Cutting Moving Costs

Consumers packing this time of year might not be preparing for vacation. About 70% of home moves happen during the summer. Experts say the best way to get a good deal is to plan ahead. Kelli Grant, Senior Consumer Reporter for SmartMoney.com tells you how to cut costs and maximize value.


Be strategic about the time of your move. The average in-state move runs $2,300, while families relocating across state lines pay an average $4,300. Prices can be up to 30% higher on weekends, and at the very beginning and end of the month, when leases turn over. If possible, go with a weekday move mid-month. Or just ask the movers when you can schedule for the best rate.

De-clutter as you pack. Long-haul moves are priced primarily by volume and weight. Local moves by volume and time. Either way, you're paying to move things you're going to throw away when you get there. You may be able to cover part of your moving costs by hosting a yard sale. If you donate items you can ease next year's tax bill.

Get at least three movers to conduct an in-home inspection and provide a written estimate. The key part is in-person: the quote will be more accurate than a phone or email quote. Then check the movers' references and reviews with the Department of Transportation and review sites like Yelp. Some movers will match competitors' prices or offer discounts through daily deal sites, too, helping you get the best company and the best deal.

Check to see if your renters or homeowners insurance policy covers belongings in transit. Most movers offer so-called valuation coverage, which reimburses based on an item's weight rather than its value. You might get 60 cents per pound, which won't go far for something expensive-but-light like a painting or a flat-screen TV.

If you're paying by the hour, consider doing as much of the prep work as possible to reduce the time it takes to get everything out of the house. Pack boxes yourself, and take on easy tasks like rolling up rugs and securing cords of unplugged appliances like lamps and electronics. If you're up for it, disassemble bed frames and other items that will need to be moved in pieces.

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