Best Ways to Save on Moving Costs

6 tips for keeping your moving budget under control

(Image: US Dept of Transportation)

If you’ve recently moved, you’ve probably noticed how quickly costs add up. From renting a truck to purchasing cardboard boxes and bubble wrap, there’s no shortage of moving-related costs designed to bust your budget. Apply these six strategies to cut your moving costs and get settled into your new home with money to spare.

Look for freebies
Many grocery or appliance stores have cardboard boxes they regularly throw out. Instead of purchasing boxes from a moving company, pick up boxes for free from a retailer and save them from being trashed. It’s a win-win for both your wallet and the environment. Likewise, rather than pay loads of money for packing foam or sheets, try some heavily discounted alternatives, such as an old bed sheet from your own closet or a consignment shop. It’s a useful alternative to a formal packing sheet at a fraction of the cost. Use old newspapers to wrap up dishes and other delicate items instead of bubble wrap.

Look for discounts
Check for discount retailers. Packing tape, bubble wrap and styrofoam peanuts might be pricey at a moving store but significantly cheaper on Amazon.com or another online retailer. Purchasing items from the most obvious or convenient sources, like the U-Haul store, is usually more expensive. Shop in advance so you don’t have to pay top dollar for convenience or speed.

Be conscious of your consumable purchases
Perishable items tend to get thrown away during a move. About a month prior to moving, start minimizing purchases of perishable food, drinks, coffee, shampoo, soap, moisturizer and other items that have a limited shelf life. You can reduce waste by ‘shopping your pantry,’ eating what’s already in your cupboard, and using whatever products are already on your shelves. You might find that this scaled-back approach is a habit that sticks and helps you save in other areas as well.

Look for group discounts
If you’re renting a moving truck, ask the rental company if they offer any type of group discount. Your employer, your membership with a local nonprofit group, or another affiliation could qualify you for a special rate. If you’re an AAA member, for example, you might be able to get a AAA discount through major moving truck providers.

Think diesel
If you’re moving a significant volume of stuff, you might want to consider renting a diesel vehicle rather than a gasoline-powered one. This can reduce fuel costs, particularly if you’re making an out-of-state or cross-country drive.

Also, if you’re moving a personal vehicle, it could be more cost effective to tow it behind your moving truck. Driving multiple cars, especially on a long trip, might cost you more in gas.

Reduce clutter
The more stuff you need to pack, the more expensive your move will be. More items require more boxes, packing materials, hours on the clock for movers, a bigger truck, more fuel to power that truck, and more hours on the other end when the movers unpack all those boxes. Conduct a massive cleaning of your home before you move. Donate unused clothing, games, appliances, kitchen gadgets, and anything else you haven’t used in the past six months to a year. Unless an item is an heirloom or otherwise highly sentimental, remember that you’re not going to miss what you don’t use, and you’ll be glad when there’s less to unpack.