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Moving can take a big chunk out of your budget. The American Moving and Storage Association estimates that it costs almost $1,200 for the average in-state move and more than $5,000 for the average out-of-state move.
However, moving doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be stuck with such a large bill. Here are a few moving behaviors to consider that help reduce costs, whether you are moving across the state or across the country.
1. Purge your stuff.
“There’s no need to haul stuff across the state or country that you don’t really want anyway,” says John Egan, editor-in-chief of the SelfStorage.com Moving Blog. “The more stuff you have, the more it’ll cost to pack and move it.”
Fewer possessions also make it easier to complete a do-it-yourself (DIY) move. Catherine Alford , the founder of BudgetBlonde.com, recently moved from Louisiana to New Jersey. “We rented a trailer to attach to our SUV instead of a moving truck,” she says. “The trailer was $450, a bargain compared to the $1,000 to $2,000 we were quoted for other methods.”
Without downsizing, Alford and her husband wouldn’t have been able to pack everything into the trailer. They got rid of what they didn’t need or want in Louisiana and looked for replacements after arriving in their new home, scouring Ikea, Craigslist, and Overstock.com for the rest of their furniture. Even after buying replacements, they still came out ahead. “Overall, it was the cheapest way to tackle the move, although not the most convenient,” Alford says.
Egan recommends selling your purged possessions for a little extra cash or donating items to charity. If you go the latter route, be sure to document the value of your goods and save the receipts from your donations so that you can take a deduction on your tax return.
2. Shop around.
It’s a good idea to shop around for the most competitive moving costs. Identify exactly what you are looking for so that you can compare apples to apples when receiving quotes.
“Don’t settle for the first bid you get from a moving company,” says Egan. “It’s best to get written bids from at least three moving companies whose representatives have visited your home.”
Egan suggests using competing quotes to negotiate lower pricing and extra services from movers. In some cases, you might be able to negotiate packing costs or a few days of free storage.
You can also shop around if you’re planning a DIY move. Rather than arranging an online quote, contact the local representatives of companies that rent trucks and trailers and ask about a discount.
3. Check for affiliation discounts.
Egan points out that members of AAA and AARP can receive discounts on moving costs. If you are a member of a credit union, the American Legion, a labor union, U.S. military personnel or a veteran, you may also be eligible for discounts. Some large companies also offer discounts for employees and moving companies may be included among them.
When you talk to a representative from a moving company, be sure to ask about specials and discounts. The answer is always “no” if you don’t ask.
4. Consider a hybrid move.
The hybrid move is a budget strategy that involves hiring professional packers to load and unload your rented moving truck or trailer. You pack your own boxes but hire professionals to take apart and pad furniture and to load all your possessions into the truck or trailer you have rented. When you arrive at your destination, you hire professionals to unload everything and place it in your preferred rooms.
When moving on a budget, you aren’t necessarily restricted to DIY strategies. The hybrid move is becoming increasingly popular, according to Mike Glanz , the chief executive of HireAHelper.com. “Interest in finding help on a common DIY move has been growing as Americans have gotten busier, older, and more affluent,” he says.
This strategy can reduce the stress of a DIY move and tends to be more cost efficient than a full-service moving company. “This is a good solution for consumers who aren’t interested in taking a three-day weekend to do everything themselves but at the same time aren’t excited at the thought of a $5,000 moving bill,” says Glanz.
When you need to move, consider what is likely to work best in your situation. There are plenty of options for moving on a budget if you are willing to get creative.
Miranda Marquit is a freelance journalist specializing in financial topics. Read more of her writing on Huffington Post, Wise Bread, AllBusiness, and at her website, Planting Money Seeds. Follow her on Twitter: @MMarquit
The information contained in this blog post is designed to generally educate and inform visitors to the Equifax Finance Blog. The blog posts do not give, and should not be assumed to provide, personalized tax, investment, real estate, legal, retirement, credit, personal financial, or other professional advice. Before making any financial decision, you should always consult with the appropriate professionals who can explain your options, rights, and legal responsibilities, and advise you on any tax, legal, credit, or business implications that may result from those decisions. The views and opinions expressed by the authors of blog posts are their own views and may not be the views or opinions of Equifax, Inc. and/or its affiliates.
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