How to Reduce Moving Costs For Real

June 3, 2024

Whether you’re moving cross country or just across town, the costs associated with a move can really add up fast if you’re not careful. According to recent studies, the average American will move 11 times in their lifetime. With professional movers charging $2,000 – $5,000 even for local moves, expenses can become significant over time. However, with some strategic planning and smart choices, it is absolutely possible to save money on your next moving. In this guide, we’ll cover some proven tactics for reduce moving costs that can take hundreds or even thousands off the total bill.


Do Some of the Work Yourself

One easy way to reduce moving costs is to take on certain tasks yourself rather than hiring help for every step. For example, you can save a lot by packing your own boxes ahead of time. Movers will charge premium rates for this labor-intensive job.

Packing early also helps prevent last-minute rush packing issues. Consider packing non-essentials yourself and hiring load-only services which are generally cheaper. You can also try three-day-long-distance self-moving options like U-Box pods that do the driving for you.


Compare Movers Thoroughly

Getting accurate, up-front binding estimates from several moving companies is key. Most will provide free at-home estimates, but make sure every quote is for the same inclusions and you understand any additional fees.

Reputable sites like that connect users to top-rated local and long-distance moving companies nationwide can help streamline comparison shopping. Finding the right balance of cost, communications, flexibility and customer satisfaction will save you a lot of trouble down the line.


Trim Belongings

An obvious way to cut costs is moving less stuff! Before your relocation date, go through every room of your home and yard sale or donate anything you no longer need or use. Limiting what gets packed and transported also reduces cleaning, packing supply and weight fees.

For expensive bulky items like furniture, consider selling them rather than moving if the resale value helps to reduce moving costs. And opt for light, collapsible boxes if possible over solid crates which are more expensive per container.


DIY When You Can

Certain moving tasks don’t necessarily require hiring full-service help. For example, empty smaller personal or office storage units yourself easily with a rental truck rather than movers’ labor. Clean and disconnect major appliances before the move so they aren’t charged at an hourly services rate.

If you’re renting your new home, pack non-essentials in portable tubs before final cleaning at your old place to avoid storage fees. And consult online guides to disassemble some large furniture yourself to avoid complex-item premium rates. Every little bit you DIY cuts costs significantly over time.


Be Strategic with Dates and Timing

The time of year and days of the week you move can directly impact your bottom line. Moving in January may seem miserable, but it’s often less busy and cheaper versus peak seasons of May through September. Thursday through Sunday moves tend to carry premium weekend rates as well.

Consider scheduling for a new place that will be ready 2-3 days before your actual move date to use short-term storage on-site free of charge. And avoid holidays or major moving seasons whenever possible,This could help reduce moving costs and not be affected by high demand. Strategic planning up front goes a long way.


Use Discounts and Offers

Most movers offer regular discounts between 10-30% for military, student, teacher, first responder and senior citizen moves. Ask up front about any advertised promotions too before signing estimates.

You can also save booking an early-bird long-distance moving reservation more than 4-6 months out or paying the entire estimated charges by certified check or wire rather than on arrival. Combining savings opportunities maximizes cost reductions.


Opt for a PODS Style Moving Container

DIY container storage solutions like PODS, U-Pack, and 1-800-Pack-Rat pods are a budget-friendly alternative to full-service movers. The drop-off container approach avoids paying hourly truck and labor rates if you load it yourself over a few days.

Pods are then delivered by the company straight to the new address at your scheduled time so you’re not rushing the packing process. Look for initial special offers and know average pod rental pricing to budget appropriately up front.


Rent Your Own Truck

Renting your vehicle yourself from U-Haul, Budget, or other rent-by-the-day services to haul belongings can save over full-mover costs if you have help loading and unloading. Be sure to reserve well ahead, especially for peak timing. Consider used “rent-me” trucks for multiday rental discounts.

Always buy the damage protection on rentals but maintain the vehicle carefully to avoid unnecessary fees at return. Fueling up with gas receipts helps resolve disputes too. Moving yourself is very doable for cost-conscious folks.


Get Creative with Housing

Around moving time, consider staying with friends, family or renting a long-term AirBnB near your new location short-term. Motels also offer weekly rates that split duration cheaper than daily pricing.

This avoids rush packing and moving multiple times. Storage units nearby reduces truck driving fees too. Research furnished sublets or temporary corporate housing also as potentially cheaper options to save on unpacking costs for 30+ days. Out-of-the-box thinking pays off.


Negotiate for Better Prices

A good moving company wants returning customers and will work with you creatively. Be fully transparent on your budget limitations but not demanding. Let movers know you appreciate any help lowering expenses through package deals, waiving peak fees or reducing inclusions.

Honest, friendly communication is key to getting counteroffers and price matching other estimates. It’s okay to ask “what’s the best you can do for my situation?” Presenting feasible solutions to reduce costs together seals the deal amicably.

In summary, moving savings require planning, research and engagement on your part. But reducing moving expenses anywhere from 15-50% is absolutely possible with the right strategies.