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If you’ve ever moved house, you know how expensive relocation can be. Depending on where you live, moving the contents of a three-bedroom home from one address to another in the same city will set you back approximately $1100-$1500. Now how much does it cost to move across Canada? That’s when things start getting pricey.

According to this website, the average cost of moving from Vancouver to Montreal is $6044, and packing and storing services are not included. That’s steep, even for those of us who aren’t on a tight budget, and enough to make you nervous if your destination is Halifax instead of Montreal.

Now for some good news. There are ways that you can ship all of your stuff thousands of miles without going into significant debt. You’ll have to do some research and be comfortable with price-shopping, but it can be done. This article shows you how to move across Canada as cheaply as possible so that you have the extra cash to set up a house in your new city.

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Hold a Yard Sale

When you’ve been in one place long enough, you accumulate clutter. Selling or donating some of your possessions can accomplish two important goals:

  • Make some extra cash to finance the move and receive a tax deduction for any donations.
  • Get rid of excess weight that can result in higher moving costs.

Go through your closets, drawers, and storage areas, removing anything you haven’t worn or used in ages. As a general rule, if you haven’t used something for over six months, it’s not likely you’ll need it again soon, so add it to the pile. Once you’ve gone through everything, hold a yard sale and donate any unsold items to the Salvation Army or another charity.

Don’t Buy Moving Boxes

When you’re moving, boxes are a must-have, which is why so many moving and packing supply companies charge high prices for them. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways that you can get all the free boxes you need for moving cross-Canada.

  • Ask friends and family members who have recently moved if you can have their boxes.
  • Post a request on your Facebook or Twitter accounts.
  • Ask your manager at work if you can bring home delivery or printer-paper boxes.
  • Approach local stores and ask if you can have any leftover delivery boxes.
  • If anyone moves into the neighbourhood, introduce yourself- and then offer to take their moving boxes off their hands!

Once you’re at your destination, you can earn some extra money by selling your used boxes on Kijiji. U-Haul also runs a box exchange where customers can sell, give away, or find boxes and moving supplies.

Look for Professional Discounts

Do some research on the cross-Canada moving services you plan to use to see if they offer discounts. According to this website, if you or your spouse/partner have served in the Canadian Armed Forces, the following companies offer military discounts

  • PODS
  • Public Storage
  • Access Storage
  • Hertz Car Rental
  • Enterprise Rent-A-Car
  • Straight Line Pro Moving (for those moving between BC and Alberta)

CAA members also receive discounts on services and merchandise at participating providers and retailers, so if you’re a member, be sure to mention the fact when asking for quotes.

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Date Your Move Strategicallydate your move

If you intend to rent a van, there are a few strategies you can use to lower the price. They include:

  • Escaping the higher weekend rates by moving between Monday and Thursday
  • Avoiding times when demand will be especially high, such as the beginning or end of the month

Think Outside the Box

Looking for an unconventional but super effective way to save loads of cash when moving? Try driving the moving van yourself, especially if you’re moving during the warmer months. If you go this route, you can save even more money by camping en route instead of paying for a hotel. It’s cheap, and many campgrounds even have sites designed for RVs, which is perfect when you’re driving a van or towing a trailer.

Let Greyhound Move Your Books

If you’ve ever moved before, you know that boxes containing books can feel like they’re full of bricks instead. Once you’ve gone through your personal collection and sold or donated any that you don’t want to keep, save some money on moving costs by boxing up the rest and shipping them to your new address via Greyhound.

While you might arrive before they do, the price is comparatively reasonable: according to the freight calculator on the Greyhound website, it costs $87.00 to ship 30 pounds of books (in three boxes) from Vancouver to Montreal. While this price may not compete with Media Mail in the U.S., shipping heavy books separately can be less expensive than hiring a bigger van and more movers to handle them.

Get Help From Friends and Family

If you have friends and family available at your present address and / or your destination, soliciting their help in loading and unloading the moving van lets you dispense with the need to hire professional movers, who may charge upwards of $60 to $80 an hour. You can compensate your helpers with pizza, a bottle of wine or a case of beer, or a gift card for their favourite store or online service.

If you’re looking for the cheapest way to move across Canada, having a friendly helping hand (or two) available at the beginning and end of your journey will do it.

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In Conclusion

As you can see, you don’t have to remortgage your new home to finance your long-distance move. If you bear the following in mind, you will have found the cheapest way to move across Canada for you:

  • Go for low-cost moving solutions like free boxes, bus transport, and volunteer movers
  • Look for discounts aimed at professionals and organizations you belong to
  • Move during the off-season, when prices are lower

Hopefully, you can use the suggestions above to put together the cheapest cross-Canada moving solution for your needs and budget  Best of luck and happy moving!