The cost to ship your possessions from one house to another averages $12,652 as of 2011, according to Worldwide ERC. If that five-digit sum is giving you heart palpitations, calm down. How much it will actually cost you to pack up and move from one home to the next depends on a few things, including the distance of the move and how much stuff you own. You can be able to recoup some of those costs in the form of a tax deduction.
When you hire a moving company, the cost of your move is calculated by the weight of your possessions and the number of miles between your current and new residence. Most moving companies use the book Tariff 400-M to figure out the quote to give you for the move. Zillow notes that a 1,400 mile move can range from $4,300 as of 2012 for possessions weighing 5,500 pounds to more than $15,000 for possessions weighing more than 20,000 pounds, or the average contents of a four-bedroom house. The time of your move also affects the cost. Moving in the middle of the month or on a weekday can save up to 30 percent, according to Kelli Grant of SmartMoney. It's also less expensive to move during the fall, winter and early spring, according to Laura Cohn of "Kiplinger."
Splitting the Work
You can save money by splitting the labor with the moving company. For example, if the movers pack and load the truck for you, but you do the driving, you can save up to 70 percent, according to Marilyn Lewis of MSN Real Estate. If the idea of driving doesn't appeal to you, you can switch roles and still save some money. Lewis notes that packing your stuff on your own saves you money. Loading your possessions onto a truck is tricky, and can lead to injury and damage if done incorrectly. It might be the one part of your move that you splurge on a bit, points out Lewis. When you are preparing to pack or in the midst of it, make an effort to get rid of items that are broken or that you don't use any longer. There's no need to pay to transport junk.
If you have the strength and tolerance for it, moving yourself means you can save a considerable sum of money. Daniel Bortz of "US News and World Reports" notes that some truck rental companies charge as little as $20 to rent a van for a day, plus the cost of mileage. The cost of a truck or van increases based on how long you need to rent it and the size of the truck. You can also save money on a do-it-yourself move by finding sturdy cardboard boxes for free.
Transportation and Other Costs
Moving has a number of hidden costs, too. If you rent a van or truck, you need to pay for the cost of refueling it before you return it. You will have to pay for food en route to your new home. Depending on the distance you are moving, you might need to pay to overnight in a hotel, and don't forget about the cost of insurance. Your stuff might be covered under your renter's insurance policy or your homeowners insurance plan. If it isn't, you should get insurance in case of an accident on the way, either from a private company or through the moving company.
Based in Pennsylvania, Emily Weller has been writing professionally since 2007, when she began writing theater reviews Off-Off Broadway productions. Since then, she has written for TheNest, ModernMom and Rhode Island Home and Design magazine, among others. Weller attended CUNY/Brooklyn college and Temple University.