How to Save Money When You Move

Not too many people look forward to moving; it’s a complicated process with a lot of packing, cleaning, losing stuff, and trying to find it again in your new place. If you’re making a big change, such as a cross-country move, the whole procedure can be intimidating, frustrating, and even scary. Let’s look at some ways to make the moving process a little more palatable, and cut back on the organically expensive process of moving.

1. Purge before you pack. Do you really need a heavy coat if you’re moving to Florida? Probably not. Before you start throwing things in boxes, take inventory of what you have, and what you might not need in your new location. One of the perks of moving to a new place is getting rid of things you no longer need, that are doing nothing more than taking up space in your closet, dresser, or under the bed. Donate your clothes to a shelter, a nonprofit, or put them on consignment and get paid when they sell. Some consignment shops will pay you up front for your useable items. Road trip money!

2. Take advantage of rental truck discounts. Check with your local truck rental companies (there’s always more than one!) to see who is offering a discount. If it isn’t the company you want to use, try approaching your pick and see if they will price match their competition’s pricing. (Hint: If they want your business, they’ll match it. If they don’t, you might not want to use them after all.)

3. If you are not sure whether you want to hire a mover or do the work yourself, there are advantages when considering a DIY move. First, you can save a lot of money by renting a truck and using the services of friends, family, or even neighbors to load and unload, but it will take planning (and probably pizza for your hardworking friends). You will need to choose a day when everyone who is willing to help (bless them!) is available, and you will need to be packed and ready to roll when that day arrives. Another benefit to doing it yourself is that you can load the truck the way you want, so that the things you’ll need immediately are loaded last, so they are the first items off the truck. (Hint: Put your bed and bedding on last, and set it up first when you reach your new location. When the long day of loading and unloading is done, you’re going to want to take a nap.)

4. If you’re planning to hire professional movers, take the time to check them out thoroughly before any money changes hands. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has great advice on the steps to take when selecting a mover. You want to know the person in charge of getting all your worldly goods from one place to another is trustworthy before you watch them drive away. No matter how much (or how little) you spend on a mover, it will not be money well spent if your personal possessions don’t make it to their destination, or arrive damaged or broken.

5. If you have the option, try not to move during peak season. Not only are truck rental and moving company prices at their highest, and discounts fewer and farther between, the demand for trucks and movers is also high. The last thing you want is to find out there aren’t any trucks or movers available when you plan to move. Summertime is always busy, with students shipping off to college and families with younger children doing their best to relocate and get settled before school starts up again. If you can, schedule your move around the summer rush, in early fall, and avoid holidays and weekends. 

Don’t forget, your moving expenses may be a tax deduction, if the reason for your move revolves around a new job. You can also see if the company hiring you will pay for, or at least help with, your moving expenses. It’s best to negotiate this before you say yes to the job, and get it in writing, to make sure there aren’t questions later, when you submit your receipts for reimbursement.