Moving to Colorado on a Budget and a Supplies Checklist

by Ryan Nicholson | Last Updated:  April 5, 2019

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Moving to Colorado on a Budget & a Moving ChecklistAre you thinking of moving to Colorado from another state? Moving costs are not cheap and there’s always a good bit of planning that goes into a success cross-country move.

In this podcast episode, we explore the costs of moving as well as the costs of living in any of the best cities on the Front Range.

It’s a question that affects both newcomers and natives: where should I live and much does it cost?

Why did we move to Colorado?

In 2013, we moved to Aurora (a suburb of Denver) to be closer to family members who were going through some medical issues. That’s when we got our first taste of living in Colorado, and we fell in love.

With all the cool cities and suburbs to choose from, we felt somewhat overwhelmed by the choices. There are definitely no shortage of options to live, each city comes with it’s own pros and cons.

To answer these questions, we suggest starting with a simple checklist. Some of the things on our own list, were:

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What is the average cost of the popular cities in Colorado?

In 2018, the state of Colorado grew by 80,000 people, making it the 7th fastest growing state in the country! That’s just slightly less than the entire size of the city where we used to live in Texas.

Many of those people move to the Front Range of Colorado and in particular — the Denver metropolitan area. Because of this, cost of living has increased slightly with home prices are rapidly increasing as well.

According to Zillow, the average cost of a home in Denver is around $422,000 and the average cost of homes in Boulder are a whopping $735,000.

In comparison, Colorado Springs is a much more budget-friendly place for first-time home buyers with an average of $272,000 — which is almost exactly what we paid for our starter home.

The total cost of moving to Colorado

Moving is always time-consuming and expensive — even more so when you’re moving across the country.

When we moved from Texas to Colorado a few years ago, we looked at all of our options. We wanted to save some money but also make our move as easy as possible.

To start, we compared the cost of renting a moving truck versus the cost of renting a uPack or PODS container.

Renting a moving truck: $1,424.50

It’s easy to look at sites like Uhaul or Penske and get a quote for what it will cost to rent a truck for moving. Put in the number of miles you’ll be traveling along with a start and end destination.

We traveled just over 1,000 miles from Tyler, Texas to Colorado Springs, Colorado. And it took us about 14 hours, or roughly two days of driving 7 hours per day.

Pro tip: We tracked our miles throughout the trip using the MileIQ app so we could get a tax deduction for moving costs. However, this deduction has since been suspended until 2025 for non-military taxpayers.

The total cost of renting a Uhaul truck for this distance and amount of time cost us $1,424.50 not including extra costs for storage, etc.

Apartment or mortgage fees: $114.00

Another big budget-buster when moving across the country are fees you have to pay to cancel your lease, or to sell your current home. Obviously, these fees will vary widely depending on your location and situation.

When we moved, our apartment lease was coming to an end, so we took this opportunity to move without having to pay a lot of early cancellation fees.

We only had to pay for a couple additional months rent of our garage unit. This set us back $114.

Fuel and food: $343.29

Aside from renting a truck, or paying a moving company, the rest of your moving budget will likely be spent on gas and food throughout the trip.

We stopped 5 times to fill up the truck while on our way to Colorado. This was a total of more than 100 gallons of gas and cost $247.87 not including a tollway fee of $4.25.

Food is obviously a variable cost because you can eat out for every meal or pack food to make lunches and dinners along the way. For us, this cost $91.19 for two days.

Hotel and lodging: $286.45

As mentioned, moving to Colorado from Texas takes about 14 hours. But we had to pay for an additional hotel night because we stayed in Texas an extra day.

Our packing timeline was off a little bit and we had to put extra belongings into our garage rental for the day while we moved everything else into the moving truck.

For two nights of staying at a Holiday Inn Express (our favorite family-friendly hotel!) it cost $286.45.

Total moving expenses: $2,869.59

Aside from the moving expenses already mentioned, there were a few extra costs we didn’t budget for.

We had to pay for our Ford Bronco to get a new wiring kit in order to pull the moving trailer. In the end though, we ended up renting a moving truck so this cost was a waste.

We also had to buy additional mattress and furniture covers, as well an outdoor lock for the moving truck. Uhaul also charged us for an extra day (since our timing was late) and extra mileage.

All in, it cost us $2,869.59 to move from Texas to Colorado. We had budgeted for about $3,000 so this was a pretty spot on assessment.

See the screenshot below of our spreadsheet budget details and exact breakdown of moving costs.

cost of moving to Colorado

Moving supplies checklist and additional expenses

In addition to the cost of renting a moving truck or paying for a uPack container, there are even more costs for moving supplies.

Here’s a quick checklist along with estimated prices.

Moving boxes: $1-2 per box

Look for boxes available at stores like Lowes, Home Depot, or online at places like Amazon. Typically if you purchase boxes directly from the moving company, they will cost quite a bit more.

Packaging material: $23 per roll

In order to keep your belongings safe and secure, you’ll need a lot of packaging material. This includes lots and lots of newspapers, bubble wrap, and strong moving tape.

You can also use any towels, sheets, and other linens to help pack your valuables tightly.

Markers or Sharpies: $7 a box

Always properly mark your boxes as you pack them. This is one tip that can save you a ton of time when done right!

Use assorted marker colors to color-code the boxes for each room in the house, as well as each of your kid’s rooms.

Otherwise, you could be endlessly searching for boxes or items while in mid-move. Not fun!

Scissors or box cutters: free

You probably already have a pair of scissors or box cutters lying around the house. But if not, now is a great time to buy a really good pair and will only set you back about $9.

Mattress and furniture covers: $7-14 per cover

The goal of moving is to arrive at your new place without breaking any valuables or scratch up any furniture. In order to do this, we highly recommend buying (or renting!) a mattress bag and furniture covers.

Another alternative is to buy some plastic wrap in bulk and use this to cover all of your furniture and beds. Just make sure it’s very heavy duty and can stand up to the moving process.

It may cost a little more right now, but you’ll be glad you spent the money instead of having to replace or pay to fix a broken bed frame, or couch.

Plus, you’ll keep all of your belongings clean and free of dirt and bugs.

What is the cheapest option for moving to Colorado?

After comparing our options, we decided to go with renting a moving truck. However, looking back we wished we would have rented a uPack or PODS container.

Our moving process would have been soooooo much easier and nearly about the same cost.

Best Places to Live in Colorado

How has Colorado grown and expanded over the years?

As a native of Colorado, and being away from this state for nearly a decade, I was really able to appreciate all it had to offer. I came back and fully experience the impact of all the growth my home-state experienced in this timeframe.

Of course, some of the growth and expansion has been good, and some not so great, while other things have mostly stayed the same!

With any population growth comes “the sprawl”. The towns getting bigger and bigger with more infrastructure and less nature.

Towns along the Front Range, specifically, are backed up to the west against the mountains, which leaves the east plains as the easiest place to build and expand. It’s not as picturesque here, and the lifestyle is much different than being close to the mountains.

With more people comes the inescapable traffic which means there is a lot more trash, and longer commutes. Higher demand of houses can often mean less inventory and the cost of buying a home continually increases along with the general cost of living.

But growth isn’t all bad.

The Colorado food scene — particularly in Denver — is growing and really developing into its own unique style and cuisine. And what usually comes with unique cuisine is a unique culture as well.

Colorado is establishing itself as being just as dignified and a young city as other places in the country. Here we are able to experience a variety of museums, plays, and exciting activities daily!

But one thing that has stayed relatively the same are the people. They remain friendly and welcoming — even to great amount of change.

The lifestyle, for the most part, still remains as I remember it! The healthy, outdoor-centered way of living takes paramount above all else. And to me this is the number one reason there is such a draw for others to move to this great square state.

Nicholson home purchase

Tips for moving to Colorado from another state

If you’ve ever moved from one place to another, you already know that the logistics of moving are often hard and expensive. Even more so when you’re moving across the country to another state!

When we first started thinking of moving to Colorado, our main motivation was to have a healthier lifestyle that promoted adventure, less work and a better climate for outdoor living.

During the time of quitting her day job to become full-time self-employed, Carrie had gained 30 pounds in Texas. Most of this was due to working long hours and not having an environment that promoted getting outside.

Texas is hot, y’all!

We also enjoyed traveling and visiting many different places, and Texas made it more difficult to accomplish this. It’s a very large state, and traffic is always abundant, so travel days are long and hard.

After planning and saving money, our idea for moving to Colorado from another state took an additional year longer than we previously planned. But it was all worth it!

Are you thinking of moving to Colorado from another state? Or maybe you want to move in-state but aren’t sure which city to choose. We explore the pros and cons of living in any of the big cities on the Front Range: Denver, Boulder and Colorado Springs. It’s a question that affects both newcomers and natives: Where should I live in Colorado?