Moving Tips to Save Money for Your Budget
Moving out of your house or apartment is the perfect time to clean house – literally – and make a fresh start. But moving can be expensive. Here are nine simple tips to keep the costs of your next move down so you can save for the good times ahead.
Keep Only What You Need
Professional organizers recommend that as we clean, we should identify what we want to keep instead of what we want to throw away. As you prepare to move into a new home, take a careful look around to decide what brings you happiness – things you could never get rid of – and what could be donated, sold online or at a yard sale, gifted — or buried in a trash bag. A good rule of thumb: keep anything you’ve used in the past year and move on from the rest. The less you bring with you to your new home, the lighter (and cheaper) your load.
Sell or Donate the Rest
Anything you sell adds a bit of cash to your budget. Look for consignment shops that are taking on new inventory, host a yard sale, or post furniture online in apps or neighborhood groups.
Anything you can’t sell, donate to your local charity. Be sure to ask for a receipt for the donation: the value of your donation can be used as a tax deduction.
Time Your Move Right
If you can, time your move for the non-peak times to save on moving costs -- the middle of the month, the middle of the week, or the middle of the winter are usually cheaper times to move. Look for discounts or lower rates during these times – then make sure you’re not losing money by missing days of work. Calculate your total costs minus the wages you may miss and compare it to what your costs would be on a more optimal time, but without the wages lost to decide what’s most cost-efficient.
Find Your Movers
Friends or Pros?
Professional movers offer sound peace of mind – and less risk of sore muscles. A highly-rated professional moving company should:
- know where to find free or cheap boxes,
- provide free quotes with a quick inventory of your apartment or home,
- have a history of happy customers,
- provide insurance in case anything is damaged during the move,
- offer expertise for complex interstate moves.
If you can’t afford the pros, the cheapest method for local moves is to ask your friends and family to pitch in — although you should at least set aside money for pizza and drinks once the last box lands.
How to find the best professional mover?
Start Looking Now
The earlier you start your search, the wider range of quotes you will get, letting you find the one that best meets your budget.
Do Your Research: Ask Around
The best way to find a great mover in your area is to use your network of friends and families, but a bit of online research can also offer honest reviews.
Flat Rate or By the Hour?
Beware movers that charge by the hour. Obstacles or road blocks could cause additional costs beyond your budget. Whenever possible, a flat rate quote from your mover is the safest bet.
Why Go Pro?
While a professional mover may be your biggest expense during a move, it will allow you to focus on directing the traffic of boxes and furniture while saving potential medical expenses from the heavy lifting.
Build Your Budget
With a moving plan set and a quote in hand, you can begin building out your budget for the move. If your landlord can’t yet guarantee returning your security deposit, you can look into short-term loans from Advance America to fill any gaps in payment. Remember to budget for:
- the cost of closing out your utilities (gas, electric, and cable) and opening up new accounts at your new address,
- any repairs that can help you earn your security deposit,
- tipping your movers for arriving on time and delivering your boxes and furniture in good condition,
- travel expenses including gas (especially for longer trips),
- ordering that first-night meal (heavy on the comfort food).
Start Collecting Free Boxes
As you research moving companies, you may find that local movers can lend you free boxes for the move — it never hurts to ask as you shop around. Likewise, tell your coworkers, friends, and families about your upcoming move: often they can save boxes for you or send you to the businesses — including grocery stores, big box stores, and moving companies — that are happy to share their never-ending supply of cardboard.
Once you have your free boxes, smart packing can reduce the number of boxes to move (which can save costs with some movers) and can make the move go quicker, saving you both time and hassle. Here are some cheap tips as the boxes start to fill up:
- Use your towels, linens, magazines, and newspapers as packing materials for fragile items,
- Gather hangers of clothes in your closet with a garbage bag for easy unpacking instead of investing in a wardrobe box,
- Use plastic wrap to cover your utensil drawer or desk drawer items, instead of pouring them into an extra box,
- Put your knives in an oven mitt and fill up your lidded pots with kitchen items and seal with wrap or tape,
- Label boxes by room so everyone knows exactly where to put them down in your new home.
Protect Your Security Deposit
Look online for hacks that can help you leave your apartment or home just as you found it, including filling nail holes with bar soap and using eraser sponges for scuff marks. If you can’t fix any minor damage yourself, consider hiring a handyman: quick fixes will be cheaper than not getting your entire deposit returned. If you can, take pictures of your new home before you move in to document any blemishes beforehand so your next security deposit isn’t in jeopardy.
Save Money with Tax Deductions
Any donated items can be written off your taxes: in most cases the value of the items you donate can be subtracted from your income to reduce the amount you will owe to the government.