YOUR MONEY: How you can pack up some big savingsAbout 13 percent of Americans move in any given year. With the average full-service interstate move at about $4,200, according to the American Moving and Storage Association, here are some ways to save:
By: Gregory Karp, The Morning Call (Allentown, Pa.)
About 13 percent of Americans move in any given year. With the average full-service interstate move at about $4,200, according to the American Moving and Storage Association, here are some ways to save:
Be flexible: Summer and the beginning and end of the month are the busiest times and likely to be most expensive. An off-peak move might mean you get a better crew too.
Choose wisely: Get three written, in-home estimates. And be suspicious of carriers seeking large down payments. Check out movers with the Better Business Bureau and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. See the free consumer handbook, "Make a Smart Move," at Moving.org, as well as www.protectyourmove.gov.
Declutter: The less stuff you pack and transport, the cheaper the move. Make piles designated for "garbage," "donation," "keep," "return to rightful owner" and "sell," suggests Laura McHolm, co-founder of NorthStar Moving.
Leah Ingram says she earned about $250 by selling an old file cabinet and kids playground equipment on Craigslist.org. She also auctioned toys on eBay. "My kids had grown out of them, and there was no reason to move them," said Ingram, author of the forthcoming book "Suddenly Frugal: How to Live Happier and Healthier on Less." Take an especially hard look at pool tables, sectional furniture and bulky exercise equipment.
Pack it smart: Fill suitcases, laundry baskets and plastic containers with small, unbreakable items. Use pillows, scarves and towels to wrap fragile belongings. Empty your shredder into boxes to use as packing material, Ingram said. Supermarkets and liquor stores are good sources of free moving boxes. Boxes and bubble wrap might be available free on Craigslist and Freecycle.org.
But don't stint on pricey electronics, said Alicia Rockmore, chief executive of organizational company Buttoned Up and co-author of "Everything (Almost) in its Place." "It's just not worth saving $50 on packaging if you have to buy a new $1,000 TV," she said.
Pack yourself: You can save hundreds of dollars by packing yourself. Leave fragile items to the pros, though, so they are less likely to break. This applies to the truck too. You can use a service that drops off a trailer or container for you to pack. It then picks up the load and transports it to the destination, where you unload it yourself.
Share the tab: If you're moving for a job, negotiate as lucrative a relocation package as you can. Keep receipts. Some moving expenses are tax deductible. See www.irs.gov and Publication 521 "Moving Expenses."