26 Tips for How to Move on a Budget

Moving house has a way of inching up the budget every time we look in the other direction. That’s why we’ve collected the top 26 ways to save a ton of money this moving season. 

  1. Skip the scams

Did you know that moving scams are up 91% from last year? A moving scam can bottom out your bank account faster than you can say ransom. One of the best ways you can keep your budget low is by avoiding a highly expensive mistake later on. Make sure you’re hiring trustworthy movers so that all your earthly belongings arrive safely at your new home. 

  1. Create a moving budget

Get clear on what you can afford by making a detailed moving budget. Tally up the total amount you can spend on your move, and put this budget somewhere you frequent, like the bathroom mirror or refrigerator. 

  1. Update your budget every week

At the beginning of each week, return to your budget and review it. Keep track of your expenses and note if you’ve gone over your budget anywhere. If you need to make adjustments, do so at the beginning of the week so that you can stick to your goals in the following days. 

  1. Give yourself extra moving time

Last-minute moving conveniences and services almost always cost extra. The more advance time you give yourself to pack and move, the more likely you’ll find deals, coupons, free boxes, and lower rates. 

  1. Give your movers advance notice

Professional services often cost more when they’re scheduled last minute. As soon as you can, book your movers so that you can snag the lower fees.

  1. Be flexible with your moving date

Moving services at the beginning and end of the month, and on weekends typically cost the most. Even the time of day can affect your final fee. Ask your moving company when their services are the cheapest, and adjust your moving date and time if possible. 

  1. Take out the trash

Before you begin packing, sweep through the house and discard any items that you don’t want anymore but can’t be donated or sold. These would include half-used toiletries, expired food, old paper documents, clothes with holes, broken equipment, or damaged furniture. A smaller move is a cheaper move, so clear out these items first.

  1. Purge next

Once you’ve taken out the trash, collect all the items in your house that you don’t want to haul with you. Perhaps you don’t love your bed frame or couch. These bulky items will take a significant amount of time to load and unload and a big portion of a moving truck. Leave what you can part with behind to make your move as small and inexpensive as possible. 

  1. Host a yardsale

Before you call for bulk trash pickup, try to sell the furniture and items you’re purging from your home. A neighbor might be willing to pay for that old dresser or unworn coat. You can also sell your used clothes at Plato’s Closet. Use your profits to cover some of your moving costs. After your yard sale, see if anyone will take unbought items for free—in some cities, bulk trash pickup can be very expensive. 

  1. Finish packing

Professional movers charge by the hour, so if you’re still packing when they arrive, you’ll be paying for each extra minute. Make sure everything is boxed, taped, and prepped for the professionals so that you’re paying for as little time as possible. 

  1. Eat your food

Delivered pizza is as common as cardboard boxes during a move. It’s easy, during all the busy moving tasks, to order dinner every night, but you’ve got a kitchen full of food that you probably won’t take with you. Eat what you have in your fridge, freezer, and cabinets first to save a lot of money in the long run. 

  1. Look for free supplies

You can find free moving boxes at Criagslist, liquor stores, Barnes & Noble, Starbucks, U-Haul, Office Depot, Walgreens, Walmart, the Dollar Store, and Petco. Check on craigslist for any free moving supplies. Stop by these stores and ask an employee if they have any free boxes available. 

  1. Skip the peanuts 

Cushioning materials can be the most expensive moving purchases of the lot. Instead of shelling out money for these items, use what you already have. Towels, clothes, socks, blankets, and linens can replace packing peanuts, bubble wrap, and packing paper. 

  1. Ditch fancy labels

While cute, packing labels are just an extra and unnecessary cost. Stick with a thick marker instead. You can easily write on the outside of the cardboard box and include any information you’d write on a label. 

  1. Make your own wardrobe boxes

Wardrobe boxes are pricey. Instead of buying them, you can order your own wardrobe bars and install them into large cardboard boxes. Alternatively, you can wrap your hung clothes in large trash bags to protect them from dirt and damage during transport.  

  1. Use furniture and luggage as boxes

Your home is full of items you can use as boxes. Fill in the gaps that you have by packing up suitcases, plastic tubs, drawers, and file cabinets. 

  1. Invest where necessary

Budgeting well includes knowing where to pair down and where to invest. There are some circumstances where you shouldn’t cut corners. Make sure you have some heavy-duty boxes (even if you have to buy them) for fragile items. Invest in a name-brand, heavy-duty packing tape to ensure your boxes don’t bust open and their contents break. 

  1. Gather your items in a central location

Since professional movers often charge per hour for their moving services, you can save money when you save their time. After you pack all your belongings, collect them into one central and easy-to-access location. If you have a staircase, carry your smaller and lighter boxes to the bottom floor yourself before the movers arrive. 

  1. Share the load

Another tip that can knock off an hour or so from your professional movers’ bill is to take over a car-load of boxes personally. Deliver a few trunk fulls of boxes and items you can comfortably load, unload, and carry yourself.

  1. Ask the family for help

Parents and siblings might be willing to watch your kids or pets for the day or help you move in without expecting a paycheck in return. If your budget is super tight, invite them over to your new home after move-day and cook them a thank-you meal for their help. 

  1. See if your company will cover some of your moving costs

If you’re relocating for a job, some companies will offer you a moving stipend. Once you have an offer, you can ask for a relocation assistance package from your new employer. Many companies want to help if they believe you’ll be a valuable addition to the team. Though they may not cover these expenses, you can respectfully ask as early as you accept the job. 

  1. Clean the old and new house

Professional cleaners are worth it when you have money in the bank, but if you’re trying to keep your costs low, it’s time to put on a pair of your own rubber gloves. Rather than hiring professional cleaners, give the places a quick wipe-down and sweep personally.

  1. Stick with the same utility companies

If you can, use the same utility companies in your new home as you do currently. Start-up fees, like purchasing a new modem and router, can end up costing more than even the lower rate a different company may offer. 

  1. Shop for your new home later

As excited as you might be about your new home, resist the urge to start buying candles, rugs, and furniture. Besides, you’ll most likely unearth beautiful items you forgot you had while packing. Wait until you’re fully moved in and unpacked before buying anything else. 

  1. Track your expenses for next year’s taxes

If your move meets certain criteria, such as a distance test, you may be able to deduct your expenses. If you’re an active member of the military, you’re also eligible to deduct your moving expenses when you file your taxes. Make sure to only, though, deduct the expenses that have not been reimbursed by an employer. 

  1. Become a moving marshaller

Grab those marshaling wands and start directing. Let the professionals do the heavy lifting, but be available to offer guidance as needed. For example, it can be time-efficient (and therefore cost-effective) to stand outside the front door of your new home and tell the movers which room they need to take the item they’re carrying. 

Don’t make a costly moving mistake.

Protect yourself from dishonest moving companies. Reach out to us today. We’ll set you up with trustworthy movers that will do the job right.

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