How to save money when moving out

May 05, 2021|

Moving to a new home can be expensive, straining your personal finances and potentially putting a hurt on your bank account. There’s not much getting around that. And according to the US Census, the average American will move 11.7 times in his or her life. That’s a lot of money going towards packing peanuts, rolls of tape and transportation costs. 

But if you’re ready to move out and are looking to reduce your moving expenses a little, it can be done. It just takes some planning and a little know-how. 

So let’s get to the moving tips. 

Be smart about your moving supplies

Maybe you’re crunched for time and your inclination is to simply head to the hardware store and plunk down your credit card to buy every box you might need for the move. Resist the urge. New boxes can cost a minimum of around $2 each at places like Home Depot and other stores. Depending on how big your move is, that’s not an insignificant amount of money. 

Instead, plan ahead a bit and avail yourself of all the places that might provide you with free boxes — starting with your own house. Save every Amazon box that arrives a couple months before your planned move. Stop by your local grocery store to see what they’ll let you take. Try the liquor store, as well. Those cartons are used to ship heavy bottles and are often nice and sturdy, making them ideal for moving. Hit up online forums, such as Craigslist or Nextdoor, to see if anyone is giving away free boxes. 

You can also ask your moving company if they will lend you moving boxes that you can use on the day. Some companies have wardrobes and other containers that you might be able to borrow, and avoid the expense of buying something yourself. 

You can also find ways to save on other packing materials. Don’t buy expensive (and terrible for the planet) bubble wrap. Save the packing supplies that come in your own packages, or use newspaper or advertising circulars. Pack your boxes with rolls of socks, T-shirts or other soft cloth that you’re going to be moving anyway. 

Choose the best time to move

Peak moving season is during the warmer months, generally from May to September. Demand is higher then, and you may find yourself paying a bit more if you move during those months. If you can schedule your move for the off-season, professional movers may cut you a deal. 

Also try to avoid moving on weekends. Moving companies may charge you a premium to move on Saturdays and Sundays. A good rule of thumb is to shoot for the middle of the week, if you can.

Are you currently renting? Then you might want to consider the month’s rent you’ve probably already paid. Will your landlord prorate that final monthly rent if you move out before the end of the month? Will your security deposit be returned? What about utilities and other living expenses? Plan ahead to ensure you’re not paying bills at an apartment you’re no longer living in. 

Make like Marie Kondo and ditch everything that doesn’t spark joy

Maybe even ditch it if it does spark joy. Long-distance moves charge by weight, which means you’re basically paying for every item that gets loaded onto the moving truck. Think hard if you really need that old encyclopedia set or those heavy ski boots that you haven’t worn in ten years. 

If you do decide to ditch some things, the good news is, not only will you not be paying to transport all your old stuff, you may be able to make some extra money by selling the cast-offs. Once you’ve figure out what you’ll be moving and what items you’re leaving behind, you can host a garage sale, or you can sell the items on Craigslist or eBay

If you’d rather not go through the hassle or don’t have time to sell your old things, you can always donate any unwanted items to charity or thrift stores and potentially take a tax deduction. 

Get creative with your budgeting

Examine every facet of your move for potential savings. For example, when you’re traveling to your new home and need to stay overnight, do you have to stay in a hotel? Especially when the average cost of a room per night is about $186? Is your parents’ house on the way, or maybe a friend’s apartment? Why not arrange to stay with them instead? 

And when it comes to meals in the days leading up to your move, try to run down all the food you have in your house. You paid for it, after all, and throwing it away is just money down the drain. Although take-out might look really, really appealing as you’re busy stuffing belongings into boxes, create a day-by-day menu instead that uses up as many of the ingredients you already have.

Do everything yourself

Renting your own moving truck and doing a DIY-style move to your new apartment or house might save you some money. How much depends on lots of factors, and managing your own move takes a lot of time and sweat. It also comes with logistical headaches. But if you’re willing to put up with all that, you may save enough money to make doing it yourself worthwhile. 

Or only do some things yourself

You can always try a hybrid move, especially if you’re moving locally. That could mean moving some things yourself and availing yourself of moving services to take care of the rest, including larger items and furniture. Local movers generally charge by the hour, so cutting down on the amount of stuff they have to move may save money. One disclaimer though: Most moving companies have a minimum charge for a job, so it probably wouldn’t be worth your while to have them move one item.

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