smart spending

5 moves to cut moving van costs

Rent the right size at the right time
Rent the right size at the right time © bikeriderlondon/Shutterstock.com

Rent the right size at the right time

Most people lease moving vans on weekends near the end of the month, so rental firms sometimes offer discounts if you can use a truck earlier in the month, on weekdays or both.

"We have much more equipment available during the week, so we have lower rates then," Howell says.

And the bigger the truck you lease, the higher the rental rate you'll pay, so you'll want to carefully estimate how large a vehicle you'll need.

Most major rental companies have online tools that will calculate what size truck you should rent based on how many household items you plan to move. Rental firms' websites also usually include packing tips that can show you how to fit as much stuff as possible into each box while minimizing breakage risks.

Howell says customers focused on moving vans often forget to consider trailers, which cost less to rent.

For instance, a 6-by-12-foot U-Haul trailer to move from Manhattan, New York, to Washington, D.C., on Nov. 12 will cost you $166 versus $231 for a 14-foot truck. (How much weight you can carry will vary based on how big a car you use to tow the trailer.)

One caveat: Your automobile will need a permanent tow hitch to pull a trailer.

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