5 Tips to Making a Long Distance Move an Budget

Moving isn’t cheap, especially if you’re making a long-distance move to New York City. There are a dozen things that can eat up your moving budget and if you don’t have much money, those unexpected costs can really take a chunk out of your bank account. While there’s probably no way you can make a $0 long distance move, there are plenty of ways you can bring down the overall costs. If a cheaper long distance move to NYC is something you’re interested in then read on!

Why are Long Distance Moves so Expensive?

Before getting into how to save yourself money on your cross country move, it’s important to understand why there are so many costs associated with it. If you’ve ever made a local move before, you’re probably already aware of how quickly moving costs can add up. When it comes to a long distance move, there’s a lot more to consider. Regardless of whether you’re doing a DIY move or hiring professional NYC movers, you’ll have to deal with additional costs for:

  • Gas
  • Tolls
  • Extra packing materials
  • Sturdy boxes
  • Full value protection and third-party moving insurance
  • Tip for the movers

If you do use a moving company, remember that movers charge by volume and or weight for long distance moves. That means the more stuff you have, the more expensive your move will be.

While you might still need to spend almost a thousand dollars for a long distance move, there are ways you can shave off a few hundred dollars.

Consider Alternative Moving Options

Hiring a full service moving company might save you a lot of hassle, but it’s also expensive. If you’re trying to move long distance on a budget then there are other options to choose from. Not only are they more affordable, they also have the added benefit of providing more flexibility when it comes to scheduling and logistics.

Rent a moving truck

This is probably the most popular option and the cheapest. If you really want to save money, then a total DIY move is probably your best bet. Many truck rental companies offer daily rates so you might end up spending only a few hundred dollars. Some companies might even offer discounted rates if you rent for a week or more and many offer promotions for first time customers.

Besides the low costs, the next biggest benefit is that you get to move on your schedule. So instead of having to wake up at 8am to let a moving crew into your house, you can start at whatever time you want and get on the road at a later time to avoid rush hour traffic. You also don’t need to pack everything into boxes if you don’t want to! Of course, you should try to keep things as organized as possible, but why not toss your bedding and pillows into clean garbage bags? You’ll be saving money on packing supplies.

Of course, a DIY move means exactly that. You have to do everything yourself. That means loading and unloading your truck, finding parking (good luck with that in NYC), paying for gas and tolls, renting equipment like hand trucks and dollies, and more. Some companies do offer loading help, but the prices are on the higher side.

Rent a moving container

Unlike the pure DIY method, renting a portable moving container might be a better option if you don’t want to deal with renting a moving truck. Much like the DIY approach you have to load the container up with your belongings. Once you’re done, you just need to call the company and they will move the container from your home and transport it to your new location or storage facility. In the case of NYC, there won’t be enough space on the streets to drop off the container, so you’ll need to rent a storage unit, or you could ask the container company if they have on-site storage in the area.

While more expensive than the pure DIY approach, it’s a great option if you don’t feel comfortable driving a large moving truck. Just remember that there are some items the company will not move so make sure to check the container company’s website for more information.

Use a Shipping Company

If you don’t have a lot of things to move, you might be able to ship them to your NYC apartment. A lot of shipping companies offer flat-rate boxes for common items like clothes and electronics and the USPS offers affordable media mail shipping for things like books (does not include comic books) and DVDs. You can even schedule pickup of your items if you don’t want to bring everything over to the shipping facility.

Remember, it might take longer to ship your belongings than any of the methods above. However, it can be very cost effective especially if you own/rent a car to stuff all of the items you will need on moving. That way, you can keep your fragile and important items safe without overstuffing your car.

Look for Sales and Discounts

When making a long distance move, every dollar counts. That’s why you should take the time to look for any sales and discounts especially if you decide to hire professional movers. However, movers aren’t the only thing you need to worry about. So if you want to save a few bucks, read below for some tips

  • Look for sales – before you start packing anything, look online for some sales on packing supplies. You might be surprised to find some great deals from big box retailers on packing tape, boxes, bubble wrap, and more. If there aren’t any sales, check online classifieds for some used boxes and supplies.
  • Search for online promo codes – If you’re booking a rental truck or container, chances are you can find some useful promo codes. Some companies might even list their promo codes directly on their site, so make sure to keep your eyes peeled! You could save 10-15% off your order.
  • Get and compare quotes – when hiring professional movers or container companies, always get quotes from multiple companies. While there shouldn’t be too much of a price discrepancy, if one company is offering a promo, but you prefer another company, ask if they can price match.
  • Look for discounts – a lot of companies offer discounts for AAA members, military personnel, and senior citizens. If you fall under any of these categories, ask if there are discounts available.
  • Book in advance – don’t wait until the last minute to book your movers, truck or container rental! The earlier you can book, the more bargaining power you have as you can do your research and plan ahead. Plus, some companies will offer a discount if you book and confirm your moving needs in advance.

Avoid Moving During Peak Season

You can’t always plan when to move, but if you have the flexibility, your best bet is to avoid the peak moving season, which runs from May through September. Rates will be much more competitive during the off-season and you might even be able to negotiate some discounts since there won’t be as many people moving. Besides more affordable prices, you’ll also have more options on the exact day of the week you want your things delivered to your new home.

Besides this, try to move during the week if possible. Much like peak moving season, you’ll have more luck finding a truck or moving company on a weekday. Of course, all of this only applies if you have flexibility with your move date. If you don’t, then move when you can!

Declutter and Host a Garage Sale

Decluttering is always a good idea whether you’re making a local or long distance move. You avoid wasting your time packing things you don’t need and you can sell those items to pad your moving budget. Decluttering is especially important for a long distance move as you don’t want to bring something with you that you really don’t need. When you go through your belongings, be ruthless when it comes to decluttering. Only keep items that you use on a daily basis and leave behind any items that you no longer use or only use once or twice a month. Chances are if you’re moving to NYC you’ll also have less space to work with, so less is better.

Speaking of decluttering, leave behind your furniture as well. Yes, furniture is expensive to replace, but it will also bring up your moving costs significantly, especially if you hire professional movers. Unless you’re dealing with a piece of furniture that has been passed down through the generations, there’s no reason to keep it. Plus, you likely won’t be able to fit a large sectional sofa in your new NYC apartment anyway!

Get Help

There’s no reason to do everything yourself. Whether your family offers their assistance or a friend can help you pack, don’t turn them down! Heck, if you’re doing a solo move, you could even ask some friends to come with you on a road trip if they’re available! That way, you could take turns driving. You’ll be a lot less stressed, plus you’ll get to spend precious time before your move with your loved ones.

Even if you can’t find a friend or family member to help, you can always pay for help, that’s what moving companies are for! Yes, it won’t necessarily be cheap, but you also won’t have to deal with the logistics of a long-distance move. That means no money spent on gas, tolls, hotels, food, etc. Instead, you can take it easy and fly to your new location and wait for the movers to show up at your doorstep. They’ll handle everything else besides the packing and unpacking!

Bottom Line

Moving can take a toll not only on your mental health but your financial health as well. However, you don’t have to break the bank when you’re making a long distance move. Hopefully the above tips can help you reign in your costs. And if you decide to hire professional movers, make sure to give NYC Great movers a call and we’ll walk you through the process.


Are moving expenses tax deductible?

It depends. Moving expenses are only deductible if you are an active military personnel who was required to move due to a permanent change of station. If you are moving for a job, you should ask the company if they can reimburse you for relocation based expenses.

Can I negotiate rates with moving companies?

Yes, you can. Your best bet is to get quotes from a few companies. That way you have more leverage. On top of that, you’ll have better chances of reaching a successful negotiation if you are moving during the off peak season.

What happens if something gets lost or damaged during a long distance move?

Your items are automatically covered by partial valuation, which means you will be reimbursed up to $0.60 per pound per item. You have the option of paying for full value protection. With this, you will pay 1 percent of the valuation so if you believe everything you’re shipping is worth $50,000 you will pay $500 for protection. The company can then choose to have an item repaired or replace it with a like-kind item.