Cash—Best for people with time to save money
No interest or ongoing debt
Potential discounts for moving services
Time and planning required
It won’t surprise anyone with a credit card, a mortgage, or student loans that debt is best avoided whenever possible. And if you’ve got time to put away a hefty lump of cash before moving day, there’s no need to go into debt for your relocation.
In a recent survey we conducted about the finances of moving, 40.4% of those polled said that they paid for their moving expenses with cash (the most popular payment method by far).
While it may require a few months of careful budgeting and frugal living, the relief that comes from having your move paid for and done with as soon as your boxes are unloaded is well worth the effort.
Plus, some moving companies offer discounts to customers who pay with cash up front. While these discounts aren’t enormous, every little bit helps when you’re cleaning out your savings to pay for a big move.
Get your boss to pay for it
If you’re moving for work-related reasons, your employer might be willing to pay for some (or all) of your moving expenses using a relocation package. Before you start budgeting and booking, ask your manager or HR representative which relocation expenses your company will cover.
Personal loans—Best for people with good credit
Lower interest rates than credit cards
Fixed payment schedule for easy budgeting
Rates that vary by lender
Immense fees for missed payments
Potential to affect your mortgage approval
If you’re moving on short notice, then you probably don’t have time to save up the thousands of dollars you need to cover your moving costs. But a low-interest personal loan may be an option if you’ve got a good credit score—and you can safely commit to making monthly payments.
While interest rates and maximum borrowable amounts will vary based on which lender you go with and how good your credit is, this option is often better than maxing out a credit card.
In the United States, only 3.6% of the people we surveyed said that they paid for their moves by taking out loans. This may be because people are more familiar (and perhaps more comfortable) with credit card debt.
If taking out a loan sounds like the ideal option for your situation, but you’re not sure how to find a trustworthy lender, we recommend checking out Fiona's personal loan options. Fiona (previously Even Financial) is an online tool that pairs you with top loan providers to match your situation.
Warning: Additional debt can affect your mortgage
If you’re trying to close on a mortgage, talk to your realtor and your lender before taking out a personal loan or using a credit card for your move. Since banks take all of your debts into account during the home loan approval process, adding several thousand dollars of debt to your credit report might cause your bank to deny you a mortgage loan.1
Credit cards—Best for high earners
Quick and convenient payment
Steepest interest rates
Potential to affect your mortgage approval
With higher interest rates than moving loans, credit cards are often the most expensive way to pay for your move. However, if your credit score isn’t high enough to take out a loan and you don’t have time to save money, a credit card might be your only viable option.
You may be able to avoid the financial pitfalls of a steep interest rate if you can get approved for a new card with a promotional 0% APR. A card with an introductory 0% APR won’t charge you any interest within the promotional period, which can last from 6 to 21 months after you open your account.2
If you get approved for a new credit card that charges no interest for 12 months and use it to pay for your move, you’ll need to pay only the principal amount you borrowed as long as you pay it all off within the 12-month period.
However, after the promotional period is up, any amount of debt still left on the card will start accruing interest at the usual rate. Some cards may apply that interest rate to your entire initial balance (called “deferred interest”) even if you have just pennies left to pay off. This is why we recommend this method only to people who earn enough money to quickly pay off the amount of credit they use.
Despite the potential dangers of credit card debt, 29.6% of people we surveyed said that they paid for their moves using credit cards, making this the second most popular payment method after cash.
A caution about cash advances
Most credit card companies allow cardholders to take out cash advances on credit.3 If the moving company you’re working with gives discounts for cash payments, you might be tempted to use an advance to pay for your move.
However, we strongly recommend against this since the fees and interest rates on cash advances would likely cost you more than you’d save by paying with cash.
Frequently asked questions
How can I resell my furniture to help pay for my move?
If you want to make some extra cash to pay for your move, you can sell your gently-used furniture on consignment sites like Chairish for a percentage of the sales, or to a local resident for cash on apps like OfferUp or Craigslist.
Should I use a personal loan to pay for my move?
If you've got good credit and can readily handle monthly payments, taking out a personal loan for assistance with a move may actually be better for you than putting moving expenses on your credit card. That's because you can usually get personally loans with lower interest rates than most credit cards.
Are credit cards a good way to pay for a move?
Using a credit card for your relocation can be more expensive in the long run, but it may just be the best option for you if you don't have the best credit score for a loan, but you also don't have time to save. That said, if you sign up for a card that doesn't charge interest for 12 months or longer, you can avoid paying more than what you borrowed as long as you pay within that time.
How much should I save to move?
The amount you should plan to save depends on how much moving assistance you'll need. The average person spends about $1,128 for a truck rental, $3,800 for a container move, and $9,060 to hire professional movers.
How are gas prices affecting moving expenses?
Gas prices are significantly increasing the cost of moving expenses nationally and across most industries. Considering the national average for gas has increased from roughly $3.20 per gallon to over $4.00 in the last year, it doesn't matter whether you plan to drive yourself or hire movers...you'll probably still want to mentally add a few hundred more dollars onto your budget for gas.