Save Precious Moving Dollars

By: Carolyn Gjerde Tu

Moving is one of those necessary evils that just about everyone faces at some point or another. For many it's a relatively simple process involving a U-Haul, a few friends and a case of beer. For others, it may require moving a house full of possessions over a long distance, often costing thousands of dollars.

The key to any successful move is to start early so that you can get properly organized. There are a number of ways to save considerable cash during a move, but many people leave it so late, they don't have the time to explore their options. Here are a few tips that may lessen the financial burden of your move.

Never buy boxes new from a moving company. In fact if you start early enough, you may not have to pay anything at all. Great sources for used boxes are liquor stores, hospitals, restaurants and grocery stores. Some moving companies have outlets where they sell used boxes and packing material at a greatly reduced rate.

Packing material and bubble wrap can cost more than the boxes! Look for more inexpensive packing options such as butcher paper, paper towels that can be reused, and your existing linens and towels.

Out with the old! The easiest way to save during a move is to take less stuff. If you haven't used an item in more than a year, get rid of it. The average full carton weighs 75 pounds, if you're being charged by weight, and an item isn't worth paying the cost per pound, out it goes.

Pack it all in boxes. Wherever possible pack items in boxes, they're easier to move, can save time, and cuts back on damage. This is especially true for odd-sized pieces that would be awkward to move individually.

Keep those receipts. If your move is job related and a specified distance closer to your new job, the expenses could result in a tidy deduction. Research your tax laws and see if this applies to you.

The post office can save you money. Sometimes it's cheaper to send things by mail than moving truck. The U.S. Postal Service has special rates on books and magazines, and if you don't mind waiting a little longer for them, snail mail may be a cheaper option.

Pods aren't just for peas. If you don't have a lot to move, you may consider using a pod or cube and then hauling it to the new location. Not all companies provide them, but it can be cheaper than renting a truck and worth checking out.

Don't move at peak times. Moving companies are busiest at the end of the month when most closings occur. If possible, try and move during the middle of the month or mid week, and you may get a lower tariff rate.

Start early. Plan far enough ahead that you can get multiple quotes from various movers, and collect enough boxes and packing supplies. Organizing your move and having the luxury of time also keeps your stress level down, allowing you to anticipate problems before they happen.

Don't use storage if you can help it. Storage units are expensive and can rack up extra charges for late fees and penalties. Try to plan your move so that you won't have this problem. Talk to your moving company, many include free storage for up to 30 days.

Don't cheap out on your mover. Take the time to find a reliable mover. This may include researching with the Better Business Bureau and checking references. If possible, get an estimate in writing that guarantees the final cost. Make sure you have a copy before you move. Get at least three quotes and don't be too timid to try and negotiate a better price.

Project your valuables. You should take any jewelry or important papers with you. Any other valuable items being moved should be pointed out to the mover before hand so they know to take extra care.

Find out how much your home insurance will cover in the move and purchase additional insurance if necessary.

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