The emotional weight of a big long distance move can prove to be stressful, to say the least. To add to the experience, moving in any capacity isn’t always the thriftiest of undertakings. There’s a lot of costs associated with packing up your belongings and moving house - from the cost of movers, time off work, insurance, fuel costs, food/drink for your helpful family and friends, extra off-site storage rental fees, etc.
While there are plenty of ways to save on a move across town or to a new neighbourhood, moving a huge distance presents its own set of unique challenges. In order to keep your costs down and your moving morale up, we’ve compiled a list of a few good ways to help reduce the costs of a long distance move.
Schedule in Advance
Many moving companies choose to elevate the prices of their services according to seasonality. The hotter it is outside, the more money you’re likely to be charged for movers. This means that scheduling and pre-planning your move ahead of time is a great way to help save on the costs associated with hired, professional help.
If you can, attempt to schedule your move in the off-season between September and May. Not only can you save on moving packages, but you’ll open up the chances of getting a more convenient moving date. Further, try to avoid national and statutory holidays - you could be paying extra to accommodate the wages of your movers. Plus, the less busy the roads and highways are, the less likely you could run into a problem, or get into an accident, resulting in damages to your goods, insurance claims and all that fun stuff.
Quote Twice, Hire Once
With hiring professional help, it’s always in your best interest as a client to compare and interview a few reputable moving companies for cost effectiveness. The old builders saying goes: measure twice, cut once - we advocate to quote twice, hire once when it comes to hired movers. Prices will vary, but remember: you get what you pay for; reputable and professional companies with good track records of customer satisfaction will likely be fairly close in scope. This is when it’s important to weigh all of the available perks of each particular company.
Borrow Everything When Possible
One of the single greatest ways to help keep costs down - in any situation - is to limit your spending by taking advantage of what’s readily available to you already. Borrowing supplies, help, transportation, etc all help you to keep your hard-earned dollars in your pocket, and complete your move on time and on budget.
This can mean borrowing a pickup truck and trailer from a friend or colleague. Depending on how far away your new address may be, this can be a viable financial alternative to renting and/or hiring a moving company to show up with their own equipment. A small convoy of friends and family members with trucks and trailers easily makes up for the space you stand to lose when you do not enlist the help of a large moving truck. Similarly, borrowing a dolly, ratchet straps, moving blankets and other supplies can stop you from going out to rent or purchase your own equipment. Use what you have, and eliminate the likelihood that you’ll have to make a purchase to fill a moving void.
Improvise your accruement of cardboard boxes from the local grocery store, department store, and liquor store to take the place of purchase moving boxes. This will help you to limit your purchase of new boxes to only the larger ones for wardrobes and large objects that need to be protected.
When it comes to off-site storage solutions for your things that you won’t need and/or don’t have room for at your new address, rather than renting or leasing space, ask a family member to store your things in their barn, shop, or split some rental fees with a friend who already has storage somewhere. Not only will you save on storage fees, but so will your friend - win/win!
Use Points, Cards, and Credits
A long distance move is more expensive because of the costs associated with the journey itself. The costs of food, accommodations, fuel, flights, storage, parking, etc all add up quickly - but this is the perfect time to utilize any and all of your saved up points, coupons, gift cards and credits to help keep your bank account intact.
Many of us collect Air Miles, Aeroplan or a similar reward point program when we make everyday purchases. These points may be redeemable for meals, fuel, and even hotel accommodations and flights, should you prefer to get the travel part over with quickly.
If you’re travelling for a day or more, you’ll inevitably need to sleep somewhere and refill the proverbial fuel tanks. In order to keep your expenses down, try to stay out of roadside motels or hotels.
Instead, and provided the weather allows for it, research a campground for your friends and family on the journey with you. It’ll give you a chance to repay your help with the BBQ you’ve been promising, and it’ll be a guaranteed hit with the kids you may have in tow. With a bonfire, a drink or two, some music and a good night's rest, you’ll be back on the road the next morning at a fraction of the cost of a motel, and you’ll swear you were on vacation - not moving.
Alternatively, if your move takes you through a town or city where you have family or friends, call them up well in advance and ask what the chances are of crashing on their couch, or taking up the spare bedroom for a night on your way through. Whatever your fancy, a good night’s rest during a long distance move is absolutely crucial - so don’t neglect the opportunity to plan and enjoy your evening with some good quality shut-eye.
Moving is all about packing up your stuff - so make sure you do it well; for a number of reasons. When you pack unwisely, you run the risk of taking up more room than you really need, wasting space, and making additional transportation - not to mention a headache - the norm. When you give yourself the opportunity and time to pack well, you can organize and prioritize your assault on the moving truck or borrowed trailer, helping to make the most of available space.
Further, when you stack and pack your belongings well, you eliminate some risk of boxes toppling over, and damaging your things, opening another financial burden door or having to repair or replace them.
Eating on the road can quickly equate to an inflated moving bill. Fast food, restaurants, and convenience store or gas bar pit-stops can easily mean spending an additional $200-$300 dollars that you could have saved to put elsewhere.
Take the time before you get on the road to plan to eat! Consider packing a cooler of water, food, healthy snacks, a thermos of coffee - whatever you need to keep yourself satisfied, caffeinated and full for the journey. You’ll save money and - more importantly, time - when you opt to stop and spend less on processed foods.
A long distance move doesn’t have to be any more expensive than a crosstown relocation. If you take the time to prepare and plan for a few of these money-saving opportunities and tricks, there’s no reason why your 2 day cross-country move can’t be a fun, thrifty, and incredible experience for all of those involved.