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Moving can be expensive, especially if you have a lot of stuff, hire professional movers or need to transport your belongings a long distance. No matter your circumstances, there are several ways to keep the costs under control.

Move Yourself, If Possible
Consider a DIY move. You can rent a truck for a fraction of the cost you’d pay a moving company. A handful of family members and friends can help you load it up and carry your possessions into your new home. This option makes sense if you’re moving locally, but it can be much more of a challenge if you’re relocating a longer distance.

If You Need to Hire Movers, Shop Around and Be Flexible
If you are moving a long distance or can’t find people available to help, you’ll have to hire a moving company. Prices vary depending on the date and time of the move, the volume and weight of items being transported, and the number of movers needed.

Moving companies tend to be busiest from spring to late summer, at the beginning and end of each month, and on the weekends. If you avoid those periods, you may be able to get substantially lower rates.

Contact at least three companies to get estimates. Be as specific as possible about what you’re moving so you can get accurate quotes, and be flexible on the date if you can. Compare rates to decide whether to pay a flat fee or by the hour.

Read the contract carefully, and make sure you understand the amount of insurance coverage included. If you don’t think it’s adequate, consider paying for additional insurance. Also check for any extra fees, make sure you understand what they’re for and look for ways to avoid them if possible.

Purge Unwanted Belongings and Pack Yourself
Before you start packing, go through your home and get rid of things you no longer need or want. Eliminating those items now can help you control your moving costs and avoid clutter in your new home.

Many moving companies offer packing services, but they can add a bundle to the overall bill. If you have the time and energy, pack yourself. Again, family and friends can be recruited to help out.

Local stores are often happy to give away free boxes to anyone who asks. Family and friends may also have some lying around. You might be able to find free boxes, as well as supplies such as bubble wrap, online for free or at low prices.

Reduce the Stress of Moving
Relocating is often stressful, but the cost doesn’t need to be one of the things keeping you up at night. Do as much as you can yourself and with the help of family and friends. If you need to enlist the services of a moving company, shop around for the best rates and try to avoid peak days and times.