Whenever you move, you have to spend money – but it doesn't have to be a lot. As you buy moving supplies, rent a truck, or hire professionals, the costs associated with moving can add up.
Learn how to smoothly transition to a new home without breaking the bank. There are plenty of ways to cut costs when you move. We’ll show you our top 6 ways to preserve your moving budget and save your sanity.
1. Use Free Materials
Although buying packing supplies won't be the most expensive part of any move, the costs can still add up. To avoid this, find packing materials for free.
- Find free boxes at stores, work, or online rather than buying new cardboard boxes, which can sell for $2 each
- Use old blankets, sheets, or towels as protective padding to cushion any fragile items or to wrap up electronics
- Wrap your plates and glassware in old newspapers instead of buying packaging paper
TIP: If you don't have any of these materials, or if you need more, you can always look at Facebook Marketplace or online forums where people list items that want to give away for free.
2. Do It Yourself
Perhaps one of the most obvious ways to make your move more economical is to do as much prep and moving by yourself as possible:
- Pack your items instead of paying a moving company or professionals packers
- Ask relatives and friends to help with both the packing and moving (but get a few pizzas to say thanks)
- Rent a truck and do the whole thing yourself
- Ask a friend who has a truck if they can help you transport bigger items that can’t fit in your car or rental unit
3. Self-service Moves
A self-service move can involve a combination of DIY packing, loading, and unloading– but includes a transport service to move your items. The transport usually comes in the form of packing pods or freight service.
- Packing Pods like PODS or U-Pack will drop off a storage container that you fill. They take it away and drop it off at your new location when you designate.
- Save money by carrying out your move quickly. Storage fees can accrue for some services if you work slowly or delay your arrival.
- Freight services allow you to pay by the linear foot so that you only pay for the storage space you need. This can be a great way to move across-country on a budget without having to drive a rental truck.
4. Use a Moving Company
While doing things yourself may be the cheapest way to go, it isn't always possible or practical. Get estimates from at least three different companies and compare the services that each one provides. Check Movers.com for free quotes. Although you shouldn't automatically go with the cheapest quote, you can check reviews from previous customers to make your decision easier.
TIP: Avoid low-ball offers and cheap flat-rate prices and be wary of too-good-to-be-true estimates. These moving quotes can wind up going grossly over budget or with unadvertised add-ons.
Most quality movers wind up costing close to their estimates – after all, it’s not good business to have many over-paying customers.
You can also potentially lower the cost of your move by making things easier for your movers:
- Decrease the time movers are on the clock by placing already packed boxes close to the door
- Disassemble bed frames or other large items, so you don’t have to pay people to do these little things. The more that your money goes to people picking up the heavy stuff and safely transporting it, the better. won't be spending time doing these things
- Check if your homeowner's insurance policy will cover your goods during a move before purchasing separate insurance
5. Get Rid of Excess
If you haven’t taken some time to purge your wardrobe, bookshelf, or storage space, now is the time. Everyone has plenty of things in their homes that they don't use. Don’t create more work for yourself by hauling these things to your new place.
Since the price of your move is often determined by the total weight of your goods, you’ll pay more than just the physical toll of moving these things. If you’re renting a truck or freight space, having fewer things will always cost less to move.
You’ll find that a small closet purge or garage cleanout can do wonders for your motivation. Throw out or recycle unusable items, then find a local second-hand store or charitable organization that will take your usable, unneeded goods. Of course,
TIP: While lightening your load can save you money, you can also use this opportunity to make some extra money by selling any unwanted goods.
- Sell your items in person at a home garage sale or yard sale.
- Sell your items online on:
- Facebook Marketplace
6. Move in the Off-season
Most people tend to move in the summer, between the months of June and September. This demand increases summer rates. So if it’s possible to move in the off-season between September and May, you could be in for some good savings. Be sure to avoid moving at the end of the month, which can be more expensive than mid-month moves – regardless of the season.
In the off-season:
- Many truck rentals and moving company services will offer less expensive rates between September and June
- Both long-distance and “across-town” moves will have better availability and rates – whether you rent or use movers
- Airfare, gas prices, and hotel rates are usually more expensive during the summer months, and many amenities tend to be much more crowded with seasonal visitors
- You can increase possible savings by booking six months in advance. Call around or book online for the best guaranteed rates.
Whether you do a full DIY move or hire professionals, there is always room to save some money. If you’re able to plan ahead, get good quotes, and move fewer things, then moving day doesn’t have to be too expensive.