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How to Keep Your Moving Costs Down on a Tight Budget

Posted by MoneyKey on May 16, 2019

Moving in to a new home can be exciting. It might be a chance for a fresh start, a nicer living space, or maybe you’re moving out for the very first time. But whatever your reasons are, moving costs can start to add up and the process is rarely cheap.

With the cost of moving trucks, packing services, moving supplies and more, average moving costs typically fall around $350 for a local move to a one-bedroom apartment, to $1,500 for a four-bedroom home. A long-distance move is even pricier with the average moving costs for a one-bedroom apartment being $1,050 to $5,000 for a four-bedroom home. If you’re living off of minimum wage, you may not have the savings to handle this big of an expense.

These prices may be high, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t ways to cut back. With proper planning and the right tips in hand, you can start to cut back on some these typical moving costs. Here are some tips to help you get started.

Do your own packing

Packing up an entire home for a big move is likely going to be one of the most time-consuming parts of the entire process, but if you’re looking to keep moving costs down, this is probably a task you’re going to want to take care of yourself. Even if you have larger pieces of furniture that you’ll need professional help moving, make sure to pack up all of the smaller items on your own to avoid wasting the time of the moving company on something you can take care of yourself.

do your own packing to cut down on moving costs

If you do end up needing the help of a cheap moving company, remember that they usually charge an hourly rate, so if you want to minimize moving costs, the key is to maximize your time with them and use it wisely. In order to do that, you’ll need to:

  • Take apart any items in advance that need to be disassembled to get out of the door, and make sure to stay out of their way when they’re moving bigger items
  • If you live in a building with an elevator, make sure you book the elevator in advance, and take care of any paperwork that needs to be done
  • You’ll want to figure out if there’s a designating parking area for movers

Cheap moving boxes

When you know your moving, try to get ahead by starting to collect boxes and any packing material as far in advance as possible. The sooner you have this done, the sooner you can start to pack away the items you don’t use on a frequent basis.

Before you go out and start looking for places to buy cheap moving boxes, try to get your hands on these boxes for free. Visit a Walmart, Costco, or any big retailer and see if you can speak to someone about taking a few cardboard boxes off their hands. A lot of these boxes will get recycled anyways, so they often won’t have a problem giving a few away for free. And don’t forget to fill up your coolers, suitcases, and laundry hampers before reaching for a moving box. These things can serve the same function and you likely have them lying around the house anyways.

Getting your packing done on your own will not only help you keep moving costs down, but it should also make the unpacking process easier if you have an idea of what items are in which box. You’ll also be able to make sure that your things are packed properly and as safely as possible. It helps to color code your boxes to make the process easier. The main key is to make sure you stay organized and get certain tasks done ahead of time.

Use household items for packing material

Getting to your new place and opening up your moving boxes only to see a mound of damaged items is never something you want to experience, so you’re going to want to make sure you wrap and pack everything carefully. You can buy packing supplies like bubble wrap and packing paper, but if you’re looking to keep moving costs down, this might be another area for you to cut some costs.

Gather all of the blankets, towels, and old comforters that you don’t regularly use, and use these to wrap your smaller items or even your bigger pieces of furniture. You can use old newspapers or towels to wrap up anything that you think might break, like dishes or glassware. Ultimately, if you can manage to safely wrap your things in your own towels and blankets, you can cut out the cost of packing materials and you’ll save space by not needing to pack these towels and blankets separately. You win either way!

Get some money (and save space) from your unused items

cut down on moving costs by having a garage sale

As we’ve already mentioned, one of the most important parts of the moving to process is to start preparing as early as possible. You’re going to want to go through everything in your garage, basement, and whatever storage rooms you have in the house, and start assembling all of the things you don’t use. This can be things like old furniture, bikes, kids toys, kitchen items, and anything you don’t use but still has some value. You should take stock of everything in your closets and start taking out clothes and shoes you never wear.

Instead of throwing these things out, here are some ways to squeeze some money out of your unused items:

  • Garage sale – organize a weekend to have a garage sale! You can post signs around the neighborhood, post on Facebook, or post ads on craigslist.
  • Consignment store – If you don’t want to go to the trouble of throwing together an entire garage sale or the weather won’t allow it, you can still look to get some value out of these items by bringing them to a consignment store. You can find consignment stores geared towards clothing, furniture, and more, and they’ll either purchase your items from you or give you a percentage of what they sell the item for.
  • Sell items online – Another alternative is to simply snap some pictures of your items, write detailed descriptions, and post them on Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, or Ebay. If you’ve priced your items reasonably, most people would be willing to pick up the item at a time that suits your schedule, so you don’t have another thing to worry about when you’re in the throes of moving.

By selling your unused items, you’ll have less things to pack, move, and unpack. This may mean that the cheap moving trucks you’re looking for won’t need to be as big, or maybe they won’t be needed at all! Plus, the money you make from selling these items can go towards paying your moving costs.

Don’t move in the summer

cut moving costs by not moving in the summer

It might be easier to schedule your move for the end of spring, summer, or even the beginning of fall, but most moving companies will crank up their prices in response to the high demand of their services. But when the temperature starts to drop and people become less inclined to move, you’ll often see prices drop.

This is your time to pounce! Try to plan your move for the early stages of spring, the end of fall, or even for the winter if you think you can manage. This can save you money on moving costs and cut the price of a cheap moving truck or moving service.

Use these tips to cut your moving costs

When all is said and done, the best way to save money on moving costs is to plan ahead and be as organized as possible. Whether you’re looking for cheap moving companies to help with the process or you want to try to do all of the work yourself, make sure you do as much as you can in advance to ease the process.

Try out some of the tips we’ve suggested to help you ease some of the financial burden on your next move!

Do you have any methods to cut moving costs that weren’t listed above? Share below!


Disclaimer: This article provides general information only and does not constitute financial, legal or other professional advice. For full details, see MoneyKey's Terms of Use.

Posted in: Lifestyle

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