On the list of the most stress-inducing life events, moving is often at the top. And if you’re moving across state lines, it can be even worse.
Thankfully, there are ways to reduce the cost of moving cross-country, even if you can’t minimize the hassle. Here are 8 simple ways to save money when moving out of state.
1. Drive Your Own Truck
Hiring movers to drive your stuff across the country can cost several thousand dollars. At the same time, handling everything yourself just isn’t worth the headache. You can split the difference by hiring movers to pack up the truck and then drive it cross-country yourself. Or, if you’re motivated and want to save the most cash, pack up yourself and also drive your stuff to your new location.
A quote from moving.com showed that a move from New York City to Los Angeles costs between $6,120 and $8,676 with professional movers. However, renting a truck from Penske costs between $2,606 and $3,447, depending on the size of the truck.
Here’s another pro tip: remember to rent the truck in advance. The closer you are to your moving date, the more you’ll pay for a moving truck. You should also try to reserve a truck on a weekday and avoid holidays. Moving companies often jack up prices on weekends as well as on popular holiday moving dates like Memorial Day and Labor Day. Even if you aren’t exactly sure when you’ll move, book a date as soon as you find out you’re relocating. You can always change the exact date or type of vehicle later if your plans change.
2. Throw a Packing Party
If you’re truly committed to saving money on your move, you can take the above tip a step further. Instead of hiring movers to pack the truck or doing it all yourself, consider inviting friends over for a going away/packing up party. It won’t cost more than a few pizzas and some beverages, and you can drive away full of positive vibes and happy memories.
3. Get Free Boxes
Warehouse clubs, liquor stores, and other retailers are known for having boxes laying around the back room that are free for the taking – if you ask. You can also search for boxes on Craigslist. Many people are happy to give their moving boxes to someone else for free. If you have friends who work retail, ask if they have access to boxes.
The less you have, the cheaper it is to move. Consider every item you own and ask if you really want to take it with you. Do you need to keep the boxed DVD set of “Charmed” or can you toss it? You can sell any large or valuable items online and put the proceeds toward the move.
Another pro tip: If you donate your items and itemize your taxes, you can claim the contribution as a tax deduction.
5. Switch Banks
It’s time to close your old bank account. When you move to a new state, you might find your bank no longer has local branches or ATMs. Out-of-network ATM fees typically cost about $3 each time you use a cash machine. This can add up quickly if you use cash on a regular basis. But, if you switch to an online bank like Chime, you won’t have to worry about finding a location or ATM near you. Better yet, ATM fees for Chime members are free – all the time.
6. Keep All Receipts
The IRS permits you to deduct moving expenses if you relocate for work. If this is the case for you, keep any receipts related to your move so you can deduct them when tax time rolls around. Keep in mind that you can only deduct expenses such as gas, rental truck, and hotel.
7. Ship Your Belongings By Train
If your moving plans follow a train route, you may have a unique option available. Many people have success shipping their belongings by train and then flying to their destination. Amtrak allows you to ship up to 500 pounds total, with each package weighing no more than 50 pounds. You’ll need to call to get a specific estimate, but it’s about $67 per pound for the first 100 pounds and then 70 cents per pound after that.