How to Pay for Your Move

At a glance

Moving is expensive. Between hiring movers (or renting a truck), buying moving insurance, and purchasing packing supplies, you’re probably wondering how on earth you’ll pay your moving costs and still afford your new house or apartment.

If it seems like you won’t be able to pay for your move, then it’ll comfort you to know there are three ways to make an expensive move more manageable:

  1. Save up and pay with cash
  2. Take out a personal loan
  3. Pay with a credit card

While the first option is the safest (and generally the cheapest), it’s not always realistic, especially if you’re on a tight timeline. All three options have unique benefits and drawbacks. Keep reading to learn more about the different ways you can pay for your move.

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KEEP IT CHEAP

KEEP IT CHEAP

No matter how you pay for your move, you should do all you can to make it as cheap as possible. This is especially true if you’re taking out a loan or paying with credit, which will add to your costs. We’ve put together a list of tips and recommendations that’ll keep your moving costs manageable.

3 ways to pay for your move

No single payment option is perfect for every person or situation, and the right choice for you will depend on factors like your credit history, how much you earn, and how much time you have before your move. To help kickstart your research, we’ve put together a few different financial scenarios so you can quickly find the one that best describes your situation.

Cash—Best for people with time to save money

Pros

  • No interest or ongoing debt
  • Potential discounts for moving services

Cons

  • 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 move.

In a recent survey we conducted about the finances of moving, 40.4% of those polled said that they paid for their moves 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.

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GET YOUR BOSS TO PAY FOR IT

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. Before you start budgeting and booking, ask your manager or HR representative which relocation costs your company will cover.

Personal loans—Best for people with good credit

Pros

  • Lower interest rates than credit cards
  • Fixed payment schedule for easy budgeting
  • Immediate funding

Cons

  • 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 if you’ve got a good credit score—and you can safely commit to making monthly payments—a low-interest personal loan may be an option.

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.

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 NerdWallet’s list of personal loans for moving expenses.

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WARNING: ADDITIONAL DEBT CAN AFFECT YOUR MORTGAGE

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

Pros

  • Quick and convenient payment

Cons

  • Steepest interest rates
  • Convenience fees
  • 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.

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A CAUTION ABOUT CASH ADVANCES

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.

Recommended resources

While there are ways to pay for an expensive move, it’s always better to reduce costs rather than shell out thousands of saved or borrowed dollars. Luckily, we have guides and recommendations to help you save big:

Sources

About Joe Roberts

Joe Roberts
Joe Roberts is a professional writer with a degree in writing studies and over three years of copywriting experience. He previously worked at Overstock.com, where he wrote about furniture, home decor, and moving. Joe has moved all over Utah, so he knows his way around a moving truck—and he spends his time (and money) expanding his personal library so it will be even heavier next time he moves.