Around 14% of the American population moves every year. Many of those aren’t just moving down the street either. Cross-country moves happen all the time but have a very bad reputation.
Most people who are faced with this kind of long-distance move ask themselves: how to best move across the country? If you’re looking for the cheapest way to move across the country, look no further.
We’ve compiled 8 of the best tips to save you money as you take on this new adventure!
1. Create a Plan ASAP
As soon as you know you will need to make a move, you should make a plan. This is the best way to secure the cheapest long distance moving options.
A common mistake that people make is to put off making any plans until it’s close to the time to leave. This significantly limits the options available. It becomes impossible to shop around for the best prices.
Instead of being able to get quotes and compare rates for moving companies, the consumer is forced to use whichever company is available on those dates.
When you get the time frame for your move, secure dates with whatever type of moving vehicle you’ll be using. The exact locations and other specific details can be handled later. But securing the dates is critical.
If you wait too long to take care of some of the moving plans you may run into unexpected fees. A move is already stressful; you don’t want to be scrambling to get things sorted last minute.
2. Pack Extra Carefully
One of the main expenses of a move actually comes when the house is being unpacked. Broken furniture and damaged household items can really add up to be a big cost when they have to be replaced.
Cross-state movers can save themselves the money and hassle of having to rebuy items by taking the time to thoroughly pack their belongings.
The way that things need to be packed when moving across the country is significantly different than moving across town. Items should be packed tightly together to avoid any movement within the box. This movement is often what causes chips, dings, dents, or scratches.
Everyone knows that the breakable items should be wrapped up before being put in the box. But that same care should be put into packing other items as well. This includes frames, artwork, dishes, and even furniture pieces.
It’s easy to be in a rush when moving, but slowing down a little to carefully pack your home will give you greater peace of mind and potentially save you some cash.
3. Handle What You Can
There are a lot of steps that have to get done before you can move. And there are companies you can hire to do each of those steps. But one way to save some money is to handle what you can on your own.
It would be much less effort and time to hire out these jobs. But the effort is often worth the savings.
One of the things that can easily be done by the homeowner is to clean the space after everything is packed up. A good, general cleaning makes the home ready for the next set of inhabitants.
If you clean as you go while packing, the job is cut down significantly and keeps you organized.
When you can, it’s a big budget booster to tackle these smaller aspects of a move on your own.
4. Time Your Move Strategically
If you have control of your timeline, moving during the “off-season” can save you quite a bit of money.
Most people choose to make a long-distance move during the summer. This makes sense, as the weather is better for loading, travel, and unloading. Also, families are more flexible in the summer with less worry about switching schools or leaving activities.
Moving companies are obviously very well aware of the peak seasons and most popular moving times. Their prices reflect that knowledge, as it’s generally more expensive to have them work for you then.
While admittedly not as comfortable, moving in the off-seasons can bring you a lot of savings. These companies are happy to get business at any time of the year, so they are generally more willing to work with you on the prices when they aren’t as in demand.
You may also save money in the off-season if you will have to stay at hotels along your way.
5. Hire a Moving Company
It seems counterintuitive, but hiring a moving company can often lead to big savings in the end.
There’s a variety of moving company options that take you out of the driving equation. These long-distance movers transport your belongings to the new destination while you make your way there on your own.
Moving companies have the logistic side of things completely under control. They do these kinds of moves all the time and therefore know the best way to do it.
That knowledge is a great asset and can save you a lot of money, not to mention all of the mental effort and time it would take you to figure out the quickest, most economical route to take.
Often , when you decide to move your things on your own, you then have to figure out what to do with your vehicles as well. Letting a moving company handle the belongings frees you up to handle your vehicles.
A moving company takes a lot of the stress out of moving across the country.
6. Double Check Your Move-In Times
Any move is stressful because there are so many moving parts to keep track of.
You have to know when you need to be out of your current residence, when you can get into your new residence, how you’re getting your stuff there, who is helping you, and how much it’s all costing. And there’s even more than that!
One of the most helpful things you can do is to coordinate your belongings’ delivery date and your move-in date.
Moving companies driving long distances can’t hold onto your things for you if they get there before you can get in. If that’s the case, you’ll have to pay for storage. And then, worst of all, pay to move it in when you can.
There are all different ways this scenario can play out. But it’s important to keep these dates front in your mind and have a clear plan of action.
Being prepared helps you to reduce unforeseen, last-minute things you have to pay for.
7. Subsidize Costs by Selling Stuff
No matter how you choose to handle your cross-country move, it’s going to cost you a good amount of money.
But you can subsidize that cost and make up some of the money you’ll have to spend by selling some things before you move. These days, you can sell anything online, from furniture to old DVDs.
As you pack up, take notice of the things that you don’t really use or won’t need in the new house. Then place those for sale online!
This brings you a little bit of extra money in a tight time. But it also saves you the energy of moving things you don’t want, and that is as freeing as it gets! It may save you money by saving you space in the moving truck as well.
It’s a win-win all around.
8. Capitalize on Small Savings
Some of these bigger expenses in a move, like the moving truck, are unavoidable when traveling across the country. But there are a lot of ways to save on the smaller aspects of a move.
One of the biggest ways is to find deals on moving supplies. Many businesses constantly have an excess of cardboard boxes, if you go around town and collect these you can save yourself a lot of money.
Also using materials you already have to package things up, like towels or blankets, can save you from buying filler.
Some companies have incentives and discounts available that when combined together may save you some money in the long run as well. These could include renting their packing supplies inclusive in the rental truck price or scenarios like that.
The key is to take the time to see where your money is going and if there are better ways it can be spent.
Now You Know the Cheapest Way to Move Across the Country
A cross-country move costs a few thousand dollars on average. If you’re switching jobs or starting a new chapter, that might be money that you don’t have available.
The added stress of money can make an exciting change stressful. However, by following our tips for the cheapest way to move across the country you can ditch the stress and kickstart the savings.
If you’re getting ready to move, check out some of our other articles to learn about homes across the country!