I read this book maybe fifteen years ago, but it felt much older. I think the prices used suggested it taking place in the 50's or 60's. (I was a european kid who never used dollars, I might be mistaken on this point.)
There was a group of siblings, with the oldest sister being somewhere in her teens. For some reason they had to go find an older cousin of them to live with, and couldn't rely on anyone, so they walked across the states, maybe following an interstate. I think they worked a bit along the way to get food money.
They eventually reached the cousin's house. She proved to be quite nice to the children. I can't remember if they did actually live with her, but I'm pretty sure they didn't see their parents again if they were still alive.
In a sequel the oldest sister was learning to build boats. A stranger came in the hangar she was working in, made fun of her for her lack of experience, then helped her I think.
I also remember a scene of her at the school, the teacher asking to plan a meal with as little money as possible. She did so using her previous experience on the road, but the teacher mocked her, claiming that no one could survive on so little. That made her angry as she obviously had.