor.
  3. Boxes. You will need boxes if you don’t hire someone for packing services. Boxes can generally be obtained for free from grocery or department stores. If you need containers for transporting fragile items, remember that durable plastic tubs can cost more than $20 each, depending on the size.
  4. Travel. Gas, lodging and food can add up quickly. And if you’re flying, it’s easy for a small family to rack up over $1,000 for a one-way domestic flight.
  5. Storage. If your move takes longer than expected, you might have to put some of your belongings in storage. The cost of a self-storage unit varies widely and depends on the size and location. For instance, a self-storage unit that’s 10 feet by 10 feet has an average monthly cost of up to $175, while a 5 feet by 5 feet one can cost up to $100.
  6. Item replacements. Odds are at least a few things will be broken during your move. Remember to set aside some money to cover replacements.
  7. Deposits and fees. It’s possible that you may have to pay early termination fees for services like cable or utilities. You might even have to put down a deposit for services at your new place prior to moving in.

In-state vs. out-of-state moving costs

Local moves are any moves under 100 miles within the same state, and interstate or long distance moving is any move that’s across the country or over state lines.

Type of mover Average charge Extra charges
Local/Intrastate $50-$100 per hour $25-$50 extra per additional mover
Interstate/Cross country $2,600-$6,900 per load

Source: Home Advisor

Moving costs based on house size

These are average costs for moving based on house size. The values are based on average hourly rates charged for a local move.

Size of house Estimated time of move Average price range
1-bedroom apartment 3-5 hours $150-$500
2-bedroom apartment 4-7 hours $200-$700
3-bedroom apartment 6-8 hours $450-$1,200
4-bedroom house 8-12 hours $600-$1,800

Source: Home Advisor

The repeal of the moving expense deduction

Under the previous law, taxpayers were allowed to deduct some of the costs of moving their personal belongings, plus certain travel expenses. But as of 2018, the exclusion for qualified moving expense reimbursements and deductions are both suspended until 2025. The one exception is members of the military on active duty who move due to a military order.

The bottom line

Whether it’s through savings, using a personal loan, credit card or asking your employer for relocation assistance, there are ways to cover the expenses of a move without breaking the bank. However, it’s important to carefully evaluate each option and understand the full cost of each. You should account for your circumstances and financial stability before deciding.

If your move is scheduled to happen several months from now you can avoid getting into debt by setting a little extra aside each month. But if your move happens unexpectedly using a personal loan or a credit card can make this expense more manageable.