You’ve just signed the contract to buy your dream home or the lease to move into a great new apartment. Now comes the really hard part: preparing for moving day.
There’s de-cluttering and donating things that won’t make the move. Packing. Calling to arrange for utility services at your new place and scheduling disconnection at your current residence. More packing. And then figuring out if you should hire movers or put on the DIY pants.
Setting aside time to create a budget, get estimates and implement some creative cost-cutting measures can help to lessen the hassle, as well as cut the final bill. Read on for some ideas on how to cut your moving expenses.
Timing Your Move
The time of year can dictate how much your move will cost. In 2021, 8.4% of Americans moved from one home to another, and paid more to move in the summer than they did around the holidays.
Typically, fewer people move during the fall and winter holidays, which means you’ll most likely pay less if you relocate during that time. Companies will discount their rates the most to keep trucks on the road and workers employed.
While you can’t always dictate the time of year you move (your lease might be up in June and you decide to buy your own home then, for example), you can choose the time of month and the week.
Movers are busiest and truck rentals hardest to find at the start and end of the month. Moving in the middle of the month, therefore, can provide the best deal, as can taking a day or two off from work on a Monday through Thursday. (Many moving companies will charge a premium for a weekend move.)
As soon as you know you’re moving, give notice to your landlord. If your lease renews on the first of the month and calls for 30 days’ notice, giving 45 days would time your move to mid-month, and you could schedule the closing of your home purchase or the start of your next lease for the same date.
The Pro Move: Get Estimates
Once you’ve determined your moving date, take the time to get estimates from online moving professionals. Whether you’re moving crosstown or across the country, the price can vary widely among companies.
Homefair.org, Realtor.com and moveBuddha.com are among the many sites that can give you a ballpark moving estimate once you enter information about the size of your home. Remember that they are ballpark figures, but are a good starting off point as you make your budget.
To find the real cost of your move, schedule a free in-home estimate with a professional moving company for either a local or a long-distance move.
Saving time and steps for the movers can also save money. Ask how you can help save money, for instance, by disassembling things such as cribs and bed frames, or if you carry all the boxes and furniture from your home’s second story to main floor.
You can cut costs by having a yard sale or posting items for sale (or free) on an online site if you’re not taking them with you, especially large items that add to the price of a move. Your estimate will be based on both volume and weight, so it’s wise to show the estimator only what you’re taking.
If you’ve decided that you don’t need professional movers and are going to rent a truck and pay some buddies in pizza and soda to help you, there are still a number of ways you can save money:
- Ask local retailers for boxes that otherwise would wind up in the recycling bin. Liquor stores have boxes with dividers that are ideal for moving glassware, and grocery stores have boxes in all shapes and sizes. Banana boxes are the best because they are sturdy and have lids. No packing tape required!
- Who needs a lot of boxes when you have suitcases, coolers and laundry hampers? They have to get from Point A to Point B anyway, so load them up.
- Pass on buying expensive bubble wrap and packing paper to wrap your breakables. Towels, sheets and newspapers you’ve already read can do the same job at no cost.
- Wardrobe boxes are convenient for packing clothes but pricey. Instead, a few boxes of large trash bags could do the trick. Cut a small hole in the bottom of the bag to allow hangers to poke through, and cover your clothes that way. A plus: You won’t have any unpacking on the other end. Just hang the clothes right in your new closet.
A Hybrid Move
Your buddies might draw the line at lifting big pieces of furniture or trying to get the washer and dryer out of a tight space. With a hybrid move, you can rent a truck on your own and hire movers at each end of the job to load and unload either the whole truck or just some select pieces. There are services, such as U-Haul’s Moving Help, that can connect you with professional movers to hire by the hour.
Another option is renting a moving container and having it parked in your driveway while you take your time loading it. When you’re ready to move, the company will pick it up and deliver it to your new location. Companies offering this service include PODS, UPack ReloCube and 1-800-PACK-RAT. Just as with moving companies, costs can vary widely for storage containers, so estimates are suggested with this method, too.
Moving is a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be budget-busting. Whether you are moving yourself or hiring a professional, some planning, creative scheduling and asking the right questions can help you save quite a bit of cash.
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