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Thrifty Moving in 2018

Resident Physicians may spend $80 Million moving this year. Are you serious? Yes. Read on.


Moving has got to be one of the most loathful things to ever do in anyone’s life. Honestly – who out there, if asked to raise their hand, would support the notion that they actually enjoy moving.


Crickets anyone?




There are few elective choices that pale in comparison. Yes, manual disimpaction sounds horrible, but it only lasts like what, an hour or so at most? Moving can last days, weeks, or even longer!


How should I move? Drive a U-Haul or pack a POD? Should I pay for movers? Let’s find out.


Moving is expensive.


According to this US News & World Report it costs about  $1,200 for an intrastate move and $5,600 for an interstate move.


In the 2016-2017 academic year there were about 100,000 residents actively training in their residency. So lets say about 1/4 or 25,000 are graduating on any given year. According to the AAMC, about 45% of physicians practice medicine out of the state where they recieved residency training.


Lets do some math and calculate estimated resident physician moving expenses:


25,000 (.55) x $1,200 = $16.5 Million

25,000 (.45) x $5,600 = $63 Million


Total: $79.5 Million.


That is a lot of money that residents will spend to relocate! Now, many assumptions were made in the above calculations. For example, there are residents who graduate will find a job in the city or near the city where they completed residency and will not likely have to move. But the point is the same: It is expensive to move and no one likes doing it. [If you do like to move send me a tweet.]


Are you moving soon? If so, read on.


How to Plan a Thrifty Move


Planning ahead is likely one of the most important things that you can do to practice frugal living in general – and it is imperative for your upcoming move.


The first step is to budget for your move. Will you get any moving stipend from your future employer for relocation? Do you have to pay that money back? If not, how will you pay for your move. [Hello Tax Return 2018]


Next, consider your options for moving. Then, find the cheapest option you are willing to suffer through and choose that one.


Below is what our move calculations looked like and a summary of each of the options we had considered for your enjoyment. Hopefully, you find this educational and informative (I would like for you to not have to give out your email address and phone number to a bunch of quacks for quotes).


Miles to move: 2,000. (All estimates below are based on this mileage)

Family Size: 6 humans. 0 non-humans.

House Size: 4 Bedrooms.

Cars: 2.

Budget: $4,000-$5,000 (hopefully as little as possible).


Truck Rental and Do All the Heavy Lifting Yourself

There are many different truck rental companies our there for your moving pleasure. The main companies are:



I have not had a bad experience with them in the past, unlikely that we will use for this move because I have a discount at Penske through AAA and Discover Card.



Never tried, but likely what we will use for our move due to the discounts we have. I would plan to tow a car so the price below includes renting a trailer for one of our cars.  The price below also includes a Discover Card 12% cash back deal which is good thru June 30, 2018.


22 Foot Truck (1200 cubic feet): $2,250 plus tax.

Gas: about $750


Special Note about purchasing the “extra insurance” from the moving truck company. In our case, we will likely be purchasing the extra insurance from Penske (included in the price above). My insurance company (Geico) will only cover a moving truck under my existing policies’ collision and accident coverage if the loaded truck weighs under 15,000 lbs.


These are the weights of Penske’s trucks…weird how they are different in the 22 and 26 lengths based on who I talked to at the company:

Penske Call Center

12 foot: 9900

16 foot: 12500 + 4300

22 foot: 26,000

26 foot 26,000


Penske Online Chat

12 foot: 9900

16 foot: 12500 + 4300

22 foot: 16,000

26 foot 16,000




Again, never tried. $3,000 estimate (nope).


They Ship, You Still do the Heavy lifting Yourself


ABF (“U-Pack”)

This is a semi truck style trailer that gets dropped off at your residences. You pay for a certain amount of room, and if you go over that you have to pay. Getting a quote through their website was about as functional as I am going to be when I am 70 and my prostate is removed. From what I have heard, not the best experience and is decidedly a “no go” in our house.



This service seems amazing! The POD(s) get dropped off at your residence. You fill up the POD(s), and they transport them to your final destination within 30 days of drop off. They will also store your POD in an environmentally controlled warehouse if need be during those 30 days.  No driving a truck for me! But, it is expensive. To fit our family without selling too much of our funiture would require one large and one small POD. To be clear all of the expenses are broken down. For example, they charge about $500 to drop off the POD(s) at my residence, $1,900 for the actual shipping, $130 for dropping it off, etc.


Large POD (857 cubic feet): $2,600 plus tax

Small POD (385 cubic feet): $2,215 plus tax

Both PODs (1242 cubic feet): $4,815 plus tax


To get a quote, you have to fill out a form online and then it will end up telling you to call and talk to one of their sales people. So, save yourself some time and just call them to begin with. They did offer 5 or 10% off the drop off fee while on the phone with them if I booked my reservation for the POD(s) which is a one time only deal when you call first. You can book the POD and cancel at no charge to you, and you are not charged until the POD is dropped off at your residence anyway so no real loss here.


Discover Card Deals will get you 10% off a local delivery fee and 30 days of storage OR 5% off a long distance shipping fee of the POD and 30 days of storage.



This is the U-Haul version of a POD. Again, smart concept but can be quite costly. You have a more finite window of opportunity (around 10-14 days) to get this delivered and they will not store it for 30 days like PODs will.


5 U-Boxes (1285 cubic feet): $4,070 plus tax


Hiring Movers


The sweetest deal – have someone else move you. I have never done this before and there are several companies out there that will do long distance moves for you. However, this is extremely expensive. I am not sure if this will fit any resident physician budget and therefore will not be discussed here. From what I have seen, factor it to cost at least double the cost of using PODs.


Packing Supplies

Here is a quick and dirty rundown of general packing supplies that I have compiled based on vendor that I will be using to prepare for our move. Prices may fluctuate so plan accordingly.


Packing Supplies U-Haul Amazon Staples Sam’s Club Home Depot
Packing Paper $10 for 200 sheets (24″x30″) $25 for 320 sheets (24″x36″) $8 for 70 sheets (24″x24″) $10 for 240 sheets (24″x24″) $6 for 70 sheets (24″x24″)
Foam Wraps  $5 (40 count) $11 (50 count) $10.29 (100 count) NA $10 (50 count)
Stretch Wrap 5″ x 1000′ $6  $9 $12 NA $8.50
Stretch Wrap 20″ x 1000′ $22  $18  $14.50  NA $22
Queen Mattress Storage Bags (2 pk) $8  $15 $18 NA $13
Ratchet Tie Downs (4 pk 1″x12′) $25 $9  NA $14 $10
Medium Box (3 cubic feet) $1.15  $2 $2.80 $4.62 $1.24
Large Box (4.5 cubic feet) $1.35  $2.50  $2.17  $5.96  $1.46



Other Moving Tips


#1 Get family and friends involved

At the end of residency (4 months away!) we are moving 2,000 miles across seven states for a one year fellowship program. Gauranteed, we have one or two places across those states where we can crash for a night, potentially reducing the amount of money we will spend on hotels.


So, ask around. Find a friend of a friend and see if their basement or couch is available.


Also, if a family member is interested to take a driving tour of some of the beautiful continental United States, enlist them as your driving companion and find them a cheap flight home.


#2 Find out what deals you can grab

Check all of your credit card company, bank, AAA, or other service for any rewards that may exist for moving. AAA or Discover Card will save me 12% on the move.


#3 Sell all your stuff

Think about it. If all you have to move can fit in your car then you are golden. The actual move will cost you just gas money, food, and maybe some hotel/motel stays.


Now, in my house I don’t think selling all of my kids’ clothes, toys, beds, or bicycles would go over very well with Mrs. TS. There would definately be a mutiny by the older children if their Legos disappeared. But, if you happen to want to move with PODS, then filling only one POD instead of two will save you thousands of dollars.


#4 Beware of online car transportation quotes

If you enter your email or phone number into a car transportation website for a free quote, you will get spammed for about a week. Daily calls, endless emails. Grade A Recommendation Against online car transportation quotes. Look at the Better Business Beurea and call companies on the phone. Save yourselves!


#5 It will not be pretty

Moving stinks. I am not excited for the actual moving part. My main motivators are that we will be having some new life experiences as a family and I will obtain subspecialty training. My family will have to get used to a new enviornment, schools, and weather conditions which will help them grow a little as well.

Comments? I would love to hear from you!

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