Moves are complicated and usually require hiring a moving company, buying packing materials, and spending money going out for food while being a bit displaced. With the economy being as uncertain as it is, whether you have extra money to spend or not, moving on a budget to be safe may be the best option.

Your biggest cost when moving will be hiring the moving company. But that doesn’t mean that you have to move yourself when moving on a budget. If you do it right, you can actually hire a moving company for less than it costs to move yourself. And in this article, I’ll explain exactly what to do.

Moving is tough on you and your family, and when you throw in the high moving costs, it can be even more difficult. With expert knowledge of the moving industry, for over 15 years, as well as moved several times myself,  I put together these top 14 moving tips for moving on a budget that will help you save money on your move.

In this article:

  1. Have a plan, and plan early
  2. Get rid of stuff you don’t need
  3. Get the right packing supplies
  4. Use what you already have
  5. Pack the boxes yourself
  6. Hire a reputable moving company
  7. Move during the week or offseason
  8. Be prepared for the movers
  9. Have movers only move furniture & boxes
  10. Rent a moving truck and move yourself
  11. Get help from friends and family
  12. Have friends & family watch pets & children on the move day
  13. Cancel unused subscriptions
  14. Find used furniture online

Consumer Moving Tips For Moving On A Budget

Below are some of our best tips and advice for consumers who wish to save money on the moving process.

1. Have A Plan and Plan Early

The more time you give yourself to plan for a move, the less it will cost you. Many expenses that come from a move are last-minute decisions made on things like extra packing materials or eating out etc. Usually, they are things you’ll throw money at just to get it over with because you’ve been rushing so hard the days prior.

Starting earlier means you’ll have more time to gather cheap or free moving supplies. You’ll also have more time to get rid of things you don’t need to move. 

2. Get Rid Of The Stuff You Don’t Need

This is one of the most important things to do during the moving process. The less you have, the less it will cost to move. Here are a few things you can do to lighten your load, save money, and even make some money.

  • Sell items on Craigslist, OfferUp, Facebook Marketplace, and other online marketplaces.
  • Have a garage sale to get rid of things you no longer want.
  • Donate items to charities, churches, or other organizations that are in need.
  • Throw away items that can no longer be used.
  • Start eating all the food in the pantry and freezer.
  • Donate food to a local food bank.

3. Get The Right Packing Supplies

The most affordable new packing supplies can be purchased at Home Depot, Lowe’s, Walmart, and Uhaul-type stores. But, if you’re trying to move on a tight budget, you can always find used boxes online.

One of the best places for used packing materials online is from other people who post them on Craigslist, Offerup, and Facebook Marketplace. Sometimes people will be just moving into your neighborhood and will be looking to get rid of their boxes so make sure to look a few weeks early so you can start to accumulate the right supplies for your move.

You can also ask the moving company for used boxes. New boxes from movers sometimes come at a premium cost, but some moving companies have used boxes or re-usable bins they rent out for their clients.

4. Use What You Already Have

Before going out and purchasing loads and loads of packing paper (you will likely need some), consider using some items you already have like towels, linens, suitcases, duffle bags, old Amazon boxes, trash bags, and other useful items you already have around your house.

5. Pack Your Boxes Yourself

Packing yourself is a great way to save money on moving costs. The more you’re packed up and ready to go, the less time it will take movers to move your things.

Movers will offer packing services as well, but if you do it yourself, you can save a lot of money. Just be sure you pack the right way to avoid your items being broken.

If you do pack yourself, you won’t have any protection if anything breaks in those boxes, so be sure you learn how to properly pack your breakables.

6. Hire A Reputable Moving Company

It’s not always best to hire the cheapest moving company. Sometimes movers will estimate your move cheaper than other movers just to get your business, then ultimately you’ll have to pay the final cost based on how long the move will take (if moving locally).

If you have a very unprofessional moving company, it might take much longer to move your items than with a professional company. Also, with cheap, unprofessional movers, you run the risk of your items being damaged.

7. Move During The Week or During The Offseason

Movers usually increase their rates between the months of May through August. This is the busiest time of year for moving companies.

If you’re looking to save money on your move, consider moving outside of these dates. When movers are less busy, their rates usually go down a bit.

Weekends are the busiest times when people need moving services, especially towards the end of the month. Many movers charge more during these peak times, so consider moving during the week or ask your moving company if they can discount your rate if you choose a day during the week.

8. Be Prepared For The Movers

One of the most important things to do when wanting to save on the cost of a moving company is being ready for them.

Local movers charge by the hour, so if you’re not all packed up and ready to go, or if the hallways are being blocked by stuff, it will take movers longer to move your items.

The more organized and ready you are for the moving company the better. Consider these tips for preparing for movers:

  • Each room should have furniture and boxes, that’s pretty much it. Boxes should be labeled correctly on the sides so movers know exactly which room it will go in at the new location.
  • Consider staging boxes in the garage. The more items you stage in the garage or in a place that is easily accessible to the moving truck, the faster the movers can load the items onto the truck.
  • Keep a clear path – Movers will most likely take the large furniture first. Make sure all the furniture has a clear path to where they will be parking their trucks.
  • Have great communication with your crew. Your moving crew will be asking you questions on moving day.
  • Be there on moving day. If you’re not there to answer the movers’ questions about where things go and what the plan is, it’s likely it will take more time and cost more money.

9. Have The Movers Only Move Boxes & Furniture

If you are prepared enough, you should still be able to hire a moving company while still moving on a budget. As long as when the moving company arrives, they can get in and load up your boxes and furniture as quickly as possible and unload at the new destination, it will be quick and affordable. Just make sure you do all the pre-move planning like packing and preparing your items for transport.

10. Consider Moving Yourself & Renting A Moving Truck

Before making your decision, understand how much stuff you have. If you have a one-bedroom apartment with easy truck access and not a lot of stuff, moving yourself might be your best option. But, if you have a lot of heavy items with difficult truck access, you might want to leave the moving up to the professionals.

Also remember, when moving yourself, if you have furniture you want to protect, you’re going to have to buy all the necessary supplies to protect your furniture. When you hire movers, they already come equipped with the right materials to safely protect and move your furniture.

You can rent a moving truck with companies like Uhaul, Budget, Enterprise, Home Depot, or Penske.

11. Get Help From Friends

Your friends are usually the “free” moving labor you need most if you’re moving budget is really tight. As long as you provide some incentive like food, music, and figuring out a way to turn it into a good time.

12. Have Friends & Family Watch Pets & Children On Move Day

When moving on a budget, there’s no reason to have to hire a babysitter all day and spend a bunch of money when you may have friends or family who would be willing to watch them while the move takes place. Children & pets should not be around on moving day since they can get in the way, get hurt, and cause more stress during an already stressful day.

13. Cancel Unused Subscriptions

If you are moving away from the town, don’t forget to cancel or change the address of your local subscriptions & memberships like:

  • Cable Tv & Internet
  • Utilities
  • Gym Memberships
  • Magazine’s & Newspapers
  • Monthly Food Deliveries
  • Monthly Shave Club
  • Other Auto-Ship Services

14. Find Used Furniture Online

It may be tempting to go out and buy all new furniture and rack up some debt after you move in. But, if you’re good at budgeting, you’ll know that that’s not always the best idea in the long term.

For certain items in your home, consider other used furniture options like buying them on websites like Craigslist, Offerup and Facebook Marketplace. If you give yourself enough time, you’ll be surprised at what you can find for affordable costs.

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