Moving is consistently listed as one of the most stressful events you’ll experience in your life. Everything you own is being stuffed into boxes and moved somewhere completely different, plus you have to unpack, set everything up, restart your electricity and internet, figure out your parking situation, find places to save money when you can — who wouldn’t be a little stressed?
You don’t want to heap money trouble on top of this major life change, so skip the assumption that moving will cost you your sanity and thousands of dollars. There are a number of ways that you can save money during a move, it just takes a little creativity.
1. Stock Up on Packing Supplies
If you were to buy cardboard boxes from a store, they can cost you anywhere from $1.80 to $4 per box. Think about it: how much stuff do you have and how many boxes will you need? Buying new boxes could add hundreds of dollars to your moving cost.
Instead, start saving boxes from online purchases, ask big box stores (grocery stores are great for this) if they have any cardboard boxes you can take off their hands, and re-purpose as a way to transport your own belongings. Suitcases, free totes you’ve picked up at events, and reusable grocery bags are also great for moves.
2. Save Money by Shopping Around
You’ve probably heard the advice to just borrow a friend’s truck because it’s cheaper than a professional moving company, right? Well, it depends. Every person’s budget is different, so take a look at your P&L (that’s profits and losses) to see if you can afford it.
A few things to take into consideration: if you were to take time off of work to move, would you be missing out on a significant portion of your monthly income? In addition to that missed money, would you have to rent a truck or hire someone to help you with heavy items like furniture? If it costs you more to DIY your move, then choosing movers might be the more practical option (and hey, less work for you!)
If you do decide to go the professional movers route, there are a few things you can do to keep costs low. Skip moving from May through August, as this is peak moving season and moving companies are less likely to offer you a deal.
3. Plan Ahead
If you’re lucky enough to have time before the big move, it’s time to put on your best Monica Geller impression and get organized! Contact your electricity/internet providers and let them know when to switch power off and begin power at your new home. If you forget to do this, you could be paying for electricity in the old home that you’re not using.
Not sure if your sofa will fit into your new living room? Planning ahead means that you have time to sell pieces you no longer need. You won’t have to move things unnecessarily or deal with the stress of donating these pieces while you’re also trying to move.
Moving is famously an expensive undertaking, but it doesn’t have to send you into bankruptcy or have you eating ramen noodles every night. You’ve got a new living space to decorate and make yours – enjoy it!
4. Do Some Meal Planning
I know what you’re thinking: what does meal planning have to do with moving? When you’re shutting off your electricity at your old place and starting up at the new, chances are you won’t have access to refrigerated food for a few days. (Not to mention all your plates and cutlery are packed away in 15 layers of bubble wrap.) It can be super easy to go over budget on eating out during moving time, so take some time to plan ahead. Stock up on non-refrigerated foods and keep them in a separate accessible bag for ease. Granola bars, pb&j, and other quick snacks are great options. Bye bye, drive-through line!
5. Make a Few Bucks
Not only can you save money, but maybe even earn a few bucks while moving! Comb through old clothes and books to see what you can sell on apps like Poshmark or donate. More money in your pocket and less stuff to move is a win/win. Plus, donations to places like Goodwill can be tax deductible.