How to Save Money When Moving

How to Save Money When Moving
Written by Irina Vasilescu

There are many reasons why individuals or entire families find the need to move. If you’re an elderly couple who used to have a huge house which is now almost empty because all the kids moved out, it makes perfect sense for you to downgrade your home. If either the mom or the dad has to transfer to a different state for job-related reasons, the entire family usually has to move.

Couples who used to live in a small apartment and now has an additional family member on the way would also want to move to a bigger house. No matter what the reason is behind the move, the costs of everything from packing to the move itself can really add up.

To make sure that you are not spending any more than you have to on moving-related expenses, it pays to have a plan and know how you can save money when going through a move.

Quick Facts About Moving

Before dishing out tips on how you can save money when moving, let’s learn more about it first. Here are a few interesting facts about moving:

  • The average cost of professional moving services is $12,459. This is based on a Worldwide ERC report published in 2012. The association tracks mobility costs and the figure is applicable for professional moves where the company handles everything – from packing to moving and unpacking.
  • According to the Census Bureau, around 16.7 million households move on an annual basis.
  • Although there are families who go through a move year-round, the most popular time to transfer residences is during summer. This is when kids are out of school, so their classes will not be interrupted during the move.

Ways to Save Money When Moving

If you are moving to cut back on your expenses in the first place, you naturally would not want to spend so much on the move. Even if you saved up for the move, there’s no reason for you to spend any more than you have to. So what are the ways that you can save money when planning for and going through a move? Take a look at the following list:

Plan the move in advance

According to the Better Business Bureau, the best timeframe to plan a move is six to eight weeks in advance. Perhaps the only exception is when you are given short notice at work and you only have a couple of weeks to move. Even then, being organized and planning the move in advance will save you hundreds – if not thousands of dollars – on moving-related expenses.

What happens when you don’t plan a move is that you would have to bring all your stuff to your next address. What if there are dozens of boxes there that you could have gotten rid of? You’d end up spending money per unit weight on items that you will most probably not use, or even throw away once you have settled into your new address.

In addition to organizing the things that need to be packed, you also need to plan in advance for cutting off the utilities, your subscriptions, etc. There’s no need for you to pay one extra month on these services when you should have cut them off prior to your move date.

The minute that you finalize the date of your move, call your utility service providers and other companies where you have subscriptions to. Tell them about the move, and ask them how many months’ worth of notice they need in order to cut off the service at your old address.

In the same vein, you also have to plan when you are turning on the utility services at the new address. If you’re moving into a new home which was freshly built from the ground up, you will most probably not have any problems in activating the utility services.

But if you are moving into an already existing house, you do need to check when you can have the utilities turned on so that it will be ready for occupancy by the time that all your boxes have been moved.

Don’t move so much stuff in the first place

As mentioned earlier, the number one thing which makes most moves ultra-expensive is having to lug years’ worth of personal knickknacks. If you want to save money during the move, do not bring so much stuff in the first place! What can you do to achieve this? First, bring out all your belongings in the open. Have an inventory of which items can be sold, given away or donated to charity.

If you have plenty of time prior to the move, you can even hold a garage sale and sell as much stuff as possible to make money out of it. A good rule of thumb to follow when deciding which clothes to bring, for example, is that if you have not worn the garment for the past year, you will most probably not wear it ever again. If there are unopened gift boxes or unused clothes with the price tags still on, consider selling them as well.

Any item left from the garage sale can be brought to charitable institutions. Again, only bring your most prized possession and enough items to make you settled at your new address. Any other knickknacks or stuff that you have not been using are best left sold or donated to charity.

Make an inventory of your most prized possessions

The trickiest part of planning a move is wrapping your most prized possessions. Let’s say that you have a vault in the house where you keep all your precious and semi-precious jewelries. Prior to the move, you can keep these on a bank vault and only take them out again once you are settled into your new home.

Other valuables include big ticket appliances; expensive paintings, vases or art pieces; and precious family photos which have more of a sentimental than a monetary value.

Be resourceful when it comes to putting together your packing materials

After organizing your things, you need to make sure that you have a generous supply of packing materials. However, there’s no need for you to go crazy when buying packing supplies, either.

If you need cardboard boxes, check out the local recycling center in your area. They would have tons of carton boxes which they should be more than willing to give away for free, especially for those who are planning a move.

Rather than spend a fortune on bubble wrap and other packing materials, use towels and beddings to wrap fragile items. Also use newspapers from the recycling bin. If you know a friend or a colleague who just recently moved, ask them for the cartons and other materials that they used during the move. This will save you a lot of money in the long run.

Get in touch with the right moving company

When moving, it is very important to find the right removals or moving company to help you out. But just because you’re hiring a pro does not mean that you should spend an arm and a leg for the service.

To make sure that you are getting the best rates, make a comparison of the prices offered by different removals companies. Check out the Terms and Conditions before signing anything.

You can take your pick from professional movers who can handle small to mid-scale moves; moving companies who handle medium to large moves; or man-and-van rental agreements.

For man-and-van arrangements, you can make use of the truck but there is only one man in addition to the driver who will facilitate the move. If you have a lot of stuff to transport, it will take longer for the move process to finish.

Organize a moving party!

If you’re moving a few blocks away or anywhere near your current home, organize a moving party. Have friends and colleagues come over to help you pack and move your things. Of course, you need to provide food and drinks, but the best part is that you can get the help needed without having to pay extra for the professional service.

You should also make sure that your vehicle or a friend’s SUV or pick-up truck can carry the brunt of the load.

Consider mailing your other stuff to the new address

If you have plenty of books, consider mailing them via UPS to your new address. This will save you lots of money and time packing in the long run.

Other tips for saving money during a move

It would also help if you will keep a record of all your moving expenses so that you can deduct them from your federal income taxes later on. If you must move big ticket items like large furniture pieces, make sure that they are a good fit through the doorway of your new house – otherwise you will just be wasting money on moving expenses.

Finally, make sure that there’s an insurance clause in your moving contract about what will happen in case something gets broken or damaged during a move.

By following these tips, you can save lots of money when moving and have a good start on life at your new address.

About the author

Irina Vasilescu

Irina Vasilescu is our crafty designer. She joined the team three years ago and is also involved in the writing process.


  • Not taking so much stuff with you is definitely what I would consider the most important piece of advice in this article. It always amazes me how much stuff one can accumulate without even really noticing. The last time I moved, I was very overwhelmed by the sheer amount of it all. I decided to donate a good portion of things and I sold the rest. It was very liberating and it helped me move into my new home with a clean slate.

  • I agree, Bright7. I always generate several large bags of stuff for both GoodWill and the dumpster. It always kind of amazes me how much stuff I have laying around that I am never going to use.

    When we were in college, we used to just rent the truck and handle all of the actual moving ourselves with the help of friends. Our last couple of moves have been farther, and we’ve had friends on the starting end to help load, but we’ve hired people to help unload at the destination. I think our next move we will likely hire one company to load, drive, and unload. I can’t really imagine having someone pack for me.

    I have a question on using UPS to mail items like books. How does that save time or money? I would think packing would take about the same amount of time, and shipping can be expensive for heavy items like books. It’s not an option I’ve really considered before, so maybe I’m wrong, but it’s counter-intuitive to me.

  • Moving is very pricey so these tips will definitely come in handy. Always take the time to compare prices when it comes to movers. You will get lots of different rates and packages from each company. Some companies also do it by weight or number of boxes vs. rooms. Some charge by distance and others don’t. It can be confusing but picking the right one can really save you big portion of moving expenses.

  • It’s always a hassle to move. I once made the mistake of getting an apartment closer to my work and just making the move all in one piece and completely made a wreck of my whole month. I wasn’t ready for anything and I had to spend a lot of money trying to just settle in so if you’re planning on moving take these advice and especially do some advanced planning.

  • Unfortunately I have moved a lot in my life and I know all too well what a huge expense relocating can be – especially if it is over a long distance. Thanks for the tips.

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