If you’ve decided to move cross-country before summer comes, you may already be saving money — most long-distance moves occur in warm weather, so mover rates tend to be lower during the off-season. No matter what, you’ll still pay more for a coast-to-coast transition than you would if you were simply moving across town (unless you fall victim to a moving-company scam), but there are ways to keep your moving costs down. Read on for a few tips on how to save money on cross-country moves.
Downsize. As Thoreau suggested, “Simplify, simplify, simplify!” A long-distance move is the perfect time to rid yourself of all those possessions that take up space in your home but have no value in your life. The less you need to transport, the lower your moving costs will be. Earn cash with a yard sale, make a tax-deductible charitable donation, give your stuff away to friends, or simply throw it out.
Box it up. The less your moving company packs, the lower your costs are. If you need cheap boxes, just remember one phrase: “Liquor is thicker.” Your local liquor store has a plentiful supply of free boxes that are as sturdy as you’ll find anywhere (they need to be — they carry glass-encased liquids hundreds of miles). Pack well; use bubble wrap, newspapers, and old clothes, blankets, and towels as filler. (Warning: Moving company insurance policies don’t cover anything that company employees don’t pack themselves, so consider letting them pack your expensive and/or breakable items.)
Break it down. Beds, tables, other furniture, and appliances need to be disassembled or disconnected before they can be loaded onto the moving van. The more of this you can do by yourself, the less your movers will have to do, and the lower your costs will be.
Research potential movers. The lowest prices aren’t necessarily the best deals, particularly if the moving company doesn’t handle your property carefully. Be sure to check various online reviews, ask friends or acquaintances who’ve made long-distance moves, and compare price and delivery estimates, insurance policies, and everything else you can find before contracting with any mover. Keep an eye out for scams at all times.
Insure yourself as needed. If life is a gamble (and it is), transporting your life to a new destination thousands of miles away certainly qualifies as a risk. Moving insurance isn’t free, but replacing your prized and/or priceless possessions will probably be a bigger financial hit than the insurance policy rate. Figure out how much your property is worth, and measure that against the cost of insurance.
If you’re planning a cross-country move, be sure to examine your new home in person before signing any contracts. To save on your exploratory trips, try Travel Plus, where you’ll earn 5% cash back on flight, hotel, and rental-car reservations, as well as rebates on a wide range of travel perks. Happy trails — and best of luck in your new digs!