My husband was getting ready to graduate from college when we decided to move our family of four from Southern Oregon, back to our home state of Colorado — a 1,000 mile move!
Since we had been living on a college-student-sized budget, we didn’t have a lot of money to spend on moving, but we were committed to doing it debt-free.
I went to a do-it-yourself moving company to get estimates, and found that to move all our stuff would cost around $2,500, including gas and lodging. But if we chose to pare down and move our stuff in a trailer that we could haul, we could move for less than $1,000, including gas and lodging.
The largest trailer we could rent from this company was 6×12. Yes, that is six feet by twelve feet (the inside of the trailer is just 11.7 x 5.5, don’t ask me how I know that)!
Since we had been living on a very tight budget, nearly all our belongings had been purchased used and they were looking quite used. We considered that the amount it would cost to move everything was not equal to the value of our belongings, and that if we chose not to move those items (and get rid of anything we weren’t in love with), we could fit into the trailer. Besides, if the Oregon trail pioneers could move a household in a covered wagon, then surely we had no excuse!
Once we decided to move, we had a month-and-a-half before the big day. Here is what we did:
I dug through every room in the house and ruthlessly purged. I kept only the items that we absolutely used and wanted, and everything else was either listed on Craigslist or went in a garage sale pile.
Then we had 3 garage sales. At the end of these three sales, we had sold almost everything we wanted to eliminate.
Between Craigslist and the garage sales, we earned $1300!
Then came moving day. When my husband went to pick up the trailer, the trailer wasn’t ready on time, so we got $50 refunded to us. What a great way to kick off our money-saving adventure.
I packed breakfast, lunch, and dinner food in a cooler to save money on restaurants, and then we camped one of the nights.
By the time we paid for the trailer, gas, food, lodging, and even a visit to a zoo along the way, we only spent $900 on our move. That meant we had a whole $400 to get us started in our new home.
Even though it was challenging to eliminate so many of our possessions, we have what we need to get started. And though we will need to spend money to replace items we originally sold, I am confident that we will find a debt-free way to do this as well!
Laura Coble blogs over at Short and Sweet Moments and shares her journey as a mom, wife, and woman learning to stress-less and live in God’s grace. She is a mom to two boys and wife to her best friend. Her move taught her a lot about minimalist living and practicing Eccl 5:15 which says “We all come to the end of our lives as naked and empty-handed as on the day we were born. We can’t take our riches with us”.
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