If you sat down to make a list of all the stressful things about moving, money would probably come in at numbers one through six. The move itself is a crazy time -- the packing, the lifting, the cleaning, the organizing of who-knows-how-many garage sales. Shelling out for full-service moving company rates can add insult to injury. Luckily, money is one of the few aspects of moving with any kind of flexibility. If you know where to look, that is.
Saving Some Money
Oftentimes, household moving company rates include full-service loading, packing, and unloading. While this can certainly make for a more relaxing move, your Zen-like state might evaporate quickly when you look at the hit to your bank account. You can drop those moving company rates a bit by opting to do your own packing, loading, and unpacking, while the company provides the truck and the driver.
Saving Even More Money
Mobile moving containers and portable storage units can also provide a welcome break for your finances, compared to full-service moving company rates. You're usually responsible for your own packing, loading, and unpacking, but there's more flexibility in scheduling, an easier loading process (ground-level as compared to a raised truck bed), and you have a built-in option for storage if you need it.
Saving Too Much Money
By far, the most economical option is still a rental van... but what you gain in savings you pretty much instantly pay for in hassle, stress, and headaches. Reservations are notoriously less-than-guaranteed, the equipment you need could be in any state of disrepair (or in any state, for that matter), and you're constantly on a deadline to get everything done as quickly as possible.
Ultimately, only you can decide if your sanity is worth the arm and a leg it costs to hire professional movers to do all the work for you. Middle ground does exist (moving containers), and the intrepid among you may even opt to shimmy your worldly possessions up the skinny metal ramp of a moving truck. Just be sure to weigh your options carefully: the middle of a move is one of the worst places for a nervous breakdown.