|Moving can be a very expensive venture, so if you are on a tight budget you may wonder how you can effectively cut costs. There are many easy ways to lighten the moving bill so that you can still safely relocate without breaking the bank. The time of year you move, the services you require, and the amount of your belongings will all have a major effect on the ultimate cost of your move. If you are worried about relocating on your budget, read on for some helpful tips on how to move on a fixed income.
Reused packing materials
You may not think buying cardboard boxes and packing paper could cost that much, but it does. Packing kits for a three-bedroom home can cost you hundreds of dollars. Rather than shelling out the cash for these costly cardboard products, you can find used boxes for free at your local grocery, liquor or book stores. Many merchants will not mind donating cartons after they have removed their stock, so stop in and inquire. You can also ask friends and family that have recently moved if they have any leftovers they can pass on to you. You can also use newspaper to wrap your belongings rather than packing paper.
However, when packing with used materials, be sure to verify that they are sturdy enough to safely hold your possessions. Reinforce the bottoms of your boxes with extra tape so that they remain sturdy and do not collapse under the weight of your items.
Move during the off-season
Summer is the busiest season for moving--school's out, college students are on the move, and there is no snow to worry about. However, due to the increased demand for their services, movers will charge a hefty summer premium. To avoid paying hiked-up prices, opt to relocate during the fall or winter months if possible. While you will have to brave the cold and possible inclement weather, you will save a bundle on your move.
Claim the move on your taxes
If you are relocating for work, you may be able to write off moving expenses on your tax return. There are a few restrictions on moving-related tax reductions--the move must be within one year of starting employment, you must be relocating a minimum of 50 miles, and you must remain in your new position at least 39 weeks after your move. Of course, if you are relocating for work, you should also be offered some sort of RELO package to cover your expenses.
Pack your own belongings
Even if you are hiring professional movers to transport your belongings, you can cut a significant amount off of your bill by packing your own items. Movers will charge extra fees for packing labor and materials, so be prepared to set aside several weeks prior to moving day to box everything up yourself. If you have a large home and a considerable amount of possessions, enlist the aid of some friends and family to help you pack. Buying them a thank-you pizza to show your gratitude will be much cheaper than hiring professionals!
However, keep in mind that movers will often not be responsible for damage done to belongings you have packed yourself, with the exception of proven negligence on their part. This means you should take the utmost care when packing your items, and read online packing guides (such as those on Movers.com) to learn the proper methods for wrapping and boxing your belongings. You may also opt to purchase additional insurance for your items--while it will be an added cost, it will still be less expensive than hiring packers. However, if you purchase insurance through your moving company, make sure the policy covers items you have packed yourself!
Compare quotes from several movers
Before choosing any moving company for hire, it is important to compare quotes from several different companies. You can start right now at Movers.com by filling out our fast and easy quote form and receiving quotes from up to seven moving services. The more quotes you can compare, the more likely you will be to find a great price! However, beware of automatically hiring the cheapest movers--if the quote is drastically lower than other companies, it can be a red flag for a scam. It is also very important to get an in-house estimate from any company before you enlist their services--this way, they can better assess your home and goods and give you a more accurate price.
Be sure to ask movers about any special fees they may charge to avoid any surprises on your final bill. Additionally, ask what type of estimate they provide--binding, non-binding, or binding-not-to-exceed. A binding-not-to-exceed estimate is the most cost-efficient--this means the cost that they quote you may end up being less when you get your bill, but cannot go over.
Downsize your belongings
A great way to save money when moving is to purge! It is very likely that you have boxes of old clothes, books you don't read, toys your children no longer play with, and silly memorabilia or knick knacks that you are hanging onto for no good reason. Take this opportunity to sort through your belongings and decide what you are willing to give up. Have a yard sale, donate to charity, or sell your unwanted items online. The less belongings you have to transport, the lower your moving costs will be!
Photo by: Stuart Miles (freedigitalphotos.net)