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How to Move Cheaply

Table of Contents:

  1. Moving on a Budget: 10 Tips for a Cost-Effective Move
  2. How Much Should Be Saved Before Moving?
  3. Cheapest Moving Options or Companies
  4. Negotiating with Moving Companies
  5. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
  6. Moving Checklist

1. Moving on a Budget: 10 Tips for a Cost-Effective Move

Moving on a budget requires careful planning and a strategic approach. Here are ten practical tips to help you move cheaply and efficiently:

  1. Avoid Peak Moving Season
    When you’re budgeting for a move, timing is everything. The cheapest times to move are in the fall and winter seasons, on weekdays, and in the middle of the month. In addition to potentially lower prices, you may also receive more attention from moving companies during these times due to a slower schedule. And to save time on the day of your move, try to avoid driving during morning and evening rush hour traffic.
  2. Be Flexible with Your Moving Date
    Unless your move is time-sensitive, try to be flexible on your moving date. By allowing the company to fit you into their schedule, you might be able to agree on a date and time that work for both of you. This may also help you negotiate a more favorable rate.
  3. Get Free Boxes
    Boxes are the building blocks of a successful move, but the cost can quickly add up if you’re trying to move on a budget. Although some moving companies sell them, there are plenty of ways to accumulate all of the boxes you need for free. Some suggestions include:

    • Family and friends
    • Office or workplace
    • Supermarkets and department stores
    • Recycling centers
  4. Use Your Own Packing Materials
    Depending on the size of your move, the cost of bubble wrap and packing paper can add up, making budgeting for a move even more difficult. To avoid these costs altogether, try using linens, towels, and casual clothing to wrap up delicate items. You can also substitute packing paper with plastic shopping bags or newspaper. No matter what materials you use, remember the primary goal is for your items to arrive in one piece.
  5. Pay Attention to Your Utilities
    Closing and opening new utility accounts can cost time and money. For example, some companies may not prorate your bill. This means that if you only use one week of cable and internet, they might charge you for a full month. To make the best use of your time and potentially save money, write down a list of utilities for both residences. Then schedule an afternoon to close old accounts and open new ones.
  6. Create “Keep, Donate, or Throw Away” Piles
    One of the hardest things about moving could be deciding what to do with random belongings. If you have a closet or spare room full of these items, try creating three piles: keep, donate, and throw away. This reduces the size of your move, which helps with moving cheaply.
  7. Sell What You Don’t Need
    As you start to assess all of your belongings, you might find some unwanted items that still have value. Or you may find that you have two of the same item. When you’re moving on a budget, selling these items online or hosting a garage sale could help you save money and earn extra cash for other expenses.
  8. Pack Ahead of Time
    This tip for moving on a budget can save you hours of valuable time on moving day. And time is money. To get started, try to pack items you won’t need during the move such as electronics, kitchenware, and extra clothing. By having these items boxed, labeled, and ready to go, you can focus your time and energy toward larger items like furniture and appliances on moving day. Keep in mind that many commercial moving companies do not cover damage to items packed by the customer. So be sure to read the fine print of your moving contract.
  9. Get Help from People You Know
    Do you have a lot of family, friends, and coworkers who live nearby? If so, invite them over to help. You can sweeten the deal by providing food and drinks. But keep in mind you’re moving on a budget, so don’t overdo it. In addition to saving personal time packing your items, it can also give you quality time with loved ones before you relocate. Remember, the goal is to make your move as stress-free as possible.
  10. Shop Around for the Best Moving Truck Rental
    As one of the largest expenses for a DIY move, finding a deal on a moving truck rental could have a significant impact when you’re moving on a budget. So be sure to get as many quotes as possible. The size of the truck, how far you’re going, and whether you need the truck for one-way or roundtrip are a few of the factors a moving company takes into consideration when offering a quote.

2. How Much Should Be Saved Before Moving?

Before you start planning your move, it’s crucial to have a clear idea of how much you’ll need to budget for. The costs of a local move typically range from $900 to $2,400, while out-of-state moves can average around $4,750. These costs typically include professional movers and rental trucks. However, keep in mind that additional expenses, such as cleaning services, moving insurance, or special item transportation costs (e.g., vehicles), should also be factored into your budget.

3. Cheapest Moving Options or Companies

Choosing the right moving service can significantly impact the cost of your cross-country move. Here are some of the cheapest moving options to consider:

Full-Service Moving Companies

If you prefer a stress-free moving experience and have the budget for it, consider hiring a full-service moving company. They handle all aspects of the move, including planning, packing, loading, transportation, and unpacking. While it’s a pricier option, the convenience and efficiency may be worth it. If you want to find out how much your move could cost so that you can weigh your options, reach out to our friendly team for a free, no-obligation moving quote.

Cargo Trailer Rental

Renting a cargo trailer can be cost-effective if you have a large truck or van with decent towing capacity. It’s cheaper if you return the trailer to the same location after moving, and there’s typically no additional fee for per-mile usage.

Rental Trucks and Vans

Renting a moving truck or van is suitable for those who prefer to handle the packing and loading themselves. However, keep in mind that you’ll be responsible for mileage fees and gas along the way. Additional insurance might also be necessary for the duration of your move.

Moving Containers

Moving containers are a popular option for long-distance moves. You pack the container at your current location, and the moving company transports it to your new address. These containers can be left at the new location for an extended period, eliminating the need for interim storage if there’s a gap between moving out and moving in.

Freight Trailer Shipping

Renting space on a freight trailer can be cost-effective for large moves. You purchase space on the trailer per linear foot, and the company handles transportation. However, you’ll need to load and unload your belongings when the trailer arrives at your destination.

Research and compare quotes from multiple moving companies to find the most cost-effective option for your specific needs.

4. Negotiating with Moving Companies

Don’t hesitate to negotiate with moving companies to get the best possible price for your move. Most companies provide estimates online or over the phone, but these estimates are not set in stone. You may be able to negotiate with a company to match the price of another moving service or offer additional discounts.

A final pro tip: If you need help moving but think that professional movers’ rates are too high, consider hiring local freelancers for less using TaskRabbit.

5. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Here are some common questions about moving cheaply:

  • How do people afford moving expenses?
    Keeping costs low and maximizing your time take effort but can really pay off in the end. The ten tips mentioned earlier can show you how to move cheaply and efficiently.
  • What are cheap moving options or companies?
    To find cheap moving options or companies, consider using websites like TopTenReviews,, or Moving101 to compare moving truck options based on your specific needs.
  • How much should be saved before moving?
    It’s best to know ahead of time how much you should expect to pay for your move. The price of a local move typically ranges from $900 to $2,400, while out-of-state moves can average around $4,750. Remember to budget for additional expenses like cleaning services, moving insurance, or special item transportation costs.

6. Moving Checklist

Follow this checklist to ensure a smooth and organized move:

  1. Research and choose the right moving option for your needs.
  2. Create a detailed budget for your move, including all expenses.
  3. Declutter and get rid of items you no longer need or use.
  4. Gather packing supplies like boxes, tape, bubble wrap, and markers.
  5. Start packing non-essential items well in advance.
  6. Notify relevant parties of your upcoming move, including utility companies, banks, and the post office.
  7. Transfer or cancel subscriptions and services tied to your current address.
  8. Arrange for transportation for pets and plants.
  9. Notify family and friends of your new address and moving date.
  10. Take care of necessary paperwork and documentation for the move.
  11. Label and organize packed boxes for easy unpacking.
  12. Prepare for moving day by packing essential items separately.
  13. Consider enlisting the help of family and friends for the move.
  14. Double-check all arrangements and confirmations before moving day.
  15. Conduct a final walkthrough of your old home to ensure nothing is left behind.
  16. Arrive at your new home and begin the unpacking process.
  17. Update your address with the necessary authorities and contacts.
  18. Take some time to explore and get familiar with your new surroundings.

Moving cross-country on a budget requires careful planning and research. By following these tips and using the right moving option for your needs, you can make your cross-country move affordable and stress-free. Good luck with your move!

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