The Final Tally – Moving Costs And Our Cost of Living Differences.

Well, we are all settled in our new home here in New Mexico – it was a long, drawn out process but we are finally back to “living our life” like normal people. Most everything is unpacked, I have my home office set up (time to make some money as only one of us is working now!), and everything is coming together. In our spare time we have been taking drives to explore surrounding areas, trying out the various restaurants in town, and meeting the locals. Coming from a big city like Los Angeles, there are a few things to get used to – like the fact that many of the stores and businesses close before dinner time. No more grocery shopping at midnight for me! All in all, we are very comfortable here and just yesterday I found out that our best friends from San Francisco are moving to Denver in a few months, so they will be even closer than they were in California. Just another added bonus we didn’t expect!

Now, on to the important stuff. First up, the actual move – the movers took our stuff on June 28th and delivered it on the 13th of July, so we were without our belongings for 16 days. And let me tell you, it was a very long 16 days, especially with fighting with the movers to get dates and times – they couldn’t tell us where our stuff was or when it was coming until the night before it arrived! We have talked about it, and we think next time we do a big move like this we might just rent the truck and drive it ourselves, but hire movers on each end to do the heavy lifting. While it was nice to not have to life a finger, it was frustrating dealing with the moving company. Nothing was broken, and the guys were nice, but still – it would have been better had we been kept in the loop. Their original estimate for the move was $3,377, and the final tally came in pretty close at $3,647 – a difference of less than $300. So I feel pretty safe saying that we didn’t get ripped off and I am glad it is over with. But I will be giving some serious thought next time to driving the stuff myself and just hiring local guys to move the goods, as then we would not have to live for 2-3 weeks without anything more than an air mattress, 2 camping chairs and a laptop computer!

I wrote before about what I thought would be the cost of living changes after our move, but now I know the actual numbers, along with the set-up fees to become residents of a new state. Here is the final tally of the assorted things we had to pay for/are paying for and the differences between California and New Mexico. The differences are amazing!


  • Deposit on house – $1400 (last month + pet deposit). In California, it was $2700.
  • Register our car for the year – $65. In California, it was almost $200.
  • No deposits needed on utility hookups. In California, some of them wanted $200.
  • Monthly Expenses


  • New Mexico – $1,000
  • California – $1,949
  • Savings = $949

    Car Insurance

  • New Mexico – $80
  • California – $138
  • Savings = $58

    Renter’s Insurance

  • New Mexico – $16
  • California – $24
  • Savings = $8

    Health Insurance

  • New Mexico – $211
  • California – $320
  • Savings = $109

    Television – Same channels, with DVR

  • New Mexico – $41.99
  • California – $83.00
  • Savings = $41


  • New Mexico – $48
  • California – $39
  • Increase = $9


  • New Mexico – $4.12/gallon
  • California – $4.89/gallon
  • Savings = $.77/gallon or $60 month. Granted, this can change anytime. However, this reduction combined with the fact that our mpg went from 25 to 28 just by moving here (there is barely any stop and go traffic) will save us quite a bit of money, which I would average at about $15 a week.

    Heating, Cooling

  • New Mexico – No cooling, higher heating
  • California – No cooling, lower heating
  • The heating expenses will definitely go up come winter time, as in California we didn’t need heat. Luckily the house we are renting is adobe, which has excellent insulating factors. I wrote about our adobe house it on my other site, if you want to check it out.

    So for the above things, our monthly expenses have been reduced $1,225. Cell phones, home phone, and my wife’s student loan bill are all staying the same for now, and the only thing I see increasing will be our heating bill come this winter. But a $1,225 reduction each and every month is not chump change. Overall, I would say it is a pretty good reduction of expenses in exchange to moving somewhere where life is slower, the air is cleaner, the people are nicer, and you get to experience “life” more – you don’t have to work so many hours just to make ends meet! So far, it feels like one of the best decisions we have ever made. And for now, I will stop talking about our move, I am sure you guys are sick of hearing about it!

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    Comments (23)

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    1. wow,
      what made you make the move from America to Mexico?

    2. Wow, you analysed these costs really well. So do you definately think it was worth it?
      Will your lifestyle change much now living in a different country?

    3. Hi David,

      I am really enjoying reading about your move actually! We will eventually be doing our own long distance move, and while ours will be from one country to another (France to the US) and not from state to state like you, there will be similar issues involved. Except we won’t be able to drive our own truck!

      Your pictures are so beautiful I’m now contemplating a move to Taos…

    4. David says:

      Ryan, New Mexico is a state in the United States, right next to Arizona.

      Kelly, come on over! It’s a great place!

    5. Four Pillars says:

      Interesting summary – hopefully the move works out – which it sounds like it will.


    6. Emily says:

      Not sick of hearing about it! It’s a huge thing and it sounds amazing and beneficial for you. It was a long time coming, but now that we’re settled in our house after 2 years of upheaval and renovating, it’s nice to sit back and enjoy the fruits of our labors and take advantage of “living” our less expensive and simpler life style. I love the photos – it’s gorgeous there! I’m so glad it’s gone smoothly for you!

    7. Congrats! I hope you guys are very happy there, sounds wonderful. (and cheap!)

    8. How to watch TV without paying for it…

      One luxury you can cut when costs for essentials are rising is your cable or satellite TV service. But how can you still watch your favorite shows? David at My Two Dollars presents “35 ways to watch television without cable or satellite,” and he’s n…

    9. Frugal Dad says:

      I already knew this move was a good one for you for a variety of reasons, but the economic benefits are well worth it. The scenery looks beautiful, and no cooling bill?! Would you guys mind having new neighbors?

      The last time we moved it was in-state, but the company I hired on with paid to move us – a nice benefit. Fortunately it was just an overnight move so we didn’t have to wait it out to receive our stuff. I can imagine that got old real quick.

      Glad to hear you are settled in! Enjoy the rest of the summer in your new habitat!

    10. David says:

      Thanks for the kind words everyone!

      Frugal Dad, we would love to have you as neighbors, the house next door is for sale!

    11. Sam says:

      Good for you. Moving to another state can be life changing decision for some. For those who would like to save more, it makes sense to move to a “non-city” state.

      Fix My Personal Finance

    12. tiffanie says:

      that is awesome! what you’re saving each month by moving is essentially one whole income in my household, lol! i’m glad it all worked out for you, aside from the darn movers taking 16 days to deliver your belongings!!! what a pain.

    13. david says:

      Yea, the 16 days was not fun!

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    16. Patrick says:

      That’s a very substantial monthly savings – almost $15k per year! I’m sure your standard of living will improve as a result of the wide open spaces, cleaner air, and lower costs for everything. It seems like a great move.

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    21. amy says:

      I came acoss this item and saw your issue with movers.

      Thought I’d give another suggestion rather than driving own truck.

      I had a long distance move recently and the best thing I did was rent a POD. The POD was brought to my old place and then taken away at the time I set up with the POD company. I knew exactly where my items were while I looked for a place to live (was a quick move but works for a short move as well), could visit the POD if I wanted to remove items, no hijackings. I used movers on both ends (since company paying for it). But since PODs will drop the unit off at your home (on both ends), movers are not really needed… Though if you’re not much of a packer, I’d suggest movers to load it into the pod since they know how to stack and box things correctly for less damage. Just a thought and gave me peace of mind.

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