How to Move on a Budget and Save Your Hard-Earned Cash

Let’s face it: Moving can get expensive. However, if you’re willing to get a little creative, there are ways to do it without breaking the bank entirely. We’ve shared some of our best tips on how to move on a budget below. With a little planning and forethought, you should be able to keep costs down to the bare minimum.

Decide what level of help you need. Image: Rawpixel

Research your moving options

In order to move on a budget, the first thing you have to do is conduct some research to get a sense of what your costs will be. There are different levels of professional moving help to choose from, and they all come at different price points. You’ll need to decide which one makes the most sense for you.

The most common options are:

  • Full-Service Movers: Full-service movers are the easiest option, but also the most expensive. They handle the whole process for you, including packing. If you decide to go this route, you’ll want to get at least three quotes from different companies before making your decision. For the best results, opt for in-home estimates, which cuts down on the possibility of getting up-charged on the big day.
  • Flat-Rate Movers: You guessed it — flat-rate movers do the work for a flat fee. With this type of service, it’s important to research each company to make sure you know exactly what you’re getting for your money.
  • Pods: A middle-ground between hiring professional movers and moving on your own, Pods allow you to pack up your belongings into a shipping container and have it delivered to your new location.
  • Moving on Your Own: Moving on your own is obviously the cheapest option. In this case, your biggest cost is gas, rather than labor. However, make sure you’re prepared to do the heavy lifting.
Move off-season to get the best deals. Image: Rawpixel

Schedule your move off-season

Once you’ve budgeted your options above and come to a decision, the next step is to schedule your move. If you’ve decided to get help from the pros, you should be able to save some cash by moving during an off-peak time. Moving season picks up from June to September; if you can, think about moving in the fall or winter to take advantage of slow season deals.

That said, even if a job or prior commitment dictates that you have to move during the summer months, there are still ways to save. Since most moves happen at the beginning or the end of the month, aim to be in the middle. Additionally, rather than moving on a weekend, shoot for mid-week when movers’ schedules will likely be a little slower.

Declutter before you pack. Image: Deborah Cortelazzi

Declutter first

This one’s just common sense. The less stuff you have, the less you’ll have to pay to move. We highly recommend decluttering first, regardless, in order to streamline the moving process. However, this advice goes double if you’re trying to move on a budget. Before you even start packing, get rid of anything that you don’t use anymore or don’t think is worth taking with you.

If need be, sell items you don’t need for some extra cash. Check apps, community Facebook groups,and local consignment stores for opportunities to get rid of these unused items while making a few bucks.

Get creative with your packing materials. Image: Rawpixel

Don’t pay for packing materials

After you’ve decluttered, it’s time to actually pack up your belongings. This is where you can incur one of the other biggest costs to moving: buying boxes and other packing materials. However, with a little legwork, you can defray this cost. Liquor stores and wholesale grocery chains often give away their extra boxes for free. Additionally, it’s worth checking local freecycle sites to see if anyone is getting rid of their boxes after a move.

You can also get creative and save on bubble wrap. Rather than rushing out to buy it, consider using soft items that you already own to protect your belongings. Items like sheets, towels and oven mitts are perfect for protecting your breakable items. They also come at no additional cost.

Try to write off some of your expenses. Image Rawpixel

Write it off

Like every other write-off, your move has to meet certain conditions in order to be eligible. But, if you’re able to, it’s a useful way to try and recoup some of your initial investment. We recommend talking to a tax professional before taking it, but if you’re relocating for work and have to move more than 50 miles, you may have a good case.

Have you ever tried to move on a budget? What advice can you share from your experience? Tell us in the comments!