Moving across the country is a significant expense. Hiring packers and movers, packing, and driving can cost you a lot of dough and add to your stress level.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Here are a few tips to consider to save you some cash should you find yourself taking that long trek on a cross-country move.

Plan Your Meals

Depending on the length of your trip, you could be spending up to five days on the road, which means spending money on food at restaurants. Spending money at restaurants adds up quickly, and costs you valuable time that you could be spending driving to your destination.

To make this cheaper and less time consuming, plan to pack a cooler full of good food to take with you. Pack water along with your favorite beverage. Also, don’t worry about calorie counting on this trip; bring along some of those feel-good snacks to make the trip more enjoyable.

Re-stock your cooler along the way to avoid having to stop at restaurants.

Clean House Before Moving

When we say clean house, we mean getting rid of all the non-essential items and furniture and junk you’ve accumulated. This lessens the amount of work the movers have to do, reduces the amount of packing material you need, and could mean getting a smaller truck — all of which save you money.

Don’t try to do this in a week or two, instead; plan on starting this process at least six months out, which should give you enough time to get down to just the “basics” you need for your new home.

Scrutinize Your Moving Company

While it’s tempting to save money on hiring a cheap moving company, consider the costs in the long run if you choose that route.

Do your homework to find a reputable mover, because they’re not likely to cut corners that can result in damaged or lost items. Also, a reputable mover will more often than not compensate you should they break or lose something.

Lastly, if possible, plan to move during non-peak times. Most people tend to move during the summer months, so if you can time your move for before May or after September, you can save money because your moving company won’t be as in demand.

Do it Yourself

While hiring a moving company has its advantages, the fact is you are going to be spending a lot of money. The solution is to rent a truck and move everything yourself. Sure, you don’t get the benefit of professional movers, and you’re going to be doing all the work, but you’re going to be saving a lot of money in the long run.

As with hiring a moving company, make sure you rent your truck from a reliable source. Make sure the truck is thoroughly inspected and “road ready” for a long trip.

No matter what, moving is expensive and stressful, but with a little planning, you can make the experience tolerable if not enjoyable. Check for local movers as well.

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