Moving on a budget: how to save money without losing your sanity

black and brown Dachshund standing in box

10 Simple ways save money without losing your sanity

The last thing you want to do is dump money into a big move when you’ve just written a check for a deposit or down payment on the new home you bought. The average cost of a local move is $1,250. On top of that, movers charge $25 to $50 per mover, per hour. Between buying boxes, packing material, or renting a truck yourself, you could spend upward of $8,000 total. That doesn’t exactly scream good times, right? Stop throwing your hard-earned money around like human GIFs.

In this article, learn 10 things you can do to save money on moving costs.

  • Eat what’s in the fridge and declutter
  • Find free moving boxes at local stores and keep your online shopping packages
  • Find double uses for items that can act as packing filler
  • Compare moving company price

Excited, nervous, stressed, maybe even a little sad. Please accept this virtual hug. These are all emotions you might feel when moving into your new home. Lucky for you, we’re here to help. Talk to a Flyhomes Agent to get everything you need when buying a home

10 ways to save money when you move

1. Spark joy like Marie Kondo and clean that clutter

It doesn’t all have to go with you. Look at your closets, cabinets, and basement to see if you really need everything you own. Go through your home and get rid of everything you don’t need to bring with you. Then, decide what you can sell, donate, or need to take to the dump.

2. Eat what’s left in your fridge

Hosting guests may be the last thing on your mind if you’re about to start the moving process. But paying to haul away what’s in your fridge and pantry can be wasteful. Eat your kitchen inventory before your big move. The easiest way to do this is to host a party where you serve everything everything you can. Then take what’s left to a food bank if the cost of moving the food is more than restocking it once you get to your new place.

3. Reuse boxes from your online shopping

Save every box from online orders delivered to your door. Smaller boxes can be useful during a move for items like plates, cups, and electronics. Ask your friends and family to start tucking away their boxes, too, for a few weeks before your big move.

If you still don’t have enough, ask for leftover shipping boxes from a local liquor store or grocery. Retailers have lots of boxes they put aside to recycle after unloading merchandise. Ask a manager or owner if you can grab some. You could save hundreds of dollars on boxes if you get permission to grab a big stack. Ask more than one store to get enough boxes to cover all your household items.

two brown boxes and DVD cases on rack
Your local grocery or liquor store will have extra boxes you can have if you ask an owner or manager

4. Move in the off-season

The peak homebuying and selling season is between May and September. But that’s also when you’ll find peak moving prices too, since moving services are in high demand. You may not have a lot of control over when you move but buying or selling in the off-season will save you money on the move. You may be able to take advantage of a rent-back contingency in your home offer. That way, you can stay in your home after you sell it to take some time to find cheaper moving rates.

5. Find replacements for expensive packaging

You want to keep your items safe during the move but you don’t need to buy as much padding as you think. Packing material like bubble wrap and foam can add up. Your home may already be full of free padding that has to come with you anyway.

Your linens, blankets, bath towels, and dish towels double as packing accessories. You can save money by wrapping breakable and fragile items in your textiles supply. The same goes for using things like shirts, jackets, and scarves.

6. Ship your heavy, durable items ahead of time

Free up room in a moving truck by mailing books, record collections, or collectibles ahead of time. The US Postal Service offers specific, low-cost rates for media mail to ship this material. Do the math to see how shipping costs stack up against renting a bigger truck.

If you’re moving out of state, leave some of your heavy items—especially furniture—behind. It can be a lot cheaper to rent new furniture for a while at your new place than to pay a mover to ship your existing dining set cross-country.

3 children sitting on gray couch
Shipping some of your heavier items ahead of time saves room on an expensive moving truck

7. Pack all your suitcases

Your suitcases have to come with you. Make sure you’re putting them to work by packing them full. The wheels on suitcases make them ideal for packing heavy items you can wheel from the curb to the door with ease.

8. Do it yourself with a moving container

Use a moving container to skip paying a moving company to pack for you. A moving container company will drop off a storage unit in your driveway that you pack yourself. When you’re ready, the company will come and haul it away for you.

You will do a little more work loading everything yourself, but it’s cheaper and you can take more time to pack. This is a great way to protect your valuables, too since you’ll be in charge of fragile boxes, yourself.

9. Move on a weekday

If you have flexibility, plan your move for a weekday. Many movers charge premiums for moving on weekends. Even movers that charge consistent rates may be willing to give you a weekday discount if you just ask for one.

10. Ask for a fixed moving rate

Before you hire a mover, compare quotes and read reviews. Many movers will provide a low quote and then tack on fees, later. Ask the movers if they charge a fixed rate. Most movers charge by the mover, per hour. But if you get a flat, fixed rate this can help you budget. Movers that agree to flat rates will tell you exactly how many items they’ll move, how many hours loading will take, and the distance between your old home and new home.

Moving on a budget can actually be enjoyable

Don’t get caught by surprise on moving week. Save money when moving starts by preparing weeks and months in advance. The first step is to do some soul searching about what you really need to bring with you to be happy in your new place. Then, look around at items you already own to see what can pull double duty as packing material. Finally, plan to move in an off-peak season on an off-peak day.

We’ve all seen the dark side of moving into a new home. It can be very emotional and tensions run high. Flyhomes is here to help avoid all of that stress. Flyhomes will help you buy the home you love—fast. Sign up for Flyhomes to talk to an agent today!

About the author: As the son of a construction contractor and a former property manager, Scott Dylan Westerlund knows how to keep the lights on and the water running. In addition to Flyhomes, he has written for Angi, HomeLight and HomeAdvisor. His hobbies include fixing things around the house, baking things up in the kitchen, and spending quality time with his wife and daughter just about everywhere.

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