If you consider me to be great at organizing, I’m a moving queen. In my 14 years of marriage, my husband moved us around, on average once every 3 to 6 months! No, he wasn’t in the Army or anything like that, he just liked to run from problems. I thought it would stop when we had kids, but he just dragged them along, city to city, state to state, place to place.
I’ve had my fair share of moving and I can also tell you that preparing to move house is one of those things that will charge up your debt like nothing else. There’s rental truck fees, new housing rental agreement fees, deposits to come up with, spare keys to make, decorations to buy, every situation is different. Even if you’re just moving across town, it can get expensive. One place won’t have a fan, you’ll need to buy one. Another will, you’ll want to sell it and not store it. But with all those fees and costs adding up quickly, you CAN save money when you move.
How to Save Money on Moving Costs
Shop around with moving companies and moving vans or trucks
Often there is quite a difference in price. Don’t assume that the first place you call, is offering the lowest price in the market. Also, be willing to haggle to get a good deal and reduce the cost of moving house. Moving companies and moving truck brands are often very willing to give you a better deal than their competitor just to score your business.
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Look for deals and coupons online
You would be amazed at how many coupons and deals there are out there for moving expenses. Just by following some of the big name moving companies on their social media accounts may be able to save you some money. RetailMeNot is another fantastic place to score coupon codes, and here’s a little known secret. Pick up your moving packet from USPS BEFORE you move. It may be easier to pay the $1 fee and do it online, and I say go for it, but pick up that packet anyway. Inside it, you will see several coupons that are VERY helpful. AFTER you move, places like Home Depot and Lowe’s, will send you out 10-20% off any purchase up to $1,000-$2,000 purchase. All of these coupons are extremely helpful in saving you a bundle of money!
Choose to move during a non-peak time or day
Generally, rates will be higher on weekends, during the summer, or when college comes back into session or gets out. If you can, move on a weekday during the early winter or early spring. This will save you hundreds of dollars!
Check with your insurance company before you buy into that extra protection insurance on moving vehicles
Okay, so this is a biggie where rental truck fees completely RIP PEOPLE OFF! Many people don’t know and I only know this from all my banking experience, many times, your current insurance company will actually cover you for more than what the rental truck company is offering for insurance and you can avoid that extra large cost altogether.
Your car insurance company generally covers you as a driver as well, so any expenses that can occur while moving are usually covered. Again, check with your particular car insurance company. I have heard that some don’t cover you in a move or your rental truck. If you don’t get the answers you want when you call, call again and talk to someone else until you get the information you need!
Don’t pay for boxes
It is amazing to me when people pay for boxes to move. You can get them free from local restaurants, grocery stores, and even pharmacies. Just call around and ask them if they have any or if they would be willing to save some for you for a day. If you do this a couple days in a row, you should be able to get more than enough boxes. Also, check on Craigslist for free boxes from someone else’s recent move. If you plan ahead, you can get packing peanuts, moving boxes, extra newspapers, everything you need right there on Craigslist for free!
When I lived in Oregon, this was a little more challenging as they flatten all boxes immediately for environmental reasons. Driving around to the back of stores and looking at their recycle bins is a fantastic way to do that in such cases. Malls and large store complexes usually have a row of cardboard boxes. I’ve never had anyone tell me I couldn’t take what they deem as garbage away, so you can either ask the store directly or just get what you need, depending on the laws of the state that you are in.
Make sure you know how many miles and how many days you have on your moving vehicle for the rental price
If you even go over 1 mile, you will be charged and the fees are spendy! You can often be charged exorbitant amounts per mile that you go over the allotted amount. If you think you will go over it (use Mapquest to pull mileage and add a good 50 miles on top of that), ask if you can buy extra miles. These are often much cheaper if purchased up front.
Fill ‘Er Up!
Be sure that when you return the truck, the gas is filled up to where they said it needed to be. If you don’t, there are usually large fees involved and they charge more per gallon than you would pay had you of done it yourself!
Do your own packing and as much of the loading as you can yourself
Get help from your church, your friends, if you have to, you can hire a local moving company by the hour and tell them you only need them for 1 hour for the most heaviest of items, like the refrigerator, washer/dryer, and anything else you have that’s super heavy. They generally charge a flat fee and count the driving time from them to you, then to your new place as well. Moving companies can save you lots of time and pain, but if you can do most of it yourself, it will save you lots of money in the long run.
Downsize as you pack
Most people tend to downsize in the new place. This is a huge mistake. A few weeks before I move, I am generally found sorting, organizing, and downsizing everything I won’t need at the new place. Here’s why…after you get to the new place, you’ll have tons of boxes everywhere that you don’t know what to do with. I have heard of people keeping those boxes of stuff in their garages or something for up to years later. Why? Everything can already be put away if it’s not there to deal with afterwards. For me, this has made moving much simpler. I can literally put an entire house away, by myself, top to bottom in 2-3 days. I’m not kidding!
This may not seem like a money saving tips, but if you can get rid of some things you don’t need at the new place, you may find you can go with a smaller truck and save yourself money and time in the process.
How to put a house away in 2-3 days
In order to do this, the first step is getting everything in the appropriate room it needs to be. Label your boxes and bags, with the room it should go in. Then, put it in there. Go room by room, putting everything away until it’s all put away, starting with putting the furniture where it needs to go. You don’t really want to fill up that dresser, only to have to move it FULL of stuff, later on.
After furniture, I usually go straight to the clothes. Since closets are in every home, they are super quick and easy to get them out of the bags (I pack clothes ON THE HANGER in large trash bags), pull them out and wala, hang them up! If you take a stack of like 10 clothes on the hanger and fold them in half, then put them in the bag, you won’t get wrinkles (just put your most likely to wrinkle ones on top so they are folded less). If you have stairs, it’s also very easy to roll those bags down the stairs (less for you to lift, lug, and haul!) I have broken 2 hangers in all the time I’ve done that, but hangers are what…like 10¢ each?
Consider a Pod
If you are moving a long distance, consider renting a pod. Doing things this way will save you money because you won’t have to pay for gas, the use of the truck or for a professional moving company. You just pack up the large pod, a company comes by with a truck and takes it to your destination and you unpack it yourself. This is often a lot cheaper than driving a truck yourself as well as the whole shabang of hiring an entire fleet of people to move your stuff for you.
What are some of your favorite tips for saving money on moving expenses?