How to Move for Cheap - Guest Post
If you've ever moved from one residence to another, you already know that moving can be expensive. But if you haven't had the pleasure until now, you may be in for a bit of sticker shock when you start to calculate all the expenses that moving entails. Although the biggest expense, movers' fees, is fairly obvious, there are also dozens of hidden costs that can add significant sums to your final bill. The goal of this article is to provide you with practical suggestions for helping you move on the cheap while ensuring a safe and secure transition for both you and your belongings.
Do it Yourself?
The allure of do-it-yourself moving is in the cheap price tag, not in the simplicity of the task. And yet, the cost-effectiveness of moving independently is often misleading. For starters, do-it-yourself moving requires significantly more time than hiring professional movers. If you'll have to take off from work in order to pack your boxes or drive cross-country, it may be more cost-effective to hire pros to handle the job. Likewise, if you're not a skilled furniture wrapper, you may end up with damaged property that can cost a fortune to repair or replace, and again, may be more expensive than had you hired pros from the start. Similarly, if you're not an experienced truck driver, you may not know how to fit all your belongings into a sufficiently-sized truck or how to drive one; moreover, if you can drive a truck, the danger may outweigh the savings because you may not be able to get enough insurance to cover the cost of the damage if you were to get into an accident en route. Lastly, rental truck companies often charge significant penalties for returning the truck in another state. If you're moving across state lines, consider whether the cost of the truck rental is truly worthwhile.
Still, do-it-yourself moving can be a great option for people who are moving locally, have few belongings, and/or experience driving large trucks. If you meet any of these criteria it's definitely worth considering do-it-yourself moving as a way to move cheaply.
Even if you're not committed to renting a truck to haul your belongings independently, there are some things you can do yourself that can help save money. You can save a bundle, for example, by packing up your clothing, books, and knickknacks instead of paying professional movers to do it. Likewise, if you purchase (or borrow or inherit) your own packing supplies instead of relying on those furnished by the movers, you can shave hundreds of dollars off your moving bill.
When In Doubt, Throw It Out
When it comes to moving, one of the best money-saving strategies is to get rid of your stuff before you move. Not only will this reduce your moving load, which reduces the quoted price for moving your belongings, but it gives you the opportunity to enjoy new furnishings and decorations in your new home. If you're planning an interstate move, check out the Craig's List in your area as well as the sales tax in your new state. You may be surprised to see how affordable it can be to replace your home furnishings with new or gently used items.
When possible, consider selling or donating your unwanted items instead of dumping them. Selling your items will help defray the cost of replacing them, and, if you're downsizing, this extra income can help cover some of your moving costs. Donating extraneous items also provides you with a welcome tax deduction.
Insure Yourself Properly
If you're looking to move cheaply, you'll probably want to choose the least expensive form of insurance for your move, which will provide you with about 60 cents of compensation for each pound of your belongings that is damaged or lost in the transition. There is no question that this type of insurance is extremely affordable, and in most cases, sufficient. You should consider, however, what will happen if, for example, your 50 pound flat screen TV is damaged en route. The insurance value of the item would be only $30, while you'll have to pay much more to replace it. Although it makes sense to move cheaply by avoiding extra insurance, moving insurance may end up saving you money, so think carefully before making a decision.
Move in the Middle
A little-known secret in the world of moving is that movers experience their slowest times both in the middle of the week and the middle of the month. Most people prefer to move near the weekends so that they don't disrupt their work schedules. Likewise, most people prefer to move either at the beginning or the end of the month, which is generally when rental contracts expire. If you can afford to be flexible about the time of your move, ask your movers about moving at these times and whether you can get a discount by moving on off-peak days.
Another affordable middle time to move is the middle of the school year, because people with children typically prefer to move towards the beginning or end of the year. There are, however, many parents who actually favor moving in the middle of the school year so that their children can maximize the fact that they're the only new students in the class and aren't lost in the confusion that engulfs most children at the beginning of the school year. If you're moving without children or willing to bring them to a new school in the middle of the year, you should be able to negotiate reduced rates with the moving company of your choice.
If you're embarking on a long distance move, travel costs can be quite expensive. To make sure that you're not overpaying for your travel, consider whether it's worthwhile to fly or drive. If you're moving a car, think about whether it's financially responsible to ship the car and fly, or whether you should drive it yourself to save money. Consider the time it will take you to reach your , as well as car maintenance expenses and fuel costs. If you decide to fly, make sure you're getting the best deal by comparing prices from different airlines at different times of day, a computation that can save you hundreds of dollars. Look for air tickets online to avoid paying travel agents' fees.
If you decide to drive, consider the costs of food, fuel, and lodging during the trip. Look online for the cheapest gas stations along your route. If possible, don't overload your car with items that are moving with you as this adds drag on the car, which reduces fuel efficiency, and adds wear and tear that will need fixing. Compare the prices of several hotel rooms in multiple cities along your route and determine your itinerary based upon where you can find the cheapest comfortable lodging. Stock up on snacks from your local grocery store or wholesale club so you can avoid the overpriced treats at the convenience stores along the highway.
Moving is an expense that's part of life, but hopefully one that will be a worthwhile investment in your future. With a bit of research and forethought you can shave thousands of dollars off the cost of your relocation. Make sure you thoroughly compare your options throughout the entire planning process. From choosing movers to making travel plans, savings opportunities are yours for the taking.