How to Save Money on Your Move

There’s no sugarcoating it. Moving is stressful. In fact, regardless of whether you move cross-country or across town, uprooting your home ranks right up there with death and divorce as one of life’s most stressful events, according to HealthStatus.

As if this isn’t bad enough, moving is also expensive. According to HomeAdvisor and industry estimates, a local move can cost about $800 to $2,000, while a long distance move can cost upwards of $5,000. Before you let this sticker shock send you into high anxiety, take a look at 8 ways to save money on your move.

  1. Clear out your clutter

Although this can be a tedious task, paring down your stuff means you’ll be left with things that bring you happiness rather than weigh you down. Besides boosting your spirits, decluttering means you’ll have less to move and this can lower your relocation costs. The best way to tackle this often massive project is to begin as soon as you know you’re going to move. Start by organizing the contents of each room into three piles: throw out, donate and sell. Although parting with your stuff can be hard, purging can make you feel accomplished, according to Moving Insider.

  1. Sell your stuff

After lightening your load, it’s time to raise cash for your upcoming move by selling the items in your “sell” pile. You can do this by having a weekend yard sale or selling your stuff on Craigslist and apps like Close5, OfferUp or LetGo. When I moved last year, I simply didn’t have the bandwidth for a yard sale so I took pictures of everything from furniture to appliances to sporting equipment and posted it all on Craigslist and various apps. I managed to raise more than $1,500 and this helped pay for my moving costs. One woman’s trash is indeed another’s treasure.

  1. Donate your stuff

Now it’s time to donate the stuff that you don’t plan to sell or take with you. If possible, schedule curbside pickup through a charitable organization. Although you can research local charities in your area, I donated to the national non-profits Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, The Epilepsy Foundation and Vietnam Veterans of America. In addition to helping those in need, your good deeds may save you money if you can deduct donated clothes, furnishings and household appliances on your tax return. Just remember to ask for receipts as you may need these when preparing your taxes.

  1. Get free packing materials

The sooner you start collecting packing supplies, the less stressful the packing process will be. Plus, you’ll save yourself an angst-ridden trip to Home Depot to buy boxes the night before you move. For starters, start saving and collecting newspapers. You can use old newspapers to pad out your boxes instead of purchasing bubble wrap and packing peanuts. Speaking of boxes, try to score some at local stores or off a friend who recently moved. I posted an “in search of” message on Facebook and someone I know who works at a local retailer gave me brand new boxes for free. If you can’t find enough free boxes, you can also buy some at Here’s another tip: After you move, you can recoup your money by selling your boxes on a buying and selling app.

  1. Pack and move yourself

If you’re moving locally, you can save yourself big bucks by packing up yourself, renting a truck, and driving your haul to your new digs. For example, renting a U-Haul for a day in the Boston area ranges from $105 to $150. This includes basic insurance but doesn’t include any moving supplies or gas. On the other hand, hiring a moving company for an average in-town move in Boston will run you close to $1,200. If you plan to take the DIY route and you need some extra manpower, try enlisting your friends to help you pack and move.

  1. Shop around for a mover

Sometimes handling your own move just isn’t feasible. If you have to hire a professional moving company, start by getting at least three quotes. When I moved, my quotes varied from $1,200 to $2,700. Although the cheapest moving company isn’t always the best choice, I went with the lowest option as the mover came highly recommended. If you don’t know anyone who recently moved, try reading online reviews and getting referrals from local realtors. It’s also important to choose a licensed moving company that carries insurance. Another tip: Try to schedule your move on a weekday and not on a weekend or holiday. Movers tend to jack up the prices on busy holiday weekends like Memorial Day and Labor Day.

  1. Save your moving receipts

If you’re relocating for work, make sure you keep all moving receipts. Under some circumstances, the IRS allows you to deduct moving expenses if you start a new job.

  1. Reduce your bills

With a little advance preparation, your move can actually help lower your cable, wireless, utility and other bills at your new house. All you have to do is call service providers in your new neighborhood and ask for the best new customer rates. If your current accounts are in your name, you can often get an even lower new customer rate by opening up accounts in another name at your new address. For example, if you live with your spouse, consider putting bills in his or her name instead of yours. Trust me, it’s worth it to make these calls. In my case, I reduced my cable and wireless bill by $80 a month in my new house just by opening up a customer account in my husband’s name.

It’s Your Move

Moving is stressful enough without worrying about money. Yet, by following these tips, relocating doesn’t have to bust your bank. With a little financial planning and preparation, you may even end up with extra cash to throw a budget-friendly housewarming party when you move in. Now that’s what I call a smart move.

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