Moving can be one of the most stressful and downright annoying experiences in one’s life, but that doesn’t mean the moving process has to be an utterly agonizing event – or an expensive one. Besides, you just bought a new house! You should be excited about moving from your old space into a new one, and settling in.
Even so, it can be a little daunting to know how much you have to pack – and how much you have to spend to pack and move it. Moves can cost upwards of thousands of dollars, depending on how much stuff you have and how big of a space you’re moving from and to. But there are things you can do to help save money on moving costs, and bring those costs to a more manageable level.
For one, you can consider using something called a piggyback service, where you can load your goods into a moving truck that’s already filled with someone else’s goods, but they still have room for more. It tends to be a flat rate cost, and there are online apps and websites that can help you to find a truck that will suit your needs. Rates are based on your location, the distance, and how much you’re moving – and you’ll get a chance to see your rate before you book, so that way you can decide if it makes good financial sense for you. But chances are you can save a good chunk of change by piggybacking, rather than booking an entire moving service just for yourself.
Another way to save on moving costs? If you can wait until the winter, that’s the best time to move. The weather doesn’t make it fun, if you live in an area where snow and inclement weather abounds. But as it’s considered a “dead season” in the moving world, you may just lock down a great moving company at a great rate. Also try to avoid moving at the end of the month, when there tends to be a crush of customers. Mid-month – or better yet, on either end of the mid-month – are better for booking and rates.
Speaking of those rates, don’t go with companies who want to give you guesstimates. If you don’t have a complicated move – say, a two-bedroom from one locale to another across town – it shouldn’t be that hard to get a solid estimate that won’t suddenly balloon once the move is over. Make sure you’re clear on everything the moving company is quoting you – whether it’s hourly or flat rate, if they charge for moving oddly-shaped or extremely heavy content or anything else that they may charge for. And if you can, get it in writing.
And don’t forget one of the best ways to save on moving costs: by paring down your stuff. It’s time to go through your things and either trash, sell or donate the stuff that just has no reason to exist in your space anymore. And that doesn’t just mean the little stuff – if you have a wonky fridge or maybe it’s time for a new lawnmower, consider donating those to charity, too. The less you have to move, the less you’ll have to pay to move it.
You can also save by thinking smart about how and where to get your moving boxes. Yes, it’s nice to be able to go to a moving store and buy boxes. But that can get costly depending on the size of boxes you need. There are online companies that offer recycled boxes at a fraction of the cost, or have eco-friendly alternatives that you can rent, use and return. Or if you’re looking to go super cheap and eco-friendly, make friends with your local grocer and see if they’ll save some boxes for you.
You might also want to think about making life easier for your movers by lightening their work load. How can you do this? Take apart your furniture before they get there so they don’t have to do it for you, then re-assemble it yourself once the move is complete. That way the movers can focus on simply moving your things, not having to dismantle everything at once location, then put them back together again in the next. And that can save you money.
Lastly, save your receipts – not just to ensure you got what you paid for, but they can also be a tax deduction. Of course, there are stipulations that precipitate this – for example, you’ll have to have a home office to qualify, or perhaps you’re starting a new job that’s 50 miles or more away from your old home, which may have inspired your move. Your accountant will know more about what you can write off and what you can’t, so make sure you discuss with them before you start making deep cuts on your tax return.
And voila! Before you know it, you’ve saved some cash from your move. Now you can put it into decorating your new home!