How To Move On A Tight Budget: Our 7 Expert Tips

Updated: August 3, 2018

Moving expenses add up quick, and a move usually ends up costing more than you think it will.

According to the American Moving & Storage Association, the average cost of a move within the same state is $1,170, and the average cost between states is $5,630. Other sources quote the average move within the U.S. to be even higher—at nearly $12,500!

So how can you budget, save and decrease your moving expenses before you load up the truck?

Here are 7 ways that we here at The Money Manual live by…

1. Don’t move junk

The first thing you need to do before you pack up is clean out all the clutter. All of the things you haven’t been using, or the boxes that have been sitting in the attic since the last move, can all go. Selling or donating your items can earn you extra cash or a tax deduction as well. Host a garage sale, list items on Craigslist or Facebook, or even sell them on eBay. This will eliminate how many boxes you ultimately need to move with, and ultimately save you money.

2. Find free boxes

Start saving every Amazon, diaper or other box you get in the mail. It’s always smart to have a variety of box sizes, so you’ll be surprised what comes in handy. Other places to ask for free boxes include your office or workplace (printer-paper boxes are strong), liquor stores (they come with built in cardboard dividers which are great for moving glasses), furniture stores or other retailers. You can also reach out to friends who have recently moved or post on your social media networks to round up extra. Don’t spend your money on cardboard if you don’t have to.

3. Move in the off-season

We are about to enter into the moving off-season—September to May—when rates are usually the lowest. Generally speaking, moving companies are busiest in the summer because families are trying to get settled before children start school. If you can wait until after August, you can usually score better deals. If moving in the off-season isn’t an option for you, try moving at the beginning or the middle of the month when prices tend to be a bit better in comparison to the end of the month.

4. Get at least three quotes

Don’t automatically assume hiring movers will be more expensive than moving yourself. Quote moving companies and trucks locally and nationally to compare your options. Oftentimes rental trucks look like a good deal, but after a lot of energy and sweat is put into the move, you might realize you’ve spent more on the U-Haul than you would’ve if you had hired the professionals. The pros can usually cut down the time a move takes significantly and do a better job safeguarding your belongings.

5. See if your employer will cover the cost

If you’re relocating for a job, check with your employer to see if they will cover part or even all of the moving costs. It never hurts to ask! You can usually deduct some or all of these expenses on your income tax return if you don’t have help from your boss. Meet with a tax adviser before the move to see how much you can deduct.

6. Look for combo deals if you need storage

If you find that you are moving, but need to store your stuff in a storage unit for a short or long period of time, look for combo deals on pricing. Some storage unit companies offer moving truck and storage space package deals which could end up saving you big time.

7. Negotiate everything

Negotiate! Negotiate! Negotiate! This is how you will save the most on your move. Ask about any discounts you might qualify for– AAA discount, military, student, etc. Use your other quotes to bid companies against each other to see who will cut their price the most. And Costco members, did you know you can get a 25% discount on your next move with Budget? Check out the details here.

Moving can be stressful and pricey, but if you do the work beforehand, you can end up saving a significant amount on boxes, movers, and the overall cost.