You may have read left and right that moving house is too stressful – so stressful that it’s usually ranked as one of the most anxious and worrisome events in life. Just need to add the fact that the moving process is notoriously expensive too, and you’ll probably be genuinely stressed out even before the real moving preparations have started.
Let’s get this straight: moving home is both stressful and expensive – nobody can possibly deny that – but there’s also a bunch of rays at the end of the tunnel in the shape of proven ways to save money on your move. And once you’re able to keep more savings into your bank account, then you’ll quickly notice how your move-related stress level starts to decrease until it drops down to its NORMAL value.
Moving on a budget is definitely not fun but you can still make it work without too much hassle. Follow these 5 ways to save money on moving costs to keep things running smoothly from Day 1.
1. Take total control of your budget
The very first thing you need to do to keep more money in your own pocket is to be very cautious how you go about spending your own money during the moving process. This is a relatively simple idea that is relatively hard to do. And in order to make this idea work, you need to create a budget as early in your pre-move period as possible.
A moving budget is fairly easy to make (it’ll still take time and some efforts though), and the great thing about it is that it will enable you to monitor your move-related expenses more closely and take a corresponding action when you feel that you must. For example, let’s say you’ve allocated a certain amount of money to secure the required packing supplies and you go over the limit without even realizing it. Now, when you have all the expected moving expenses in one place, it’s much easier to control those costs by keeping the budget up-to-date.
One solution to the overspending scenario in the example, as you will learn below, is to either concentrate on getting packing materials for free or to use the ones you already have in your home. Or you can do both, of course.
Another bonus of having a moving budget – that is saving money on your move by not spending money that you don’t have – is to do some preliminary calculations of whether you have saved enough to cover the moving costs in the first place. A possible scenario where you go into debt due to pre-move miscalculations will practically put an end to any brave attempts to move house cheaply.
Make sure your budget includes the moving company expenses (plus all charges for additional services), self-moving expenses (if you’ve made the informed decision to move by yourself), vehicle transportation expenses (if applicable), immediate post-relocation costs (oh, yes!), and any unexpected expenses (as far as you can foresee them).
2. Hire an affordable moving company
Of course, you’ll soon be looking for the cheapest ways to move cross country, and that way comes down to finding and employing the services of a low-cost moving company. This frugal way of having your household items moved between two homes makes a lot of sense, so you should definitely do your best to take advantage of it. The only obstacle along the way will be where to find cheap movers that still offer quality moving services.
To find the level of moving cost affordability that you’re after, your first step is to get price quotes from several different companies so that you can sit down and compare those offers carefully. The good news is that the cost estimates you will receive won’t cost you a dime, so there’s nothing for you to lose during that period of hunting down a good moving company you can afford.
Requesting moving costs estimates is super easy – the hardest part comes next when you’re expected to compare the various movers and pick up the one that will best fit your budget and schedule, and will meet your requirements and expectations. In order to save money on your move, don’t agree on moving estimates offered to you over the phone or via e-mail as they cannot possibly be as accurate as you need. If you say Yes, you will most likely get moving company quotes that won’t reflect accurately the final price, and that will burden additionally your budget.
What you should do instead is to ask the moving companies that have contacted you to visit your home for on-site surveys. Keep in mind that having moving experts inspect in person the things you intend to move is still the best way to move cheaply across the country with the assistance of a reasonably-priced moving company.
3. Don’t move items you won’t ever need again
What is the cheapest way to move house? There’s a pretty simple answer to this mind-boggling question: just take fewer items with you to the new home.
It’s really important to point out that this is a cost-saving technique that is really powerful. In reality, the power behind it lies in the way the moving cost is calculated. The price of your move depends on a few major factors, such as:
- Move distance. It’s a constant value, and there’s nothing you can do to make it work for you.
- Moving company rates. Make an effort to find a low-cost moving company and you have a chance of really saving money on moving expenses.
- Extra moving services. Each additional service that your mover completes for you will cost you extra – read below what you can do about that.
- Time of year. Often underestimated, the time of year you are moving in does make a difference price-wise. Expect to pay more during the high season for the U.S. moving and storage industry (May – September).
- Shipment weight. And this is where you can easily save money on your move – save loads of money!
Fewer items to move automatically mean reduced weight, and less weight means lower charges by the cross country moving company you select. Take a good look around your home – can you spot immediately items that you haven’t used in years? No? What about checking in the storage areas of your house or apartment? Moving experts often advise people who are getting ready to move out to get rid of anything they haven’t used in 12 months.
Sort out all of your earthly possessions before you reach the stage where you will start placing them in suitable cardboard boxes. In addition to reducing drastically your moving expenses, the next best thing about purging your home of unnecessary stuff is that you have the great option of selling some of your things for a profit. Whether it’s an online sale or a garage sale, the extra cash you will most likely pocket prior to moving day will make the moving costs more bearable in the end.
4. Save big on moving boxes
Finding cheap ways to move your stuff across the country is all about the seemingly small-scale cheap moving ideas, tips and tricks that, when combined, will make a huge difference for your fledgling moving budget.
Now, you can’t possibly initiate the task of packing your items for a move without getting hold of the right packing supplies first. That is unless you’ve decided to hire professional packers for the job – experienced packers who come with their own array of high-quality packing materials.
So, let’s assume that you will pack up your home by yourself, or at least part of it. What do you need the most when it comes to the required materials? It’s moving boxes, of course. Even though you’re still going to need to purchase packing paper, bubble wrap and some packing tape, those versatile cardboard containers make up the biggest packing expense when moving from one home to another.
Here’s the deal: if you manage to find the needed number and sizes of packing boxes without paying for them, then you will surely do yourself a huge favor – most of the times, we’re talking about at least a hundred dollars or more saved on cardboard boxes alone.
So, what’s the cheapest way to get moving boxes? To get them for free, of course.
- First of all, ask your friends if any of them may have cardboard boxes they don’t really need. Using the much wider reach of preferred social networks is much easier than reaching your pals one by one – a single Facebook or Twitter post can save you tons of time.
- Secondly, you can easily do a search on specialized online sites such as Freecycle or Craigslist, but make sure your potential box suppliers are all in the area where you live – otherwise, you will lose money.
- And thirdly, do a quick tour around the largest local businesses, concentrating your efforts on big supermarkets, shopping centers, home electronics stores, bookstores. Those kinds of stores receive frequent shipments from a wide range of suppliers, and most of the goods they get come in cardboard containers. And, since they are required to recycle those huge amounts of cardboard at the end of the day, you actually have a pretty good chance of scoring free moving boxes for your house move.
5. Believe in your own packing skills
Until now you’ve learned that the cheapest ways to move long distance are to manage your moving budget from the start, to hire a low-cost moving company, to move only the household items you do need, and to save the money meant for purchasing the required packing materials. So far, so good.
The final cheap moving tip you should definitely consider when moving to a new home is to determine which easier aspects of the move you can manage by yourself and which tougher aspects you’d better leave to the pros. And how will that choice of yours save you money, you wonder?
Knowing that each additional moving service that you ask your moving company to perform – packing, unpacking, disassembly of large furniture, temporary storage, crating, handling of special items, hoisting, and so on – will cost you more money, let’s take a look at the most time-consuming and arduous task of them all. Yes, you guessed it right – it’s packing.
Sometimes it’s hard to make up your mind whether to hire professional packers or to pack your household items by yourself. Packing on your own will save you money, but what about the invested time – how much is your time worth anyway? Yet, you don’t want the saved packing costs to result in damaged items due to poor packing techniques or improper handling on your part. Moreover, if you own specialty items such as a piano, or a pool table, or a hot tub, then you should definitely seek professional packing services.
Provided that you don’t own any specialty items and you have a bunch of friends who won’t mind helping you out, then you may as well try to save money on moving costs and attempt to pack your home by yourself. The first step? Create a packing timeline that will help you organize your time in the best possible way.