Blog November 30, 2020

The Cheapest Way to Move Out of State

Posted in Moving 101
Blake Shaw

Bostonian and residential moving and packing expert. Blake Shaw enjoys bar-hopping, music, and writing insightful content.

Did you know that 14% of the total US population or roughly 40 million Americans move every year, either locally, long-distance or internationally. If you are one of them, you should know that moving to another state is not on the low-cost side of the spectrum. So, what is the cheapest way to move out of state?

Truth to be told, there is no simple answer to that question, but rather a whole set of tips for various situations, and we prepared quite a few of them.

If you want to save some money on the whole relocation project, you have to be organized and methodical. The best approach is to be hands-on, whether you hire a relocation company, or do it on your own. Here we will try to help you stay in the loop and control all the aspects of the move that can be controlled.

First and the Most Important Tip – Plan Your Budget Ahead of Time

You should start preparing your move as soon as you reach the decision to change homes. Planning is the key if you don’t want your expenses to spiral out of control. What you should plan is the amount you will be able to spend on the relocation process, count in the living expenses for the first few months in your new place of residence and the cost of auto-transport, at the least.

If you are not relocating for a job, your budget might be quite strained in the beginning. That is why you should set aside money for the first few rents, utility bills, groceries, and transportation.

People calculating expenses before moving state to state
Planning your budget will reduce your expenses.

Tips for Making a Moving Agenda

A moving agenda is more of a useful resource than anything else. If you prepare it right, with the whole timeline of the relocation mapped out, you will leave little room for any huge and unexpected expenses. Your moving agenda should include:

  • Well organized moving out tasks, like canceling your apartment if you are renting, transferring your utilities to your new address, doing inventory, decluttering and packing schedule, gathering packing supplies, hiring a relocation company and the actual packing and loading. This is a quite simplified list, but it will grow once you break it into subcategories, and keep it open for anything that might eventually pop up.
  • You could add the services you are about to outsource next to the tasks. This is how you will have all the information about hired help or companies you are about to employ.
  • If you have more time on your hands, you could add an inventory list of the things that you plan to get rid of, and whether you are going to donate or sell them. You can add a pickup schedule if your items are getting collected from your home so that you don’t miss the appointment.
  • If you are hiring moving services, you should also put in all the services that you employ them for and the scheduled pick up or service time.
  • If you want to have all the things in one place, include the prices of all the services, materials and supplies on the agenda.
  • Try to stick to the schedule or reschedule your tasks on time so you don’t miss anything.
  • Once you are finished with the task, cross it off your list, or add new tasks if need be.
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Finding the Cheapest Way to Move out of State – How to Optimize Your Expenses?

Many factors will determine the final price of your move, and there is no universal way of counting the total expenses. What will definitely affect the price of the relocation is:

  • The distance
  • The weight and the volume of the cargo you are transporting
  • Quantity of the packing supplies
  • Specialty relocation supplies or custom crating for oversized cargo
  • Insurance for your belongings
  • Fuel, taxes, and insurance if you are renting a truck
  • Hired help for loading and unloading of your items and boxes
  • Tips for the hired help and movers

These are only some of the major categories, but there are always a few unplanned expenses that you should count in.

Although most people think that hiring a relocation company is more expensive than doing it all on your own, that is not always the case. While it is always more convenient having someone taking care of it all, it may surprise you that it could also be less expensive than organizing a DIY move.

Is a DIY Move the Cheapest Way to Move Out of State?

There are always surprise expenses when organizing a long-distance relocation, especially if you are doing it on your own. These are only a few of them that you maybe didn’t count on:

  • If you’re renting a truck, expect to pay for the fuel, the driver if you are not driving it and the insurance for the vehicle. There are also road taxes that are different in each state.
  • When buying packing supplies, you will never get as good a price as in the specialty stores or if you bought from the relocation company directly.
  • Don’t forget about the help you might have to hire for the loading and unloading of your belongings if there are no friends or family to assist you. Even if you do have someone to help you, you might still end up with the bulky and heavy objects you can’t move without proper equipment.
  • Renting equipment is another item on the list. You should count in the dollies, ramps, lifters and special security bands to move or secure your belongings.
  • Maybe the biggest possible expense on the list is the breakage and damage of your belongings as a result of improper packing.
Packing supplies
What is the cheapest way to move to another state?

Should You Choose Professional Movers or Do It Yourself?

All of this brings us to the next question: Should you hire movers? The short answer is – yes. Although you may think that you are perfectly capable of doing it all on your own, you may run into many problems down the road. The truth is that they are perfectly equipped and have much more experience than you. What that means is that they will know how to properly pack your belongings to optimize the space and time, without running into the risk of damaging anything. If you opt for the full package, you wouldn’t have to worry about packing, packing supplies, heavy lifting, securing your items, transportation, unloading, and unpacking.

mover picking up a box
Contrary to popular belief, movers could actually save you money.

What Are the Benefits and Limits of Hiring a Moving Company?

The movers have the upper hand in this case since they possess the necessary experience in all possible relocation situations. Besides that, they have the equipment and the materials to secure and safely transport all of your belongings. Most movers will recommend at least the basic insurance coverage because there are always unpredictable situations, and it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Declutter, Downsize, Donate – The Less You Ship, the Less It Will Cost You

The volume and the weight of your belongings are one of the most important factors that will affect the price of relocation. The golden rule is: don’t bring anything you won’t need in your new place or that has outlived its purpose. Of course, you are not going to get rid of the things that have great sentimental value to you, but be reasonable when deciding what those things are. You may end up bringing many trinkets or items that have no use if you don’t detach from the unimportant possessions. Things are just that, things – it’s the memories that count.

Box ready to be Donate
Besides the obvious gratification you get from doing something good, donating will grant you tax returns.

How to Downsize Properly and Reduce Relocation Costs?

The bulkiest items will create the most problems. If you have some Ikea furniture, there is no use bringing it with you, it would probably end up broken if you do not disassemble it, and we all know how hard it is to assemble this very affordable furniture. Transporting it would probably be more money than it is worth.

So, the first thing is to get rid of the furniture you won’t need anymore. You can donate it, sell it or dispose of it. The next item on your list should be your clothes. If you didn’t wear a particular piece of clothing for two years or more, get rid of it. The same goes for your shoes. One thing that most people overlook are fragile items, like glassware, mirrors, home decoration, etc. Unless it has some sentimental or monetary value for you, do not bring it to your new home. You will waste money on packing and padding supplies and time on securing it properly.

How to Make an Inventory List?

An inventory list is a great tool to get a clear picture of the number of your possessions. If you never made one, now is the perfect time to do it. The inventory list will help you in many ways:

  • You could have a clear insight into the volume, number and value of your belongings
  • Only with a well-organized inventory list you can claim insurance in case anything unexpected happens
  • If you organize your list so as to include all the details about your home appliances and electronics, you will always know where your warranties are in case anything breaks down
  • This is a perfect opportunity to decide what you need and what you won’t need any more

You can divide your inventory list into categories like furniture, home appliances, electronics, and glassware. The best way to make an inventory list is to go room by room, input the items into designated categories and add details like when was something bought, how much did you pay for it and even a short description.

Checklist, coffee and pen
A carefully-crafted inventory list is a tool that you can use anytime for many reasons.

Where to Find Free Packing Supplies?

You do not need to pay staggering amounts of money to get packing supplies – you could find many of those materials for free or lying around your house. If you visit a local grocery store, more often than not, they’ll be glad to give you their excess boxes for free or for a fraction of the real cost.

Another great tip is to save the original packaging of the electronics and home appliances since they are specially designed to ensure safe transport.

As for padding and safety, you should consider using your clothes, blankets, pillows and rugs as free alternatives. You can easily wrap your delicate items in your clothes, electronics in blankets and stuff your boxes with pillows to prevent tumbling when transporting.

Box full of crumbled packing paper waiting to be used for moving state to state
Don’t waste your money on brand new boxes unless it is necessary.

What Are the Must-Have Packing Supplies?

As for many things during the whole relocation process, it could come in handy to make a list of packing supplies that you are going to need. These are only the essential ones, but feel free to add some more if you need them:

  • Boxes
  • Bubble wrap
  • Packing tape
  • Shrink wrap
  • Scissors
  • Labels for the boxes
  • Markers
  • Suspending bands
  • Custom crates

Where to Rent Moving Equipment?

Of course, you can find dollies, lifters, moving blankets and floor protectors at your relocation company, or specialty store, but you could also borrow it from other places. For example, your favorite local bar could perhaps borrow you a hand truck or a dolly. You could also use your own blankets as a cover while old cardboard and sponge could serve as a floor cover.

A house-shaped box on a dolly
You could borrow some equipment and save money.

What Are the Additional Expenses If You Rent a Moving Truck?

Now, the truck is probably something you wouldn’t be able to borrow, you would have to rent one. It may seem as straightforward as paying the rental fee, but there are other expenses to count on. Some of those expenses are:

  • Fuel
  • Insurance for the vehicle
  • Hired help to load and unload the truck
  • Road tolls

When you put that all on paper, it may surprise how much more you would have to pay than you originally planned.

Important Car-Shipping Tips to Follow

Car shipping is not straightforward, either. You should first find a reliable car shipping company. There are some things that could cost you more if you do not organize everything on time:

  • You have the option of an open or enclosed carrier, each one has its pros and cons, but if the budget is your main concern, know that the open carrier is cheaper.
  • You can choose between door to door or terminal to terminal delivery.
  • If you schedule car shipping early on, you will pay less than if you schedule it last minute.
  • Empty your car of all the unnecessary things, and drain out the reservoir. Not only will the added weight cost you more, but it is also unsafe to transport the car with a full tank and the shipping companies won’t allow it.
  • Do a detailed check-up before you ship it. You should know about any mechanical errors, dents or scratches beforehand so that you could claim reimbursement if something happens along the way.
Open car shipping trailer
If you are planning to relocate on a budget, choose an open carrier.

Should You Ship Your Vehicle Across the State?

Sometimes, it may not be a smart move to ship your vehicle. If the car is in a really bad condition and requires a lot of repairs, you should count that and the shipment expenses and see where you’re at. If it will cost you almost as much as buying a used or a new car in a better condition – there is no point in breaking the bank for the shipment.

Final Tips That Could Save You a Lot of Money

Besides the free supplies, reasonably-priced services, and good organization, there are a few more things here and there that could save you money when you are relocating:

  • Pack your clothes and linens into vacuum bags, you will save space and money
  • Donate the things that you do not plan to carry with you, you will get a tax return at the end of the year
  • Sell your unwanted items online or organize a garage sale and earn some money,
  • Get quotes from multiple relocation companies and choose the one that suits you best
  • Hire all the services you need months in advance, it is cheaper that way
  • Don’t move during the peak moving season(summer), holidays or on the weekend. Choose a less busy time for movers like autumn, winter, and workdays.

While relocation will definitely impact your budget, there are ways to save some money. The best way to move efficiently is to organize well and you will have much more room to compromise and pay less than you would if you run headfirst into all of it.

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