If you are moving out of state, you’ll realize that the costs can add up quickly. Although any move will have some expenses to consider, it is possible to curb your moving expenses by planning ahead. Today we will share an extensive moving out of state checklist to help you cut the costs of your upcoming move.
Table of contents
- Why use a checklist for moving out of state
- 2 months prior to your move
- 1 month prior to your move
- 2 weeks prior to your move
- 1 week prior to your move
- 3 days prior to your move
- Day of your move
- The week after you move
- Expert tip
- Create a moving budget
- What is the first step to moving out of state?
- How do I prepare to move out of state?
- What is a good budget for moving out of state?
- What to do after moving to a new state?
- Articles related to moving out of state
- Use a moving out of state checklist to save money!
Why use a checklist for moving out of state
When you are preparing for a move, a list can be a helpful way to make sure that everything is accomplished. With any move, many tasks will need to be done for a successful outcome. But if you want to know how to save money while moving out of state, an organized list can be even more helpful.
By preparing in advance, you can potentially avoid any surprise expenses. Plus, you’ll be able to budget in advance for these planned expenses.
Here’s a comprehensive moving out of state checklist to help you create a smooth moving process.
2 months prior to your move
While it might seem like your move is still far away, time can and will move faster and faster the closer you get to moving day! Do these things 2 months in advance to help you stay organized.
1. Visit and research your new hometown
Once you know where you are going, it is a good idea to visit your new hometown. Although a trip out of state can be expensive, the scouting mission might be well worth the cost. If you have the time to be there for a few days, you might even consider making it a vacation with a vacation budget.
Do some research, so you have a better understanding of the cost of living, crime rates, and how close you’ll be to good hospitals, schools, etc.
You’ll be able to look for a new place to live without hauling all of your belongings around with you. Of course, you can skip this step if you already know the area pretty well.
The main purpose of visiting is to determine if you like the new neighborhood you plan on moving into, what the town is like, and overall, to be sure that this is somewhere you want to live before you go through a long-distance move.
2. Contact and make decisions about schools
If you have children, you’ll need to contact the new schools in your current area and your new home. Children can transfer schools, but there will be some paperwork involved on your end.
Create a binder or get a notebook to keep track of paperwork and anything you need to do so that your kids can start school when you arrive.
3. Keep track of expenses and start budgeting
Begin listing expenses and create a moving budget in advance. That way, you’ll be ready for the costs.
As you spend money, be sure to keep track of it by saving receipts or by tracking it in your banking or budgeting app. It’s a good idea to know how much you’ve spent on your cross-country move for future reference and also to know if your move will take more money than you originally thought.
4. Take a couple of days off work to move
Moving to a new state takes some time, even if you are super organized. You should ask for time off from work in advance.
Give yourself at least 2 days off and more if you can afford to. You’ll need the day of the move off from work, and likely the next day, as well, to sort through boxes and get settled.
If driving to your new location is going to take multiple days, then you may want to request 3 or 4 days off or even a whole week.
5. Find an affordable apartment
One key feature of an affordable move is finding an affordable place to live.
In most cases, you’ll likely choose to rent in your new city before buying a house. With that, seeking out an affordable apartment should be a top priority. Check out our top tips for how to find cheap apartments.
You might also choose to work with a real estate agent who can help you with the renting process.
6. Declutter your home
The more items you have to move, the more expensive your move will be.
With that, a crucial pre-moving activity is a spring cleaning of your current space.
Take the time to go through your belongings and pull out what you don’t want anymore. You might be surprised at the sheer amount of stuff you are willing to part with.
Once you have determined what you want to get rid of, try selling the items. You can sell everything from used books to coveted designer handbags. Consider a garage sale if you have enough stuff to get rid of.
As you pocket the cash from selling your stuff, save it to put towards your upcoming moving expenses. Find the best places to sell textbooks online, and also find out how to sell designer handbags for cash!
Don’t skip this task on your moving out of state checklist! It’s a double win because you’ll have less to bring with you and more money in your pocket to fund your move.
7. Hire trustworthy movers or go the DIY route
If you are moving out of state, it can be tricky without the help of movers. And it’s especially true if you have a large amount of stuff to take with you. If you are hiring movers, make sure to do your research ahead of time.
You want to work with a reliable moving company that will take care of your belongings throughout the process. Steer clear of any moving companies with bad reviews.
Although working with trustworthy and professional movers can make your life easier, the DIY moving route will save you a substantial amount of money. Rental moving trucks are more affordable and might not be too cumbersome to drive.
Of course, moving across the country will take a tremendous amount of time and effort. With that, don’t forget to include the cost of your time when making this decision.
1 month prior to your move
One month before the big move is when you’ll start to make major changes and decisions that affect your daily life.
You should take the time to handle important paperwork updates. In addition, you can begin packing.
See these next ideas on your moving out of state checklist for the month before your move!
1. Look into state residency requirements
It’s important to look into residency requirements for tax purposes, and you can also find out how long you have after moving to the state to become a resident.
Check out the rules by state for residency, and find the websites for each state where you can get more information.
2. Get insurance and registration updated
When moving to a new state, you’ll need to update all of your insurance information. It isn’t the most fun part of moving, but it’s better to get it taken care of now.
Some types of insurance that you’ll need to update include:
- Car insurance
- Home insurance (it may not take a full month to get this, but you should at least find out when the best time to change this is)
- Renters insurance (you can also transfer it)
- Health insurance
In addition, you’ll need to register your car in your new state, as well. While you will likely have time to do this after your moving date, it’s important to know what’s needed in advance and have a plan for handling this soon after you move to your new state.
Do research and write down the necessary steps.
3. Get your moving supplies for free
Instead of spending your money to pay for moving supplies like boxes, you can find these items for free. In the weeks leading up to your move, save any shipping boxes that arrive at your home.
You can also find free boxes at big-box retailers. At most stores, all you have to do is ask, and you’ll find a large supply of free boxes.
You can check out your local grocery stores and restaurants to see if they have any boxes that they’re giving away for free. Then just start collecting as many as you can.
4. Start packing any non-essentials
Begin packing up the boxes for anything that you want to take with you but don’t use regularly. Which might be books, out-of-season clothes, and some furniture.
Whatever you can live without for the next few weeks, pack it up. After all, whatever you pack now can save you time when the move is approaching.
2 weeks prior to your move
2 weeks before you move to a new state, things may start to feel hectic. But remember that you’ve already gotten a lot of things done, and there’s still plenty of time when you use the moving out of state checklist.
Do these things a couple of weeks before you move for a smooth transition to your new home:
1. Forward your mail
When you move, you have to let everyone know about your new address. Not only will you want to tell family members, but also let any creditors know ahead of time. Otherwise, you could miss an important notice or a bill that needs payment.
You can use the USPS website to get your mail forwarded. It will give you time to formally change your address and still receive your mail in the meantime.
But of course, if you can inform those that might need to contact you of your address change in advance, that’s even better.
Notify the credit card companies you have a card with, as well as any other companies that you have expenses with, like a phone bill or other expenses affected by your move.
Also, let your doctor or hospital know, and inform social security, insurance providers, the IRS, etc.
2. Pack everything that you can
Don’t leave the packing until the last minute! It can be time-consuming, so now that you’ve packed the non-essentials, start to pack anything that you can do without for a couple of weeks.
Items that fall into this category likely include paperwork, favorite books, unused electronics, and spare dishes.
3. Take care of medical needs in advance
Choose a primary care doctor in your new state, and also be sure you have access to things like prescriptions for the first few weeks after your move. If you can, get your prescriptions filled for the next couple of months.
Research a dentist, a pharmacy, and other medical professionals you need to see often.
Then, forward your medical records to new doctors if possible.
4. Transfer your utilities
You will want the utilities set up at your new place before moving in. It’s one of the most important items on your moving out of state checklist!
With that, you should set up the transfer ahead of time. That way, you’ll be able to enjoy the basics of electricity and water at your new place immediately. Other things you may need include sewer, trash, internet, and anything else you’ll need at your new home.
Then be sure to set up your utilities at your new home before you move in.
5. Cancel all memberships before you move
Before you leave town, take an afternoon to cancel all of your local memberships. You don’t want to be charged for a local gym membership when you no longer live in town. It’s another one you don’t want to skip on your moving out of town list.
Some examples are not just your local gym but also any magazine or newspaper subscriptions that are delivered to your home. You can also cancel any memberships for specific stores that you may no longer need to use or have nearby, like Costco.
1 week prior to your move
A week before your move, you’re down to the details. Here’s what you need to do in your last week with the moving out of state checklist.
1. Host a goodbye party or plan to say goodbye to loved ones
Your friends and family will likely want to spend time with you before your move. Planning to get together with them a week before gives you plenty of time and will keep things from feeling rushed.
Take the time to plan a get-together at someone’s home or, at the very least, meet up for coffee with friends and family before your move. There are also plenty of fun family night ideas you can try while visiting with parents and extended family before leaving.
Be sure to give them your new address and invite them to visit in the future!
2. Finish packing
Everything that you haven’t already packed can now be loaded into boxes, bags, and suitcases. Pack absolutely everything, and be sure to check every nook and cranny for forgotten items.
Pack up items in cupboards, drawers, and don’t leave anything behind. Once you finish packing, don’t forget to double-check every room.
3. Plan your meal budget
Decide how much to spend on food on the day of the move and the first couple of days after. Often, the easiest thing is to eat takeout or fast food during this time since you’ll be so busy.
If you really don’t want to spend money in this way, be prepared with pre-made meals and also plan to run to the grocery store when you arrive at your new home.
It’s helpful to make a plan for your meals in advance either way, so you know how much money to budget for this.
And while you’re thinking about budget meal planning, now is a good time to clear out the fridge. You’ll need to have it empty on the day of the move, so removing everything you don’t plan to take with you or eat before you leave is smart.
3 days prior to your move
3 days before you move, most of your paperwork should be handled, and your items will be packed. Here are the next things on the moving out of state checklist to finish up before leaving.
1. Clean your apartment or home
If you are leaving a rented space, then take the time to clean out your apartment. Without a thorough cleaning, you might not get your security deposit back.
While you are at it, check the lease to see if you need to fill in any holes left behind from your wall hangings. An inexpensive jar of wall putty can help you get hundreds of dollars back.
2. Take photos and walk through the home with your landlord
Taking photos of your old rental can help you get your deposit back, so it’s an important step to take! Be sure to get a record of damages and photos that show what day and time they were taken.
Additionally, walk your rental with the landlord to ensure you can answer their questions and that there are no problems.
If you’re moving from a home that you own, then the process is different. Though it’s probably still a good idea to take photos of any home damage just in case there is a problem in the future.
3. Ship your car
Depending on time constraints and how far you are moving, you might have to ship your car. Although you could drive it yourself, it is not always a good use of your time.
You can decide if shipping your car is worth it by getting a quote. Then weigh the transportation cost with the financial and physical costs of driving to a new state.
4. Keep your essentials available
When you are packing your bags, start by packing a suitcase of everything you need to live for a week or so. With all of your necessary toiletries close at hand, you won’t have to run to the store for items that are buried in your boxes.
It is also a good idea to pack a box of all your important paperwork to keep with you throughout the move. You’ll feel more comfortable knowing that all of your documents are in one place throughout the chaotic moving process.
Additionally, besides clothing, toiletries, and paperwork, pack another few boxes of necessities for your first week in your new home. Which might include things like the coffee maker, towels and bedding, and anything else that you’ll need right away when you move.
Day of your move
The day is finally here! Use these moving out of state checklist ideas to stay organized.
1. Stay organized with paperwork
Keep a list of all necessary numbers for the movers, utility companies, real estate agent, etc. Anyone you might need to contact for information or help with the move.
You can keep all this information in your phone or a binder and have it with you at all times.
2. Pack your meals
Either pack easy meals that are inexpensive, like sandwiches, or use money that was set aside in the budget for eating out.
If you are packing lunches and dinners, then you can do so the night before or the morning of the move.
In addition, you’ll need to have a box of kitchen essentials with you so that you can make coffee, dinner, etc., when you arrive at your new home.
You might also need a cooler to fill with ice and keep drinks and snacks cold during the day. Doing this isn’t much of a hassle if you prepare in advance, and it can save you money!
3. Keep a master to-do list
Keep a master list of everything that you need to do on moving day with you at all times. You can keep this with all the important numbers. Either on your phone or in a notebook.
The important thing is that you have a place to keep track of anything you don’t want to forget, and you can write it down to look over later. Organization will help with stress levels and also in a practical sense.
Some things you might include on your master list:
- Tip movers
- Return keys
- Don’t forget any items
- Drink water
- Walk through the new house
- Double-check with utility companies about dates
4. Do a walk-through of your new house and make note of any problems
Ideally, on the first day before you move furniture in, you should do a walk through of your new house.
Take photos of any damage or maintenance issues you notice, and make note of any problems. That way, you can see if you’re liable to fix a maintenance issue or if the old owner is.
And this is also a good idea for safety, as well. You can check that locks, windows, and doors work properly.
In addition, check smoke detectors, carbon monoxide alarms, etc., to ensure that all are functioning properly.
Doing this soon after you arrive will ensure peace of mind in your new house. Here’s a list of things to check in your new place.
The week after you move
After moving, you can finally breathe easy! Many of the most important things are done, but there are still a few to take care of so you can get settled in your new home and state.
1. Get a new driver’s license
When you move to a new state, you’ll need to update your driver’s license at the DMV.
Additionally, you’ll need to update your car’s registration if you own a car.
According to Bankrate, you’ll need to go to your local DMV, bring paperwork (check the DMV website), and then you’ll simply fill out the paperwork and take any necessary exams. There could also be a fee.
2. Update your voter registration
Don’t forget to update your voter registration! You’ll need to register in order to vote in your new state.
Depending on your opinion, this may not be a high priority, so don’t feel too rushed to get this done.
However, it’s probably something you’ll want to get done in the next couple of months.
3. Get to know the neighborhood
Meet your neighbors, walk around the neighborhood, and drive around. See what stores, parks, and restaurants are nearby. Check out any interesting places.
It’s important to do this so you can feel more grounded in your new environment.
4. Make friends and meet people
Try to introduce yourself to the people you see often, such as the people in your local coffee shop, your neighbors, and the teachers at your kid’s school. That way, you can start feeling more at home quickly.
5. Make changes to your finances
A move is a big deal and counts as one of the major life events, and your budget may be affected. Even if you planned for new or different expenses, it’s a good idea to take a look at your current budget and see if it still works.
Account for any new costs or anything that costs less than it used to. Then you’ll be on track for the next few months.
6. Change the locks at your new home
Changing the locks is the smart thing to do after a move. Even if the old homeowners turned in their keys, multiple other people could have keys to your new home, so it’s essential to get the locks changed as soon as possible.
Although you can do this yourself, the benefit of hiring a locksmith is that you know they will do it correctly. Schedule an appointment right away when you move in.
Expert tipAlthough moving out of state is a big project, you can make it easier by using a moving checklist and staying organized. List out any expenses (even possible costs) for your move, so you can have a better idea of your total expenses long before you move.
Even with budgeting and making it a point to make your move inexpensive, if you find that the cost is too much, consider ways you might earn money. Try selling some unneeded items around your home, or take on a temporary side job to save up what you need.
Create a moving budget
Although the moving out of state checklist can seem long, it is important to go through each of the tasks. Otherwise, you could be skipping an important document or way to save money.
Unfortunately, the costs of moving can add up quickly. But if you look at the projected costs ahead of time, you can create a budget with budget categories for your move. With a budget in mind, you can save in advance for the expenses coming your way.
Expenses to consider for your moving checklist
Here are some expenses you should consider adding to your moving budget:
- Cost of movers (overall cost plus tip)
- Gas and car maintenance
- Meals and groceries
- Cleaning supplies
- Fees for paperwork and licenses
- Maintenance and unexpected costs for new home
- First and last month’s rent and security deposit, if needed
- Down payment if needed
- Realtor fees
- Cost of a hotel or Airbnb if you cannot immediately move into your new home
- Moving supplies
- Other expenses
Once you have an estimate of the costs for your out of state move, look for ways to save even more. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from family and friends if you need to! A little bit of creativity can go a long way when it comes to saving during a move.
What is the first step to moving out of state?
One of the first steps when moving out of state is to consider where you are moving to. If you are choosing a new state, do research and visit. If you already know where you’re moving to, consider neighborhoods you might want to live in.
In addition to this, you should make sure you secure a new job in your new state or find one that allows you to work from home with one of the high paying remote jobs.
How do I prepare to move out of state?
You can prepare to move out of state by staying organized and using lists and budgets. You should also take the time to research the new state you’re moving to so you have more information when you do move.
In addition to using lists, you should also be sure that you are mentally and emotionally prepared for your move. Take the time to meet with friends and family to say goodbye, and find ways to meet new people once you move.
What is a good budget for moving out of state?
Creating a good budget for moving out of state will depend on several factors, including whether or not you use a moving company, where you are moving to and from, and how much you need to buy when you arrive.
It’s safe to say there will be some cost involved. After creating a moving budget and listing your expenses, you’ll be able to get a general idea of how much money you’ll spend.
What to do after moving to a new state?
After moving to a new state, make sure everything on your moving checklist is done. That way, you know you didn’t forget anything.
Next, you can take a deep breath and take your time getting used to your new state, your new job, and everything else that is different.
Decorate your home, make new friends, take a class, or join a club, and use this time to try new things.
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Use a moving out of state checklist to save money!
Moving out of state is a big undertaking. However, with the help of our moving out of state checklist, you’ll be able to anticipate expenses and cut back where you can.
In addition, take the time to de-stress after your move and get used to your new city. Focus on both financial wellness and mental wellness by budgeting and also taking the time to practice a daily gratitude list as you get used to your new state.