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6 ways to cut down on moving expenses

With more people working remotely than ever before due to the coronavirus pandemic, many Americans are beginning to reconsider where and how they want to live.

But the fact is moving doesn’t usually come cheap. The typical move can cost anywhere from $778 to $2,087, according to HomeAdvisor.

You can spend far less than that if you have a smaller home or fewer belongings, while also spending far more — anywhere from $2,500 to over $6,000 — for an out-of-state move.

But regardless of why you’re moving, or how far you’re going, there are plenty of ways to save money on your moving expenses. Here’s how.

kali9 via Getty Images

Purge your belongings

This probably comes as no surprise, but the fewer things you have to move, the cheaper your move will be.

That’s because moving expenses can vary based on the length of your move, the weight of your belongings, how many movers you need, and the size of the truck needed for your move. Instead of shuffling those same unpacked boxes from move to move, take time to donate, sell, or ditch what you don’t need.

Scout for free packing materials

Why pay for boxes and bubble wrap when you can get them for free?

Post a request for boxes and other packing materials on social media sites like or through U-Haul’s Box Exchange. Liquor stores and grocery stores are also good places to check for free boxes.

Westend61 via Getty Images

Move during off-peak times

While you can’t always control when you move, you can save money by planning your move for off-peak times.

The middle of the week and the middle of the month are the cheapest times to move because many people want to move on weekends or when their lease is up at the beginning or end of the month, said Meyr Aviv, founder and CEO of moving company, MovingAPT.

The season matters, too. The most expensive time to move is May through September. The cheapest months to move are January and February, especially in cold weather climates, Aviv noted.

Book in advance

Waiting to book your movers until the last minute can get very expensive, especially during peak moving season. Try to book movers at least four weeks in advance for a local move and at least eight to 12 weeks in advance for a long-distance move.

“People often wait too long to book their moving company,” Aviv said. “You want to leave yourself time in case something goes wrong.”

Young professional couple are moving home they have a checklist on tablet computer.
Young professional couple are moving home they have a checklist on tablet computer. (10'000 Hours via Getty Images)

(Maybe) skip the upgraded moving insurance

Do you need moving insurance? That depends.

Most moving companies offer released value protection at no extra cost, so make sure you ask for that coverage. Just keep in mind that it won’t get you much. Released value protection only reimburses you $0.60 for every pound that an item weighs.

So, if your 30-pound flat-screen TV gets damaged, you’ll only be reimbursed $30. You can also upgrade to full value protection coverage, which is much more comprehensive.

Workers loading a delivery truck.
Workers loading a delivery truck. (Camrocker via Getty Images)

However, because “most moving insurances also have high deductibles,” Aviv said, that might only make sense if your belongings are pricey or you’re moving long distance.

Share the move

If you’re moving long distance, you can save money by sharing your truck with other people who are moving, too.

In that case, you’re not charged to rent the entire truck, but just for the amount of space your belongings take up in the truck. Be prepared that you might have to wait longer to get your belongings delivered.

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