6 Ways to Navigate a Move on a Budget

The most important issue you face when getting your belongings from Point A to Point B is that they make it there safely. Another consideration for most is keeping costs manageable. We don’t recommend having price be the only factor in determining your move plan, but being strict with your budget during the move can put more money in your hands when furnishing your new home. Read on for these 6 tips on how to save on your move.

1. Have a Plan in Place

Don’t wing it when it comes to moving. Ask friends, neighbors, even your landlord or property manager for a reputable, reliable and affordable moving company. Proactive planning is the first step to saving money. To get started, download a moving to-do list. This list of things to tackle makes it easy to see what needs to be done and may provide action items for things you haven’t even thought of -  like find a place for your pet to stay on moving day.

2. Pare Down your Belongings

Take advantage of the opportunity to toss or donate unnecessary items. Not only are these things expensive to move, they can add clutter to your space in your new home. Spend a few days before your move decluttering unused and unneeded items.  If they have some value, consider selling them either through an online marketplace, on social media or even through a flyer in the lobby of your building. The proceeds from the sale of these items will be like found money!  

Another avenue to declutter is to donate your furniture and clothing. Many non-profit groups welcome donations and they will even come to your place to pick them up. This is a win-win for you and them! If something can’t be sold or donated, and you don’t have a need or purpose for it, it’s time to dispose of it. Your new home should be a sanctuary not a dumping ground of junk. Don’t tote “stuff” from place to place. Throw out what you truly don’t want or need that can’t be donated or sold. With this strategy in place, the less you move, the less it costs!

3. Don’t Waste Money on Moving Supplies

If you venture to a home-improvement store or shipping store and purchase boxes, it’s an unfortunate way to increase your moving cost with little value in return. Call a local supermarket, home center, liquor or beer distributor or any type of retail store and inquire if you can “borrow” their boxes for your move. Most people happily oblige.   

You can also take advantage of your social media followers and friends to get free boxes. With the COVID-19 pandemic, so many neighbors and friends have been ordering deliveries. If you post a request on social media or send a quick text to your circle of friends that you are in need of moving boxes, most likely there will be a flood of people who can give you boxes for your move. They probably have dozens of boxes they will happily share.

4. Be Flexible When Choosing a Move Day

The time of year can affect the price you will pay a moving company. If possible, avoid the peak months of May through August which is when most people move before the start of the new school year. If the month can’t be flexible, steer clear of weekends, which are more costly. Consider a mid-week move. Even better, move in the middle of the month, when less people are moving. You may be in a better position to negotiate a better price based on demand. If you have to move on a weekend, call several companies and try to get the best price. 

5. Be Creative With your Transportation if you’re Doing a DIY Move

Instead of renting a costly truck or van, reach out to friends and family to see if someone can lend you a vehicle instead. Someone may have a truck, or a family member could lend you a van that you could use. You can even try bartering. If you’re in a service industry - a personal chef, a hairstylist or a fitness trainer, ask around if you can trade your talents for a free vehicle or even a referral for a cheaper price.

6. Enlist the Help of Friends

Plan a packing party on a weekend and invite your pals over to help you pack. Reminisce about the fun times you’ve had together, and make plans to have them over for dinner in your new home. Most friends realize that moves can be pricey and they can likely donate their time to help. Isn’t that what friends are for?  

The Bottom Line:

Planning your move can be less stressful and cost less with planning. Skip paying for moving supplies, and consider a mid-week and mid-month move to save on professional moving services. If you want to save even more money, enlist friends to help pack and ask around if there is a van or vehicle you can use. These tips can save you money which you can invest in furnishing your new home. Good luck with your move!

Erica Lamberg is a freelance business and personal finance writer. 

*Contributions are solely guest opinions and don’t reflect the opinions of or are endorsed by WYL, our staff, clients or other interested parties.