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The Cheapest Way to Move

September 5th, 2018 - 4:06 PM

Moving on a Budget: A Complete Guide to Cheap Moving 

If you’ve started getting moving quotes, you’ve most likely seen that there are many services to choose from — some cheap, some not-so-cheap. While moving on a budget probably takes full-service companies out of the mix, there are still several solutions to consider. But which is the cheapest? Check out common moving options to help you choose the right one for your situation, and then see tips for getting the lowest rate possible.   

a piggy bank to help save for a cheap moving option

How to Find the Cheapest Moving Company

The cheapest solution for one person isn’t always the cheapest for another. Make sure you’re selecting the most affordable movers by: comparing the options, evaluating the overall value, and understanding how distance can play a role in the price. 

Compare Inexpensive Moving Options

Truck rental may be the service you’re most familiar with, but it’s not the only way to save money. Explore the pros and cons of different cheap moving methods:   

Rent a truck

It makes sense to think that doing more work would mean cheaper prices, but that’s not necessarily the case. In addition to the truck rental rate, there are extra costs for fuel, taxes, tolls, liability insurance and travel. Add those expenses to the total to be sure you’re actually booking the cheapest solution. It’s also a good idea to look at mileage allotments and individual policies to see how they compare. 

Additional resource: What’s the Cheapest Moving Truck Rental?

Use a portable storage container

Portable storage can be a great way to get low prices, but it can be expensive if you don’t know what to watch for. When searching for a cheap moving container, take a look at included services to confirm you’re only paying for things you want. Many portable storage companies charge for 30-days of use, which may be too much time for some people.  

Try another DIY solution

An option like U-Pack® is a great alternative to cheap moving services that require you to do all the work. You save money by packing and loading, but you’re free to travel in the comfort of your own vehicle since we deliver door-to-door. Rates include fuel, tax and liability coverage, so there are no hidden fees.  

Ship boxes through the mail

A parcel service like the U.S. Postal Service might be best for shipments of only a few small boxes. But for a shipment of several boxes or even a few large ones, it may not be ideal. Most parcel shipments are priced based on weight and/or size, so the cost can go up significantly with heavy or large items. For this option, you may only want to ship things like clothes, paperwork or small boxes of books. 

Take a bus or train

If you have a small amount of belongings and don’t have a personal vehicle, a bus or train can be a cheap way to move. These services often have special rates, and are usually more economical than flying, but they do take a lot longer. With Greyhound®, you can bring up to 100 pounds of items in two bags. Amtrak® allows two personal items, two carry-on items and up to four checked bags. Check with the transportation service for additional baggage restrictions and for rules about pets — those policies may make moving on a bus or train difficult. 

Sell everything and buy new stuff

Thinking about starting over with brand new items? For a move out of a very small home or with items of little value, this might be a good option. However, buying new stuff (even if it’s used) can often be cost-prohibitive. While you may get good prices for your belongings, the cost to replace them is usually much higher. Before getting rid of everything, check prices of furniture and other items in your new city and compare to the moving quote.

Suggested Reading: Cheapest Way to Move Furniture to Another State

Consider the Overall Value

Getting a cheap rate is a great goal to have, but balancing cost with things like reliability and ease of use can have a huge impact on stress levels and how you spend your time. Before automatically eliminating a choice that’s a little more expensive, think about the benefits. Sometimes a small price increase is worth the convenience of not having to take care of a task. 

Know How Distance Impacts Rates

Distance often plays a large role in which company is the cheapest. Use these resources to see how rates change with longer moves:

You may also be interested in this guide on Understanding Moving Costs

The Best Ways to Move for Less  

Along with finding the right company, there are a few things you can do to get a cheaper rate. Use these tips to cut costs:

  • Downsize. While getting rid of everything may not be cost-effective, selling or donating unwanted items can make moving a lot cheaper. 
  • Pack well. Even if you’re not downsizing, packing and loading correctly can help you save. The more efficiently you pack, the less room items will take up (which may mean you can use smaller, cheaper equipment).
  • Use affordable supplies. Quality moving boxes and packing materials are important for keeping items safe during transit, but they don’t have to break your budget. Learn where to find cheap moving supplies

Which Areas have the Cheapest Moving Rates?

Just like airlines offer better prices for certain flights, some cities and states have lower rates to move into or out of. While you can’t control where you’re going or coming from, here are some locations that currently have low prices:

  • Houston, TX to Chicago, IL
  • Portland, OR to Indianapolis, IN
  • New Orleans, LA to Los Angeles, CA
  • San Diego, CA to Washington, D.C.
  • Phoenix, AZ to Biloxi, MS
  • Brooklyn, NY to Venice, CA
  • Kansas City, KS to San Diego, CA
  • Oakland, CA to Atlanta, GA
  • Fort Worth, TX to Nashville, TN
  • Columbus, OH to Sacramento, CA

Go U-Pack® for Cheap Moving

If you want affordable rates and reliable service, U-Pack® might be exactly what you’re looking for. It’s a “you pack, we drive” option that makes moving long distance simple and cost-effective. You pack and load, but we handle the driving. And our rates are based on the space you use. With more than 240 service center locations, we can deliver to most areas of the U.S. and Canada (including Hawaii, Alaska and Puerto Rico). Get a quote to see how cheap a move with U-Pack can be.    

Have other questions? Leave a comment below or give us a call at 800-413-4799

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