Moving is an expensive activity. First, there’s the cost of moving into a new place—for apartment renters, that usually means first month’s rent plus a security deposit and any other fees, like a pet deposit. Then, there’s the cost of getting everything ready to move: packing supplies, boxes and anything else required to prep for the move. From there, consider the cost of hiring movers, renting a moving truck or any other costs associated with facilitating the move. It all adds up fast!
Don’t forget, there are also hidden costs, such as time off from work to move or the time you spend prepping and executing the relocation. It’s enough to make anyone look at their rough budget with bulging eyes! But what can you do to lower these costs? They’re all essential parts of moving and it seems unavoidable that you’ll need to pay them.
While some costs can’t be avoided, others have more wiggle room than most people realize. If you’re on track for an extremely budget-conscious move, consider these seven tips to help keep costs as low as possible:
- Call in favors. If you’ve got people willing to help you or who owe you for past good deeds, now’s the time to call in your favors. If you can get three or four people to help you pack and relocate your items, you’ll be able to avoid the costs that come with hiring professionals. Keep in mind, you want your helpers to do a good job—and cutting out the cost of movers isn’t always as cost-effective as it seems, as we’ll explain below. On the surface, it’s the quickest way to eliminate your single biggest moving expense.
- Source supplies secondhand. If you can get packing and moving supplies from friends and family, this is a great way to save on moving expenses. Carboard boxes in good condition, packing fill and tape are all things most people have in their basements or attics from a past move. Even compensating someone a few bucks for these items will lower your moving bill.
- Get your security deposit back. While spending money on cleaning supplies and some basic home repair items may seem like another expense, they’re more of an investment if they help you get your security deposit back! What’s $50 spent on cleaning supplies if it gets you $500 back from your landlord? Make sure you’re going the extra mile to clean and repair property, so it meets exit inspection standards and qualifies you for your full security deposit back.
- Package services. If you’re hiring moving services, discuss packaging these services together at a lower cost. Most moving companies offer discounts for multiple services—such as packing, truck rental and storage services. Even if it nets you 10% off or a similar discount, that’s money back in your pocket. The key is to get the most value for your buck. The cost of movers can actually be cost saving in the time and effort your save yourself.
- Sell off unwanted items. Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist and other selling sites are your friend when it comes to recouping a few extra bucks during the moving process. If there are things you don’t want, there’s a good chance you can sell them to someone else for a few bucks here and a few bucks there. Put up your unwanted items for a must-sell price and you’ll serve the dual purpose of getting them out of your home and putting money in your pocket.
- Create a budget. While a budget might not save you money in and of itself, it’ll certainly make you more conscious of your moving costs and help you plan for them better. This is a great way to make sure you’re not spending beyond your means and will help you track expenses in real time to see where you might be able to save money—or where you’ve gone over-budget and why.
- Shop around. When hiring movers, looking for packing supplies or booking a self-storage unit, the best thing you can do to lower your costs is to shop around and see what’s out there. You’ll be surprised at how much prices and fees can vary from provider to provider, and how many providers will match competitor prices. It might take you a few extra minutes to call different service providers, but if that few extra minutes adds up to savings, it’s time well-spent.
In addition to these tips, look for mover discount coupons and identify small dollar amounts you can eliminate from your budget. Also, avoid spending on things you don’t need for your move. It’s easy to convince yourself that you need X, Y and Z to relocate properly, but often, you’ll end up spending money on items you don’t use.
Make a budget, list the essentials and strive to get the best prices possible on every line item. You’ll be surprised at how much money you can save when you really put your mind to it! And remember, every dollar adds up.