Moving is one of the most expensive things you’ll do in your life. I know this because I’ve done it a lot. For the last five years, my job as a writer has required me to move several times per year—and even though I try to keep costs low by renting relatively small apartments and finding roommates, no matter what I do, moving always seems to cost more than I expect. To help you cut back on your costs—and save money for all those fun things you’d rather spend money on—here’s my best advice for keeping moving costs down:
Move during the off-season
If you are moving from one place to another, it is important to know the best time of year to move. The best time to move is during the off-season. This means that you should not move during holidays such as Christmas or New Year’s.
You should also avoid moving on weekends and major holidays because these are prime times for movers and will increase your costs significantly.
Go during the week
If you’re looking to save money on your move, it’s good to have a moving company come out during the week. This is because fewer people are moving during the week than on weekends (we’ve all seen those commercials). This means less competition for movers, which translates into lower rates and services.
It comes down to it, though, if you’re really trying to save money, you’ll choose not to move at all! Unfortunately, we know from experience that this isn’t an option for most people who are planning on moving.
If you don’t want the stress of navigating through traffic jams or finding parking spaces when lugging heavy boxes around town in search of apartments/houses/storage units/etc., try taking off work once in a while during off hours instead.
Use boxes from stores
You should use boxes provided by stores and websites. For example, Amazon’s boxes are perfect for shipping items back to them or other retailers.
If you aren’t moving yet, but want to start saving some money on your next move, here’s a great tip:
Get in the habit of keeping all of the boxes from each shipment that comes into your home.
You’ll need them when it’s time to finally pack up and make that big move!
Get rid of stuff you don’t need
While you’re moving, there will be plenty of things that you’ll need to move that can’t fit into your new home. You may have a lot more than you think.
Here are some options for getting rid of items that won’t fit in your new place:
- Donate them. Many charities accept donations, including Goodwill and the Salvation Army. You can also donate used clothing and accessories to Friends of the National Zoo (FONZ), which gives proceeds from these sales to support animal care at the National Zoo in Washington, DC.
Be sure to ask if they accept what you’re donating before dropping it off! If your old stuff isn’t worth much money but could still help someone out, consider giving away instead of selling it!
- Sell them on Craigslist or eBay. Check out the classifieds section of Craigslist and post a few pictures of your items. If you have a couch, bed, or other large pieces of furniture, this is a great way to get some cash back from it before moving day.
Only hire the movers for jobs you can’t do yourself
If you’re moving to a new house, it’s tempting to hire movers for your belongings. But that can add up quickly—and after all, most people are capable of packing on their own. If you’re planning a DIY move and don’t want to pay the price tag for full-service movers, try these tips:
- Pack breakables in boxes. You don’t need bubble wrap or foam peanuts for fragile items like glassware or ceramics; covering them with newspaper or wrapping paper will do fine. Make sure the material is thick enough so that if something breaks inside, it won’t go through the cardboard and hit any other items below.
- Use large garbage bags instead of appropriate boxes (e.g., linens). If you use boxes, make sure they’re packed tightly with little room around them so there’s no way anything could shift during transit.
- Label everything clearly—including older furniture pieces and kitchen appliances that might not be immediately identifiable by color alone—so there will be no confusion when unloading at your destination home.
Pack and move by yourself
When it comes to packing and moving by yourself, you only need the right equipment. If you’re moving across town or the country, you have most of what you need in your home already. For example:
- A dolly will make moving furniture and other oversized items much easier.
- Packing tape can help seal up boxes, so nothing falls out during transit.
- Shrinkwrap is a great way to protect delicate items like glassware or dishes from breaking during transportation (and also makes them look nicer when unpacked).
- A hand truck can help with lifting heavy boxes upstairs without having to carry them all at once by yourself.
If you’re staying within city limits and don’t need a moving truck or anything like that, then walking or biking with your stuff might be an option too!
Rent a truck from U-Haul or Penske
Rent a truck from U-Haul or Penske if you can find a coupon. You can often find coupons for U-Haul online, so it might be worth checking out before making any other moves.
Renting a truck from U-Haul or Penske is another good way to save money on your move. The only drawback is that you may need to reserve the rental truck in advance and pay for it upfront.
By learning how to budget your move, plan ahead and find discounts, you can save a lot of money on moving expenses. Every dollar saved makes your transition easier.