Whether you’re relocating for a job, school, to be closer to family, to fulfill a dream or some other reason, one thing is for sure: any time you’re planning a cross-country move, expenses add up fast. Your life gets disrupted, so you pay for conveniences like eating out more. You have to box up everything you own and ship it, which may take time away from work, and you pay movers to handle the move. There’s always the chance that some of your belongings will be damaged or lost in the process, leaving you to replace and/or do without items you need. What’s more, if you are making the move on short notice, you’re probably going to face the hefty fees that come with last-minute rates. What can you do to make your cross-country move more affordable? Here are some key tips:
- Talk to Your Employer. First, if you’re being required to move because of work, know that your employer may pay for some or all of the moving expenses. If you haven’t already been given information about a moving allowance or reimbursement, ask. If expenses are covered, the move will be much easier on you and your household.
- Shop around for Movers. It’s as true of movers as it is of anything else: when you go with the first one you see, you’re liable to pay more than you have to pay, so do some homework. Compare rates from several different companies. You may be able to significantly cut costs just by looking at all options. At the same time, though, don’t just pick the cheapest mover, or you could end up working with a company that has poor service. Remember to evaluate customer reviews, speed and availability.
- Watch for Hidden Fees. Sometimes moving companies promise low rates, only to include hidden charges when it’s time to sign the contract. To avoid getting surprised by extra charges, ask providers about what your final rates will be and if you can expect any extra fees. Read the contract carefully and be sure you know exactly what services you’re paying.
- Move during the Off Season. Are your moving dates flexible? If so, plan to move during the less busy season, when you may be able to qualify for discounts.
- Downsize. A cross-country move is the perfect opportunity to downsize your possessions. The less there is to move, the less you have to pay to ship. Sort everything in your household and see what you no longer want or need, donating or selling whatever you would rather leave behind.
- Collect Boxes. Finding your own boxes will save you from having to pay for them, so see if friends or family have lightly used moving materials you can take. Just make sure the boxes are still in good condition so they don’t jeopardize the safety of your goods.
- Keep Valuables with You. Group items that are especially valuable or meaningful to you, and bring them with you. By keeping theses special goods by your side, you can make sure they’re in safe hands, not to mention gain a little extra peace of mind.
- Minimize Personal Costs. Because it’s so easy to overspend in the moving process, plan ahead to avoid any unnecessary personal expenses. Shop for temporary living quarters, if necessary. Or, see if you can stay with friends or relatives during a short transition period. Think about how and what you’ll eat if you’re between houses, and find ways to make it more affordable, whenever possible.
It’s true that moving can be a stressful experience, but planning ahead can go a long way toward reducing headaches. Use the tips above to make it easier and less expensive overall.
Chris Crompton is a marketing manager for Transit Systems Inc., a leader in the shipping and freight industry for over two decades. Transit Systems offers low rates and professional service on long distance small moves and shipments.