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How to Cut Your Moving Costs

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Moving can be a stressful time. With all of the little things to keep track of, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. And that’s before you even start tallying up the cost of getting to your new place.

Moving costs can often catch people by surprise. The desire to save money can also lead to some drastic and less comfortable decisions, like assuming you can handle the grunt work all on your own.

closeup of person with computer and notebook putting money in piggy bank

Before you decide to push all of your belongings to the roadside so you don’t have to deal with moving, check out our tips on cutting moving costs.

1. Collect Free Boxes

If you want to save some money, start with the packing supplies. Rather than paying for moving boxes, try collecting free ones. Places like liquor stores, bookshops, and groceries are great places to find boxes that would otherwise be discarded. Be careful to collect boxes in relatively good shape, particularly if you have fragile things to pack. Make sure to reinforce the seams with packing tape for extra care.

For most (if not all) of your items, you don’t need to buy bubble wrap and packing peanuts. Try using rags, towels, clothes, and other soft items to wrap fragile and delicate items. Clearly label your boxes on multiple sides to keep them extra safe.

2. Choose Your Dates Carefully

The principles of supply and demand apply to moving and prices fluctuate accordingly. If you are able to plan your move to save money, consider moving in the lower season between late fall and early spring. Even if you don’t have the luxury to choose the time of year, you can (hopefully) still choose your day and time. Holidays and weekends are more expensive than mid-week moves. That means you’ll cut your moving costs by scheduling your move on a weekday.

3. Compare Quotes

If you’re looking to save money, don’t simply take the first quote you get. Find a list of 3-4 reliable, trustworthy movers and get quotes from each. You may find a surprising disparity in pricing that will work in your favor.

vibrant older couple on the sofa comparing moving quotes with papers and computer

Make sure you check to ensure everything is included in the quote you receive and that the mover guarantees their pricing. Have a look at online reviews from past customers to be sure that people found them on time and professional, and that they didn’t encounter surprise fees at the end of their move.

4. Do Your Own Packing and Prepping

While full-service movers can pack everything in your house for you, it will cost you. If you’re looking to cut moving costs, handle all of the packing yourself. As most movers calculate cost based, in part, on the amount of time it takes for your relocation, the more preparation you do ahead of time, the better. Disassemble furniture yourself and collect boxes in an accessible place. 

5. Pull in Favors

Other costs can add up, like cleaning and making repairs in your place before you leave. Call in some favors with friends and family and see if they’ll come for a bit of a practicality-centric going away party.

The same goes for child and pet care on moving day. Having your kids – the two- or four-legged kind – running around can be dangerous for both them and the movers. Enlist the help of a trusted person in your life and save the cost of daycare.

6. Downsize

Since movers charge based on how long the move will take, you can assume that the more you have, the more it will cost you. If you want to cut your moving costs, take a moment to do some downsizing.

sort your items
Spring, Texas/USA – August 7, 2020: Three turquoise bins labeled donate, sell, and keep against a white wall that have discarded clothing, classic books, and a rooster. Bins used for downsizing.

We recommend doing a bit of a purge before every move. Why bother packing and unpacking things you don’t want or need? Relocating is an excellent opportunity for a fresh start. You might even make some money if you have things to get rid of that you could sell. Give yourself enough time to sort, evaluate, list, and complete the transaction without pressure.

7. Check for Tax Deductions

Save your moving receipts – you never know how they may come in handy. If you’re moving for work, you may be entitled to a tax deduction on your moving expenses so keep good (and official) records.