Moving long distance is stressful and expensive. Setting a budget for the move allows you to keep costs on track. Here are seven effective strategies for keeping your long-distance move on a budget.

1. Use Free Moving Boxes and Supplies

Start collecting moving boxes and supplies as soon as you know you will be moving. Check Craigslist and other online forums for free moving boxes. Many people give them away after they finish unpacking. Check liquor stores for sturdy boxes. See if family and friends might have some boxes tucked away in the attic.

2. Move at Off-Peak Times

Movers have busy times and not-so-busy times. You will pay premium prices if you choose to move during one of their peak times. If possible, move between September and May to avoid the summer moving crowd. Avoid holidays or the end of the month.

Have the movers arrive in mid-week instead of the weekend. Families tend to move over weekends due to school and work obligations. Weekends are prime time.

Book the movers as soon as possible. Last-minute moves come at a premium price.

Try to move at the off-peak season so a crowd doesn’t add to the hassle of moving.

3. Ask Family and Friends

Ask your family and friends for recommendations on professional movers, especially if they’ve moved recently. Also, ask about any negative experiences they had.

See if your family and friends can help with packing. An extra set of hands, even for a few hours, will make a difference. See if they can babysit the kids or pets on moving day to make things go smoother.

4. Declutter and Downsize

Only pay for what you need to take with you. As you pack, start getting rid of the stuff you no longer need or want. Get rid of stained or broken items. See if family and friends can use what you don’t need. Sell the rest or donate to charity.

Consider donating or putting up a yard sale for items you want to get rid of.

5. Get Multiple Quotes

You want a minimum of three quotes for the move. Ask each mover for a binding estimate. Then compare the quotes carefully. Getting three quotes from a site like Cheap Movers Houston allows you to see what the average price of moving is and if one offers a better value than most. Look through the terms and conditions carefully. You don’t want a nasty surprise with hidden fees and costs.

6. Pack Everything Yourself

Getting movers to pack your belongings is expensive. Do the work yourself. Start with the less used items first. Work room-to-room. Label everything. Take a count of the boxes before they go on the truck.

7. Travel Cheap

Moving long-distance means you have to get your family there along with your belongings. Prepare to travel cheap. Bring a cooler with drinks and snacks. Buy the stuff to make sandwiches and other easy-to-make meals, so you can avoid the cost of eating out regularly. Stay with family along the way to cut down on accommodation costs.

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