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What’s the Cheapest Way to Move – Your Cross-Country Guide

Are you trying to find the cheapest way to move out of state? It may seem like doing everything yourself will save you money, but there are many things that you need to think of. You’ll need supplies, people to help you carry everything, and transportation. Let’s take a look at some of the cheapest options for relocation, as well as some handy tips on how to reduce your expenses whichever method you decide to go for.

Know the Total Cost of Moving Out of State

According to some data, a cross-country relocation can cost you over $4,000, the exact price depending on your chosen shipping method, the weight of items and the distance between your old and your future home. So, if you are on a tight relocation budget, you might consider reducing the costs by getting partial assistance, whether it is hiring labor or renting a shipping container.

Make a Budget Plan for Your Expenses

Relocating out of state can be particularly expensive if you decide to hire professional movers. However, if you know approximately how much money you need to save for your relocation in advance, you’ll be able to significantly reduce the overall expenses.

If you are moving for a new job, you should inquire about the relocation policy of your employer, as some offer relocation packages which can reduce the costs significantly. You just need to save all the receipts and get reimbursement.

However, if you are no such luck, then you have to do some serious calculations. Relocation expenses are not the usual expenses you already deal with but an additional burden on your finances. So, it might be prudent to start saving money some time in advance. Also, write down all potential costs based on the research of the packing supplies prices and transport expenses, and deduct them from your relocation budget to see if you have to spare on some things, such as paddings or boxes, which can be obtained for free.

Create a Checklist to Help You

Making a checklist for moving to a new state is an excellent way to organize your tasks and make sure you do not forget anything. Start writing down everything that comes to your mind well in advance, and then organize the activities at your convenience. Doing things from the list one by one each day will reduce the stress during the relocation.

There are some general rules to facilitate the process, such as getting rid of the unnecessary stuff, dealing with items you will not use soon first, and creating an essentials box with things you will need immediately upon arrival to your new home. You can also create a moving expenses checklist and make a packing schedule. Also, devise a plan for loading items into the truck, but remember that the heavy ones should be loaded first.

Rent a Moving Vehicle or Ship Your Items

Renting a freight trailer is a cheaper option, as you pack and load your stuff yourself, and the freight company does the transport. So, if you do not mind putting in some extra effort and time, this will certainly reduce freight costs as compared to the full-service relocation. The freight trailer will be dropped off at your place three days before the move and picked up after you have loaded your items to be transported to your new destination.

If you do not have a lot of items to move, shipping is a suitable option, as you can create a list for your shipment online and choose the service provider you deem best.

Rent a Portable Moving Container

This is a very popular option for relocation as it is much cheaper than hiring full-service movers, and it offers you additional storage capacities during the move. You can control the costs by choosing the size of the container and the number of days you will use it. Generally, renting a container costs about $2,000-3,000 per month. You have to put an additional physical effort to pack and load the items yourself, and the firm is in charge of the transport.

Rent a Moving Truck

Renting a transportation vehicle may be a bit cheaper if you have furniture to move, but it means that along with the insurance for your belongings,  you will have to cover fuel costs. And for a long-distance journey, you’ll need a lot of gas and multiple stops for refueling. An additional perk is that if you hire a truck-and-tow vehicle, you will be able to move one car behind. Also, you will be arriving at the destination together with your stuff. But, you will be facing a lot of stress in the traffic and risk potential accidents due to fatigue from all the packing, loading, and long-distance driving. So, reconsider whether it is worth it.

Bear in mind that driving a truck is not the same as driving a car. Since there is no rear-view mirror, backing up and parking is difficult. Additionally, the speed limit for trucks is lower, so it may take a while to get to your destination, and it is not a comfortable ride at all. Also, as a non-professional, you have to load the items carefully and not leave any empty space for the boxes to shift inside the vehicle.

Before starting the journey, photograph the condition of the vehicle from all sides so as to avoid being charged for damages you are not responsible for. Drive carefully over bumps and curbs. Don’t forget that weekdays are cheaper for renting, as a majority of moves are done during the weekend.

Get a Pick-Up Truck For a Smaller Cargo

If you don’t have a lot of stuff to move and you can ship them in one day, you can rent a pick-up truck, because it is cheaper and more comfortable than a regular one. But, if it would take longer than one day, it can get expensive. Also, you need to secure the boxes well with stretch cords or ropes and protect them from all weather conditions. It is a bit harder to load the items as there is no ramp, and you have to be wary of thieves during the stopovers.

Ship Your Belongings

Shipping is suitable for those who have fewer items to move. If they can fit into a large box, you can ship them via traditional shipping companies. If not, freight shipping is the way. To cut down on shipping expenses, you can drop off your stuff at the nearest location the company offers.

You will be in charge of loading your packed belongings onto a shipping palette, and the professionals will be in charge of wrapping it and loading it onto the vehicle. If you want to spare some more money, you can choose economy shipping instead of priority shipping, which means it may take longer to get your stuff.

How to Find Your Own Cheapest Way to Move

All things considered, the cheapest way may be to pack everything yourself and rent a storage container, as you can do the packing and loading at your own pace and use the container as additional storage to reduce the mess in the house.

According to some estimations, for a four-room apartment and your own supplies and effort, you may need a $600 container. With it, you get the luxury of having your items driven safely to your destination, investing just a little more effort into packing and loading, which your friends can help you with.

Tips for Getting Free Boxes and Supplies

Cutting costs on supplies is one of the great ways to keep your relocation budget for other expenses, as free boxes and bubble wrap can be obtained at local stores, retailers, online markets, but also from friends and neighbors. Just make sure they are in a relatively good condition.

Perhaps you have kept some bubble wrap or Styrofoam from your recently bought appliances, so look around. If you have to buy them, check multiple places, as prices may vary significantly. Professional retailers obviously charge more than your usual stores. Instead of original paddings, you can use your towels and blankets, and you can pack softer items in garbage bags.

Downsize and Declutter

It is very useful to get rid of the things you haven’t used in a while and probably won’t need in the near future. Reducing the number of items to pack and transport reduces your relocation expenses. You can sell valuable items you do not need to get extra cash. Other unnecessary stuff can be donated.

Choose a Better Date

The date you choose is also important if you want to move cheaper. Avoid weekends, holidays, and the first and last weeks of the month as the relocation companies have more engagements and may be harder to book and definitely more expensive.

Additionally, you should avoid moving in the summer, if you can. Summer season is the busiest, and prices tend to be higher than the rest of the year. That means you should opt for a period from October to April and the middle weeks of the month. Moving during the fall or spring tends to be cheaper since the demand is lower.

You’ll Need Help With Moving

If you cannot afford a full-service relocation company, perhaps you can hire additional labor to help you get rid of the junk and pack and load heavy items. Some labor-only services include removal services, donation pickups, etc.

Get Friends and Family to Help You

What are friends for if not to help you in need? Ask family and friends to assist you in various ways, from getting free supplies to the actual packing and loading items onto the truck or a container. But remember that they are doing it for free, so make sure you offer them food and drinks for their effort.

Will I Need to Hire Professional Movers?

If money is not an issue, we strongly recommend hiring a full-service company to provide you with moving services and save you some time and stress. If that is not the case, look around and try to estimate whether you can pack and load the heavy stuff yourself or with help from your friends without the risk of damage or injuries. It is better to be safe than sorry, so if you have extra heavy items to move or the ones that need dismantling and reassembling, request packing services from professionals. Just make sure the movers you hire are reputable, licensed, and insured.

Benefits of Hiring Movers

Relocation is a complicated and time-consuming activity, so the benefit of having someone else to take care of it for you is obvious. It may cost more, but it is worth it. Your valuable items are in safe hands and insured if any damage occurs. The chaos of having to pack everything is reduced to a minimum level. Plus, relocation companies offer various packages depending on your needs, so you can choose the one that best fits your situation.

Tips for Hiring the Best Relocation Company

There are custom sites that offer free cost estimates of various relocation companies based on the information you provide, so you can try that option, but it is always best to rely on other people’s experience and references. So do some research online to check review pages of companies or ask around to get a recommendation from someone you know. Also, you should get moving quotes directly from the companies’ websites and customer support departments.

Avoid Companies with Additional Costs and Fees

Before hiring a company, make an inventory of items you think might be difficult to move, such as pianos, pool tables, big house plants, safes, and similar bulky stuff, and inquire in every firm whether they would charge you extra for them or whether it is included in the package price, whether they are charging extra during holidays or weekends or for extra labor. Any additional cost and fees can raise the total relocation costs significantly, so do your research.