Author Topic: Need Advice for a cross country move  (Read 3590 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Need Advice for a cross country move
« on: December 17, 2014, 09:51:47 AM »
Pretty late to the MMM party it seems.  We've always lived what we thought was frugal (it's all relative I know) but compared to the MMM tribe we've got a lot to learn.  Hoping to learn some right now.

We live in Virginia and will be moving for my wife's continued surgical training in San Diego this summer.  We have a toddler and one on the way in March as well as our first baby (a black lab).  We have a 2010 Honda Insight (worth 7.5k, owe 11k) and a 2011 Toyota Matrix (worth 12.5k, owe 8k) and a decent amount of stuff we want to move to CA.  We used PODs (yes, multiple) in our move from FL to VA.  We are renting here because it was only a 4 year stay and we lost all of our equity in FL due to downturns and short sales.

I'm thinking we need to ditch both cars and acquire a mini-van to move the kids and dog across the country.  This will also allow us to bring what we need prior to the POD (singular) arriving.  I'm leaning toward having only one vehicle in CA since the plan is for me to stay home with the kids in CA for many mustachian reasons.  Even though I have an earning potential of around 75K daycare costs for two are very high.  Plus my wife will be working 80 hours per week and I think I can take better care of the kids, family, myself, and the house if I'm home.  I hope to supplement with a part time worship arts pastor salary at possibly 12K, performing tasks I do now voluntarily.  My wife will earn around 65k.  She completes her training after the two year stint in CA and her income will jump dramatically.  We will have no money worries then but will be working toward her early retirement.

I'm looking for any advice or numbers I can crunch when it comes to the cars and the move in general as well as living in SD as a card carrying member of the mustachian nation.


« Last Edit: December 17, 2014, 09:55:13 AM by Ham-Bone »


  • Magnum Stache
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Re: Need Advice for a cross country move
« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2014, 10:06:42 AM »
A mini-van might seems unnecessary for two kids and a dog.  I'd definitely make that decision separately from the move.  You could always rent something for the trip.

The secret to a cheap and easy move I've found is to not bring much with you.  My girlfriend, her sister, and her sister's boyfriend moved from Arizona to Illinois a few years back, with two dogs and five cats, and all their worldly possessions, in a 2009 Kia Spectra5.  I'm not saying you have to go that extreme, but even just ditching furniture saves a LOT of space.

I did a purge of a lot of stuff AFTER my most recent move, which really was quite backwards and silly.  And even though it was only a move of a few miles, it still would have been a lot simpler (and cheaper) if I had done that pre-move.  I don't know what a POD costs, but just judging it based on what it is, I can't imagine it's cheap.


  • Handlebar Stache
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Re: Need Advice for a cross country move
« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2014, 10:10:24 AM »
Wait.... she makes 65k but works 80 hours? My sister does this but she is in residency. Is your wife in something similar in that the future income is for sure a big hike? Or she'll burn herself out, you better make sure nothing is wrong with the home or kids if you plan to stay home, or you might end up looking at a short marriage?

And I'm not entirely sure how far 65k will stretch in SD if you need space for 2 kids/dog/2 adults. Though this is only speculation, I haven't lived there before. I mean it's doable, but I'm not sure how high of a savings rate you can keep up at the same time (20% or less?).

on the moving side, if you sold all/most of the large items like furniture/tv/table, and just end up moving smaller boxes with clothes/pans/shoes/etc, my sister used the amtrak train to move items and it was cheaper than the PODS (more inconvenient but you are staying at home right? So you can do most of the packing/unpacking/transporting to the train station). But factor in the cost of the truck/van/elephant you'll need to move the boxes from station back home.


  • Handlebar Stache
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Re: Need Advice for a cross country move
« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2014, 10:24:59 AM »
That matrix is a nice car, I like those. I know it is kind of expensive, but it may be worth it to just pay it off and keep that one.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: Need Advice for a cross country move
« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2014, 10:37:52 AM »
@ ketchup, I hear ya, I'm just not sure how cramped we want to be.  2 adults, a toddler, an infant, and a dog in the Matrix for 41 hours seems like a bit much :)  A mini-van is about $500 for the week so that could work.  But how do you ship cars?  Do you just sell them both?  A used Kia Sedona is around $10K.  I purged a lot before VA but man did I have a lot.  Such a pack rat.  I'm getting better.  I'm also a musician so I have drums, guitars, amps, etc.  Worship Arts Pastor is my calling so it's hard to ditch too much.  Plus, before it was just a matter of making/spending/saving.  Now the goal is much bigger.

@eyem, yup, VA was a 5 year residency and CA is a two year fellowship.  That's why I'm not too concerned with savings rate.  We haven't done enough in the last 15 years so what's 2 more when her income will be 300K+.  We'll be able to catch up quick.  I thought about selling lots but most of our stuff is 10 years old and not going to be worth much.  It seemed cheaper to spend $2K on a pod and move it all.  Plus, I don't really have time to sell stuff on this side of the country.  I work 40, commute 10 (yes, I know, big mistake), put in about 10 at church, and then take care of the household.  I also appreciate the concern for the marriage, I"m glad that perspective is brought up here.  We're fine though, been married for 13 years and have been through a lot together.  We're a great team.

@skunkfunk, I agree and they're hard to come by.  I'm just not sure how to move it to CA other than driving.  Plus, with the Insight underwater I'm not sure where it would leave me in the end.  I realize now that the Insight was only a good deal if I were to drive it until it died.  With 30k miles a year it just loses value too fast.

Thanks everybody!


  • Bristles
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Re: Need Advice for a cross country move
« Reply #5 on: December 17, 2014, 10:46:14 AM »
If you want to do the move without a van you

a) Rent some kind of normal sized car
b) Put half the people and pets and stuff in your 1 car you keep, half in the rental car
c) Drive on down!

Then you aren't stuck with a van at the end of the trip. And a car + a van seems like more space then you need.. so car + car wins!

(Or what I would do personally: 1 car + rented uhaul. Save a lot of money over pods)


  • Walrus Stache
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Re: Need Advice for a cross country move
« Reply #6 on: December 17, 2014, 10:47:01 AM »
I agree buying a minivan just for the move is likely a bad decision. If you have a legitimate need for one in San Diego that's one thing, but your Matrix is easily large enough for a four-person family's daily travel needs. Have you already paid for the POD? If not, you could always rent a truck for the move. You could put one adult and one kid in the truck; put one adult, one kid, and the dog in the Matrix; and sell the other car.


  • Magnum Stache
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Re: Need Advice for a cross country move
« Reply #7 on: December 17, 2014, 10:49:46 AM »
Pods are expensive as is shipping a car (about $1000-1200 when I did it this year).  Renting a uhaul (actually a budget truck) plus a hitch cost $3000 which also included gas, food, & camping costs in 2009. 


Wow, a phone plan for fifteen bucks!