You’d probably be over the moon if you could move for free. Yet, moving costs accumulate fast for most of us and put extra stress when money is tight. To help you out during any location change, we’ve made a lengthy list to ease the process without compromising your sanity.
Our 44 ideas on saving money when moving include helpful and proven ways to move on the cheap. So, before you embark on packing, we suggest you create a detailed moving checklist. Then, edit and trim it as you continue to plan and execute the final move.
Table of Contents
- 1 Save Money When Packing For A Move
- 1.1 Plan Ahead And Start Early
- 1.2 Find Free Moving Supplies
- 1.3 Pack Things Yourself
- 1.4 Use Packing Materials You Already Have
- 1.5 Use Suitcases To Move Items
- 1.6 Ask Family And Friends To Help During The Move
- 1.7 Use Linens, Towels, And Sheets To Wrap Your Items
- 1.8 Pack Small Items in Clothing And Containers
- 1.9 Use A Self-Storage
- 2 Downsize Before Moving
- 3 How To Save Money When Hiring Movers?
- 3.1 Shop Around And Compare Moving Rates
- 3.2 Ask For A Fixed Moving Rate
- 3.3 Learn How Movers Charge
- 3.4 Prepare For The Movers
- 3.5 Only Have Your Movers Transport Your Furniture
- 3.6 Rent A Truck And Move Do It Yourself
- 3.7 Avoid Cheap Movers
- 3.8 Read Reviews Before Hiring The Right Movers
- 3.9 Move During Weekdays
- 3.10 Avoid Moving During Peak Season
- 3.11 Quick Wrap Your Furniture
- 3.12 Purchase Moving Insurance
- 3.13 Research Portable Storage Units
- 4 How To Save Money When Moving In?
- 4.1 Get Second-Hand Furniture
- 4.2 Use The Dollar Store
- 4.3 Get A New Cable Subscription
- 4.4 Use Coupons And Shop For Deals
- 4.5 Avoid Eating Out
- 4.6 Bring Non Perishable Food From Your Old Place
- 4.7 Cancel Unused Subscription
- 4.8 Inspect Your Home For Energy Efficiency
- 4.9 Ask Your Family Or Friends To Babysit Or Petsit
- 4.10 Measure Entryways Before Moving In
- 4.11 Don’t Overbuy For Your New Home
- 4.12 Ask Your Company For Reimbursement
- 4.13 Speak To Your Utility Companies
- 5 How To Make Money To Cover Moving Costs?
- 6 Bottom Line On How To Save Money Moving
- 7 FAQs
Save Money When Packing For A Move
The golden rule is the more things you own, the pricier the move. Hence, we’ll cover all areas where you can save money by determining what to move and what not to. You’ll learn several ways on how to economize during the packing stage of the moving process. Keep reading, and find out how.
Plan Ahead And Start Early
The first and most significant step is to start planning early. Assign yourself several tasks a day, and move through that checklist. Proper organization is the cheapest way to move long distance.
The sooner you start planning, the more time you’ll have to procure free and inexpensive moving supplies. Also, you’ll have more time to throw away items you won’t be needing for the move. Expenses can add up quickly during any relocation if you make last-minute purchases.
Find Free Moving Supplies
Start checking out sites that offer free supplies early before you move. This way, you’ll have enough time to accumulate lots of free boxes needed to transfer your belongings. The following apps are some of the most popular:
- Craigslist. Craigslist has the most extensive free section online. The site offers a vast selection of free boxes for everyone, moving anywhere. Navigate to the free section and search for moving and storage boxes in your local area. If you can’t find any free supplies on Craigslist, leave a post asking for anyone to donate some of their extra packaging supplies.
- LetGo. LetGo is an app where users want to get rid of things they don’t need. Take advantage of it and search the app’s free materials section for boxes and other moving supplies.
- OfferUp. OfferUp is another fabulous classified mobile app to find free moving boxes. Try it out, and you’ll find many people willing to sell you or giveaway their moving supplies for free.
- Local Stores. Local stores are also great resources for free moving boxes. Head straight and ask retailers in your neighborhood if they have cardboard you can take off their hands. Stores will be pretty pleased to get rid of the boxes within seconds instead of tearing them up.
Pack Things Yourself
Doing all the packing on your own is the best way to squeeze the moving costs. The more items you pack upfront, the fewer time movers will spend moving your possessions. Most moving companies offer packing services, but you can cut the cost in half if you have time to do it yourself.
Most importantly, ensure you pack correctly to avoid breaking fragile items. Since you will be packing yourself, there is no one to ask for compensation for anything that breaks in those boxes.
Use Packing Materials You Already Have
Why would you buy packing supplies if you already have some at hand? Gather any old boxes you might have or materials like markers before you purchase anything. Plus, you can use the original packaging to transfer the items you bought into it. Alternatively, find a way to use such old boxes to protect more delicate things.
Overall, you should think outside the box. Meaning, many things in your house can help you pack. Laundry baskets can do wonders for carrying a wide variety of items. Duffel bags and backpacks work great for packing, too.
Use Suitcases To Move Items
Your suitcases can be helpful when packing items like books, documents, and other bulky items. Most suitcases have wheels, so think about putting heavier items inside. Consider packing fragile things in bags, too, since protection against breaking is superb.
Ask Family And Friends To Help During The Move
Moving is a daunting job, both during the packing and relocating process. Yet, saving money to move is possible if you ask your friends and family to help out. There’s no point in hiring and paying professionals for tasks that anyone can do.
Ask family or neighbors to help you pack, clean, or even sell used goods. Assign them duties that most people can do to move on a budget.
Use Linens, Towels, And Sheets To Wrap Your Items
Buying loads of packing paper doesn’t make sense if you plan to move on the cheap. Hence, use all your linens, blankets, and towels to wrap and protect breakables. Newspapers and magazines can serve instead of bubble wrap, too. However, it’s best to use packing paper for breakable kitchen items.
Moreover, use your blankets and sheets to protect the furniture. Last, if you opt for a moving company, forget about the supplies needed to protect the furniture.
Pack Small Items in Clothing And Containers
Use small containers to pack your valuables and do this step on your own. Then, use old socks as cushioning for small items.
Save money on packing supplies using clothing such as t-shirts and other soft fabrics to fill the boxes’ gaps. This way, your overall packed materials will take up less space since you avoid bags full of apparel.
Use A Self-Storage
Self-storage is a perfect way to house belongings during a period of transition. If you’re moving temporarily or there’s a time gap until your new home is ready, renting self-storage units is a smart option.
Remember not to store anything valuable and to label your boxes. Also, never share your key or access code, and pack strategically. Last, check out some of the cheapest ways to move across the country.
One of the ways to save money when moving is to pack the things yourself. This way, you won’t have to pay extra to contractors.
Downsize Before Moving
If you wonder how to move when you have no money, consider downsizing. Inspect your home in detail before you pack and select the items you’ll keep, donate, or sell. Below are several tips on how to declutter.
Get Rid Of Items You No Longer Want
To purge your belongings when moving, gather all unneeded items that can get sold. Consider if these goods are worth the time and cost to get transferred elsewhere. If not, sell them and pocket the funds for moving expenses. For instance, sell the TV set that you don’t use anymore. Sell your piano if you rarely spend time playing it.
Once you have a list of all the items you won’t be packing, decide how to get rid of these pieces. Organize a garage sale or attend some in your area. Use the best places to sell stuff online like OfferUp and Nextdoor or list items on a neighborhood Facebook community. Last, think about bartering goods with family and friends or donating them altogether.
Cook All The Food In Your Kitchen
Eating out every night while you’re in transition and have no kitchen available is the easier path to take. However, spare some time to prepare your meals before moving by portioning and putting them in the new freezer.
When the final weeks of your move date come nearer, use everything you have in your pantry and freezer. This way, you’ll save on food costs and get rid of the food you’ve already bought.
Donate Non Perishable Food You Don’t Want To Your Local Food Bank
Do you have lots of nonperishable food leftovers you’re never going to eat? Well, why don’t you donate them to the local food bank? Some moving companies may even take such items for you and settle with you on the moving cost. Overall, ensure to take the least amount of food as possible.
Cancel Your Internet And Cable Subscriptions
Most cable and internet providers offer new customer deals. So, if you cancel your current services and register again once you move, you may get a better price.
Alternatively, talk to your provider and tell them you’re going to quit the service because you’re moving. Most agents will try to talk you into transferring the service, so go for it and negotiate a better price.
How To Save Money When Hiring Movers?
Hiring a moving provider will use up a significant portion of your budget. However, several intelligent hacks can save you money even if you decide to hire a moving company. Consider the following suggestions:
Shop Around And Compare Moving Rates
Not all movers will give you equal moving quotes. Hence, if you decide to go with a moving service, truck, or container, call around and ask for prices. More specifically, avoid vague quotes and ask for a fixed price for the overall service.
Collect at least three different rates and compare their contents. Examine all offers in detail. Often, a cheaper rate might trick you into paying surcharges later on.
Ask For A Fixed Moving Rate
When relocating, ask movers for a fixed amount. Note that in most cases, you’ll pay by the hour. However, getting a fixed rate on your move is the final price you’ll pay. If the rate suits your budget and the mover has a good reputation, consider hiring them. Don’t settle for estimates to save yourself from last-minute fees.
Learn How Movers Charge
Bear in mind that movers charge extra fees for stairs, fuel, long carries, and the use of packing materials. So, ensure you ask the company what the hourly rate includes and what additional costs you may face. Also, remember that some movers charge based on the weight of the shipped contents for long-distance moves.
Prepare For The Movers
Another essential piece of advice you should take is to get ready for the movers. If you’re not packed and have your hallways blocked by stuff, it will take movers longer to move things.
Fill the rooms with furniture and label boxes correctly, so movers know which room it will go in at the new location. You may also store boxes in the garage or in a place that is easily accessible to the truck. Movers usually take the large furniture first, so have clear access to it. Also, be present on moving day to answer the movers’ questions about where things go.
Only Have Your Movers Transport Your Furniture
The cheapest way to move locally is to transfer the boxes and small items in your car to the new destination. Hire movers to move the heavy furniture only. You should also leave enough things for the movers. Such companies charge for a minimum of about four hours, so no matter the items, you’ll have to pay the minimum.
Rent A Truck And Move Do It Yourself
Before deciding on the moving method, see how much stuff you have. If you have a small apartment with easy truck access and not many things, moving yourself might be the best alternative. But, if you have many heavy items, it’s better to leave the moving to the professionals.
Further on, if you want to avoid damaging your furniture, you’ll have to buy all the necessary supplies. When you hire movers, they come equipped with suitable materials to protect your belongings.
Avoid Cheap Movers
Hiring the cheapest moving company may not be a wise decision. Scam movers estimate your move cheaper to get the business and then charge you over the odds. Unprofessional moving companies need much longer to transfer items and run the risk of damaged items.
Read Reviews Before Hiring The Right Movers
When comparing various quotes, check the reputations of moving companies online. By doing so, you’ll find out how fast a moving company operates. If more customers are dissatisfied with the service, it might take longer and cost you more. Stick with movers that enjoy reviews that guarantee they transfer items quickly and efficiently.
Move During Weekdays
When moving, weekends should be out of the question. Saturdays and Sundays are the busiest days when people require moving services. As a result, most movers charge higher rates during such peak times. Hence, consider hiring movers during the week and ask for a discount if you choose a day such as Monday or Tuesday.
Avoid Moving During Peak Season
It’s not a secret that moving companies raise their rates from May through September. These months are the peak season and the busiest time of year for movers. Thus, if you want to cut the cost, consider relocating beyond these dates. The months of January and February are pretty slow, and you might land a significant discount.
Quick Wrap Your Furniture
Renowned movers protect the furniture with pads and stretch wrap regardless of its quality. If your items are of low quality, you can tell the movers to stretch-wrap the things quickly. Or, you can wrap the furniture on your own and pocket the difference. Here, there’s a higher chance of damage, and movers usually don’t bear the cost if you wrap on your own.
Purchase Moving Insurance
No matter how careful you are, moving out your possessions bears a risk of damage. A reliable homeowner’s or renters’ policy should cover your belongings during the move and at both locations. All it takes to arrange the insurance is a single phone call. Explain to the insurer that you’re about to move and want your policy to cover everything.
Research Portable Storage Units
Many portable storage companies offer a self-service option that allows customers to move their containers. Such self-service is often the cheapest way to move long distance, and mobile storage units are flexible for temporary storage. On-site delivery allows convenient seasonal storage or space to use during renovations or relocations. Note that storage units come in different sizes and with various add-ons.
Choosing what to take with you and what to sell or give away is an essential part of saving cash when changing homes.
How To Save Money When Moving In?
Moving is a complicated process and if you’re careless, crossing the red line is very probable. To help you out in saving at your final destination, keep the following ideas in mind.
Get Second-Hand Furniture
Craigslist, LetGo, and OfferUp are exceptional sites for cheap or even free furniture. There, you’ll find inexpensive dressers, dining tables, and cabinets for only a fraction of the cost of the new item. Alternatively, check out furniture stores that offer modular pieces at low prices, such as Ikea and Wayfair. Last, if you’re renting, consider these 11 ways to rent an apartment more cheaply.
Use The Dollar Store
The Dollar Store is the best spot when shopping for cleaning supplies, kitchen utensils, cups, and towels. In essence, you can find almost any item you’ll need around the house and in the garden. When moving in, you’ll probably need some stuff, so hit the Dollar Stores first.
Get A New Cable Subscription
Cable TV is quite expensive, and most people don’t even watch traditional TV any longer. Think twice whether you need the service or you should avoid it altogether. Today, streaming services are almost endless and of exceptionally high-quality.
You may consider switching over to internet services and streaming your favorite shows only. If regular cable providers offer you high rates, go with Netflix, HBO, or Disney+ only.
Use Coupons And Shop For Deals
The post office will send you lots of coupons for services related to moving if you alter your address. Keep these coupons, and when you need an item or a service, use them. Spend a few hours shopping around stores that sell furniture and home appliances. Depending on the season, you may succeed in knocking a few dollars off the initial price.
Avoid Eating Out
It’s very tempting to eat out during the period around the move. Your kitchen may still be in disarray, and meal preparation in a new setting can be challenging. Even if this is your case, make some effort and focus on options that won’t break the bank. Some cheap things to buy and prepare are pizza, chicken, and pasta. You can prepare these dishes even if your kitchen isn’t fully functional yet.
Bring Non Perishable Food From Your Old Place
You’ll probably bring at least a few unopened, nonperishable items to your new home. For instance, if you pack items like flour, sugar, opened spices, and soups, use durable zip lock bags to prevent leaks and spills. When packing glass containers, such as mayo, mustard, or jam jars, secure them in waterproof bags with zips.
Cancel Unused Subscription
Relocating to a new home is the perfect time to review all of your monthly subscriptions. If you come across subscriptions, you haven’t been using for a while, or you won’t need anymore, cancel them. For instance, cancel the local gym and library membership when moving out of the area. The same goes for local museums, amusement, and theme parks.
Inspect Your Home For Energy Efficiency
The new place may not be as energy-efficient as the old one. There may be no adequate insulation or leaking from the window sills and in the bathroom. Often, water heaters and AC can be set incorrectly. Also, light bulbs can be old and consume a lot of energy. Investigate ways you can make the house or flat you’re moving into more eco-friendly and efficient.
Ask Your Family Or Friends To Babysit Or Petsit
Avoid having kids and pets running around on the big day and getting in the way of movers. It’s also wise to save money on babysitters or pet hotels by asking family to take care of them. Alternatively, you can ask friends or neighbors to watch your children and pets.
Measure Entryways Before Moving In
Imagine not being able to squeeze your couch through the doorway? Or that your king-size bed can’t make it up the stairs. Don’t make the mistake of eye-balling size. Measure oversized items, such as tables, sofas, and wardrobes, and evaluate if those fit into the new place.
The first step is to measure each room’s dimensions and consider the width and height of door frames, stairwells, and hallways. Ask the previous owner for such information in advance. Once you determine the fixtures that won’t fit, you can decide what items can stay.
Don’t Overbuy For Your New Home
Avoiding overspending while moving on a budget is a mental trick. Agree with family members to freeze spending if you wonder how to move with no money saved. It’s easy to click “Add to Cart,” but reign in the urge and hold that mouse. To stay on track, shop sparingly while in the middle of moving.
Another way to economize while relocating is to buy what you need at your new place. Being more impulsive with spending in the short-term is not a rare sight. You start to visualize what each room will look like and forget about the final cost. Check out these tips to restyle your place on a budget.
Ask Your Company For Reimbursement
Relocation to another state means you’d probably accept a new job offer. Before you take it, ask your current company to cover the moving expenses or compensate for the move. Luckily, many companies today are willing to reimburse.
If you are in the military, your moving expenses might be tax-deductible. Ask your tax advisor to see if you qualify for a write-off.
Speak To Your Utility Companies
Select utility shutoff dates carefully so you don’t end up paying for an extra month of service. Contact the utilities both at the place you’re leaving and relocating. Arrange shutoff and start dates to line up with the move and your billing cycles. Moreover, arrange for the garbage service to end right as you’re moving out.
Moving is always a stressful process, but it doesn’t have to be a budget-drainer, as well.
How To Make Money To Cover Moving Costs?
Besides saving money to move, you can also earn some extra funds. To do so, you must pursue the correct strategy. Here are some money-making tips you can explore during the moving process.
Have A Yard Or Garage Sale
Having a garage sale is a prominent money maker. Attend garage sales nearby or organize one on your own. Label displayed items with reasonable prices to strike a bargain sooner. Remember, it’s a must that you get rid of things, so you don’t have to incur higher moving costs.
Consider Selling Your Old Appliances
Do you possess some old household appliances you were planning to replace anyway? Well, now’s the right time for that! Sell all used devices and buy new ones at your new place. Not only will you earn some extra cash, but you’ll save time and money on moving them.
Get Rid Of Bulky Items
Keeping your weight is acceptable if you’re relocating locally. But, if you’re traveling long-distance and movers charge by the weight, bulky items are a heavy burden to take. Calculate how much you’ll pay to move those items instead of selling and rebuying them at your new place.
Cash In Your Coins
Are you keen on collecting change and have been doing it for years? Since it’s irrational to move large jars of coins, why not use that money towards moving costs? While purging your items, visit your nearest coin collection machine and cash in your change.
Have An Estate Sale
Nobody has to pass away to consider an estate sale. Yet, if you own an enormous house and move long-distance, organize an estate sale to sell stuff you don’t want to take along. This way, you won’t have to incur the costs of relocating a zillion of items. Before you decide whether you should sell your house or rent it out, explore all options in detail.
Bottom Line On How To Save Money Moving
Relocating to a new home can be an exciting and expensive project. Besides the costs of securing your new place, moving can incur many unforeseen expenses.
The secret to keeping moving costs low is meticulous planning. When drafting your moving budget, there are many aspects to consider. Elaborate on these long before relocating. The type of move, professional help, and the relocation time and distance will factor into the final cost.
Can you suggest some other budget-friendly moving tips? Please leave them in the comments below and share them with our readers. And good luck with your upcoming move!
How can I save money for a big move?
Saving money to move isn’t an impossible mission. You can use specific strategies before your big move, such as relocating during the off-season. Then, get rid of, donate, or sell belongings you don’t need or use. Rent a moving truck or container and pack yourself. Last, find free or cheap packing supplies.
How can I lower my moving costs?
There are multiple straightforward ways to cut costs while relocating. First, collect as many free boxes and packing supplies as possible before the big move. It’s also best to select a cheaper date and season to move. Gather several applicable quotes from movers and learn how they charge. Finally, pack everything yourself and engage friends for a DIY move.
What month is the cheapest to move?
The least costly time of the year to move is winter. The logic behind lower rates in the colder months is that the demand is lower. Also, moving companies have more flexible schedules in December and January. Think about relocating in early spring, too. The weather isn’t as harsh as in the winter, and the prices in March and April are still affordable.
What is the least expensive way to move?
The cheapest way to move locally is to pay for a moving truck and pack yourself. For instance, a move of 400 miles costs approximately $1.73 per mile with a rental truck. Rental trucks have reasonable prices for local activities because you do almost all the work on your own. Also, ensure you declutter your old home, so there’s less to move, and you can negotiate a relocation package.