A guest post by Pauline Hammerbeck, Allstate
Moving across country or even across town is expensive, but there are ways to hold down the costs. Here are eight frugal factors to consider:
1. Get rid of the things you don’t want. Craigslist is your friend at both ends of the move. Sell or donate the items you don’t need, or try Freecycle.org and give away the items you can replace for less than the cost of moving them.
2. Confirm that your insurance covers you. Your homeowners or renters policy probably covers your personal property in a move, but the details vary depending on your policy. Understanding your personal property coverage in advance can help you make the smartest – and cheapest – choices. While you have your agent on the phone, ask about transferring your coverage to your new address.
3. Round up free boxes and do your own packing. Groceries, drug stores, office supply stores and even Craigslist have lots of free boxes to give away. A simpler but still frugal option: buy used boxes from sites like UsedCardboardBoxes.com or Boxcycle.com (you can also sell boxes here and recoup some of your costs after the move). Consider, though, that a moving company won’t guarantee that items in boxes you pack yourself will arrive in one piece. So, you might want to prioritize: let the movers pack dishes and other breakables, and pack clothing, bedding, towels and other things that aren’t fragile yourself.
4. Rent a truck and drive it yourself. Before you sign the rental contract, ask your auto insurance agent how your coverage coordinates with the insurance coverage the truck rental company will want you to buy. If you’re not accustomed to it, driving a big truck can be tough. You’ll want good coverage if an accident should happen.
5. Choose a transport-only option. If you find driving a truck daunting, but still don’t mind doing most of the work yourself, find a company that will drop off a storage container. You pack it and then they pick it up and transport it by truck or train to your new location. When it gets there, you unpack it.
6. Hire a full-service mover. Some moving companies specialize in long-distance moves; others are set up to move you across town. (You’ll pay less if you choose a mover who usually handles your kind of move.) Get references and check out reviews online; choosing a less-than-reputable moving company is a common moving mistake. The mover you choose should be licensed and insured, though, their coverage can vary: It can be based on the total weight of your items (the most limited coverage), the assessed value of your items, or their full replacement value. Think twice before you choose the weight-based option. If the mover drops your 50-pound, 70-inch flat screen, for instance, you might only get a reimbursement of just $25. Adding a rider to your homeowners or renters policy specifically for that TV might give you better coverage, and, in the long run, can be a cheaper option.
7. Tune up your car and inflate your tires. Both will improve fuel efficiency, and that can mean big savings if you’re driving across country or even just across town. Simple changes in your driving habits can maximize your gas mileage and reduce pain at the pump.
8. Ask for help. If you’re moving to take a job, see if your new employer will help pay moving costs. Even if a relocation package isn’t part of new employer’s deal, some will have mercy and kick in a few bucks if you ask.
Guest blogger Pauline Hammerbeck is a content editor for The Allstate blog, which helps people prepare for the unpredictability of life.