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How to Move on a Budget

Katherine Santiago

Katherine holds a Bachelor’s degree in Corporate Communications with a minor in Business from Penn State University...

Katherine holds a Bachelor’s degree in Corporate Communications with a minor in Business from Penn State University...

May 28 5 minutes read
If you’re here, it’s because you’ve come to realize moving is NO walk in the park. Even if you’re moving locally, you can end up spending a ton of money, depending on the size of your home. If you’re looking to stretch your money, here are some ways to get started.  


1. Be your own mover!

Doing it yourself made it to the top of our list, being that this is the most practical and effective way to save money, as long as you're not moving across the country and you don’t own a mansion. If you don’t own a large van, you can always rent a moving truck and move all of your household items and furniture yourself. Enlist the help of family or and friends who would be willing to help, and perhaps be able to load and unload your belongings faster than a moving company. (Reward them with lunch or dinner). Hiring a mover to pack and unpack your belongings can cost you hundreds and even more, so you’ll definitely save some cash. Here’s a little tip: get super savvy with your packing by packing up items you won’t need until after the move and save box space by rolling your clothing instead of folding. When packing up fragile items, opt for using old towels instead of purchasing foam. 

2. Choose the move date wisely

The American Moving and Storage Association states that the busiest time to move is usually around the end of the month and on weekends. Moving companies tend to take advantage of the dates in higher demand to increase their prices. If possible, schedule your move throughout the middle of the month or mid-week to reduce stress and save money. Plan to move during the “off-season,” a good idea since almost one-third of all moves take place during the summer (especially in June). 

3. Work with the right moving company

If you do decide to hire movers, don’t just go with the first company that appears on Google. Do your research, check reviews, and ask family and friends about companies they’ve worked with. Compile a list of companies with the best recommendations and lowest rates. Once you’ve handpicked a few good ones, request a free in-home estimate. Be sure to ask if there are hidden fees. Some companies charge additional fees for things like preparing major appliances for the move and for packing and unpacking services, so be aware of all charges before making your final decision. 

4. Dump the junk!

Now is the time to pump up the “out with the old, in with the new” attitude. There are so many easy and creative ways to start fresh and get reorganized, like the KonMari Method, for example. Hold yard sales to get rid of excess clothing, furniture, and knick-knacks that you just don’t (and won’t ever) use. Throw away belongings you may be hoarding. It will save you space and can also help you save both money and time when packing up for the big move. Go through your storage closet or basement and get rid of the things you no longer use. If you have kids, sell or donate toys they've outgrown. If you decide to donate, you can collect some of that money back later through tax deductions. 

5. Get your hands on free moving boxes

Do you hear that? I think I hear free moving boxes calling your name. If you get creative, you’ll surely bring down moving costs by finding boxes; they’re literally everywhere. Hit up your local stories - beer and wine distributors, home and garden stores, supermarkets, department stores, even your office. Craigslist and social media yard sale sites may also be a good resource for free boxes. Moving companies expect you to be unprepared and may want to sell you boxes. But, you’ll be prepared with your own!

6. Deduct moving expenses

Yes, you read that correctly. You may be eligible to deduct moving expenses. According to the IRS, the standard mileage rate for using your vehicle to move to a new home in 2018 was 18 cents per mile. If you’re an active member of the military and are moving as a result of a permanent change of duty station, you may also be able to deduct moving expenses. For more information, head over to their website.

As you’re preparing for your next destination, we hope you’ve found these moving tips helpful. If you have, there’s no doubt you’re already on your way to a more affordable and less stressful move. So, happy moving! Once you’re all settled into your new home, it will all have been worth the ride. 

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