Moving Tips – Top 10 Simple Ways to Cut Costs on Moving Expenses

Ways to cut costs on moving

Moving from one home to another or into your next apartment is expensive. But, there are many moving tips that can help you save money on moving expenses.

I have come to find this out the hard way. For years, I have been blessed with an employer that covered all of my moving costs, but this time it is different. This time I am footing the bill by myself.

You may remember that I have been interviewing property managers to help me rent out my current home. So, without my employer helping with this move, I have to find ways to cut costs on moving expenses incurred. The good news is that there are a lot of ways to cut costs on your moving expenses.

Moving Tips to Cut Costs on Moving Expenses

Get Multiple Quotes

If you think that you will use a moving company, you need to get several quotes before you decide. Another one of the best moving tips is to get three quotes. Three quotes are a great number to give you a sense of how much your move will cost and whether or not you should simply do it yourself. While this may seem like a lot of quotes, you want to make sure that you get the best deal.

The more quotes that you have, the better feel that you will have for how much your move will cost and what company to use. You can also ask family members and friends for moving company references. The more information that you have, the better idea you will have of whether or not you are getting the best price.

One of the biggest benefits of getting quotes from several companies is that it will give you a better feel for the market rate.  It may turn out that your local moving company is charging less than some of these national companies, but they are still reliable so you can go with them. The more quotes that you get, the better feel you will have for what the going rates are and whether or not there is a company out there who can do it cheaper.

Pack Yourself

One way to save over half of the cost of a local move is to simply pack your own belongings instead of having the moving company do it. I was recently quoted over $1,500 in boxes and packing fees alone for my 30-mile local move for the approximate 8,000 pounds of household items and furniture I wanted to be moved.

  • Start the moving process early by sorting through things in order to determine what to keep, sell or donate.
  • Make moving day easier by moving heavy or awkward items first. This way you can unpack the lighter and bulky items last.
  • Pack heavy boxes first and label them accordingly so they are easily accessible during your move. Stack lighter boxes on top of heavier boxes. Label all boxes with contents and room location on move day to avoid moving items out of order.
  • You can purchase moving supplies at U-Haul or other moving stores. Moving supplies include moving boxes, tape guns, bubble cushioning wrap, moving labels and moving straps.

Bribe Your Friends

Another one of the best moving tips to save money on moving expenses is to recruit your friends to help you move. A few cases of beer, a pizza or two, and a little begging can go a long way to help you save money on labor.

When you are quoted thousands of dollars to have a three to four-person professional moving crew move your belongings, $100 in beer and pizza is a small price to pay to help find ways to cut costs on your moving expenses incurred. Even hiring your neighbor’s teenage son for the afternoon is twenty times cheaper than the moving crew.

And, give your friends that help you move the first chance to take anything that you originally planned to sell or donate. It’s a great way to get rid of even more things you don’t need or didn’t want to move.

You can even go as far as putting moving flyers on cars in your neighborhood (with permission) before moving day. They are very effective at helping you find some help to cut your moving expenses.  You can also try advertising your need for volunteers on Craigslist, but you should approach this with caution because there are more than a few dishonest people on there looking to take advantage of someone.

It is always best to find people you know and trust, if at all possible. Moving can be a very stressful time, and bringing one more person into it that you simply cannot count on, can make moving even more stressful.

Get Free Boxes

Boxes are one of the biggest expenses that you will encounter when you are moving. Buying boxes and the packing service were even more expensive on the quote I received from moving companies than the actual travel cost with their truck. There are a lot of places that you can get free boxes.

My mother used to go to the liquor store and raid their extras. Most stores also simply crush their boxes and are more than willing to give them to you instead if you ask. You can also find people giving away boxes that they have used in their moves on sites like FreeCycle.

I’m a huge fan of selling stuff on eBay and other sites. This is a great way to get rid of the extra stuff you have in your home and make a few extra dollars to help out with the move. I recently took the plunge and used Craigslist to sell some of our bigger items we didn’t want to move, and now I’m hooked on selling things on Craigslist. It is a great resource to help you downsize before the move.

Give Your Stuff Away

When I was growing up, my mother would always purge the excess items in our homes about once a quarter. She called a local charity that picked up donated items. It was great. We simply left the things we wanted to donate on the porch, and they were gone by the time we got home from school in the evening. I found a great free website, Donation Town, that helps you find charities in your area that will pick up donations from your home.

Pack Smartly

Don’t buy very much bubble wrap if you can help it. This is an expense that will quickly add up. You can save a lot of money by wrapping some of your breakables in your own towels or bed linens. You may also find newspapers or ask friends and family members to start saving their newspapers for you to use.

Another way to save money is to take apart furniture before moving it. If you can disassemble your furniture, you will help lessen moving costs. For example, if you have an armoire that is just wide open now, try taking the doors off or moving it without the top section. You may even want to remove any drawers that you don’t need moving with the rest of your items.

Wrapping dishes and other breakables in your towels or linens can help reduce moving costs. You may even want to remove drawers that you don’t need moving with the rest of your items.

Once again, moving is expensive enough without having to pay for excessive supplies. If you can purchase larger boxes than what you actually need, then do it. You may not think paying $4 for a box is very much, but it can add up very quickly. When moving, you need to make sure that everything is packed carefully and securely in order to prevent damage. But, you also want to pack efficiently as well.

Recycle moving boxes whenever possible and do not over-purchase moving supplies. If you can purchase larger boxes than what you actually need, then do it. The fewer moving boxes that you have, the more money that is saved moving.

Moving day can be one of the most stressful days in your life, but if you are well prepared for it then it may not be half as bad as you think.

Rent Your Own Moving Truck

If you are moving by yourself instead of hiring someone, it almost makes sense to simply renting your own U-Haul or moving truck instead of using a pickup truck. You can make fewer trips, save on gas, and save time.

Be Flexible

If you have to use a moving company, such as these movers in Toms River, and are not doing it yourself, you can save money on your move by being flexible on the dates that you want to be packed and moved. As you can guess, the weekends are the prime time families across America want to be moved.

Moving on a weekday when there is an opening in the moving company’s schedule will save you money. It’s one of my favorite moving tips that you can easily use to save money.

Update Your Home Inventory

Now that you are moving and most likely packing your boxes yourself, it is a good time to take a new inventory of the items you have in your home. If there is a loss, you will need your inventory and possibly pictures to help you prove what you had to your insurance company when you file a claim. Ensure that you do not let your renter’s insurance lapse during this time of transition as well.

Moving is expensive, but that does not mean that there are not ways to cut costs with moving tips. You can save a lot of money on your move by planning ahead and thinking outside of the box a little.

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Moving Tips - Ten Ways To Cut Costs On Moving Expenses

24 thoughts on “Moving Tips – Top 10 Simple Ways to Cut Costs on Moving Expenses”

  1. When I moved from Austin to Miami, I sold all furniture and gave away old clothes and cookwares, etc. I then shipped my boxes using UPS. We drove back to Miami our self. The whole moving was less than a $500. Very good points and I think I followed all of ’em.

    • I love the idea of mailing things to yourself. That’s a very creative way to move to say the least.

    • I wish that I had that option, Jai. Just not compatible with my career.

  2. WE moved last weekend, and spent about $80 on the u-haul truck, got boxes from work and packed everything ourselves, and used (borrowed?) our friends to help us move. We supplied pizza and beer (and i got the beer for free doing a grocery mystery shop). couldn’t get any cheaper…unless we had our own uhaul

    • No pickup trucks that you could have borrowed instead? I wonder how many times you would need to pimp out a u-haul truck that you owned yourself to your friends and neighbors who were moving for it to pay off in the long run? I see so many for sale now a days.

  3. Timely post for me. I am moving at the end of the month and have already done some of the stuff on this list. When you recruit friends to help with the move, just keep in mind that you are basically committing to helping all of those friends next time they have to move. If you won’t want to help them down the road, you might be better off paying the kid down the street or hiring some general laborers.

    • That’s a great point, Jeremy. I never thought about that. I remember my first job out of college….my boss MADE me help him move across town. Maybe I’ll go the general laborer route. How do I go about hiring a general laborer?

      • Your old boss sounds like a smart man exploiting the free labor. For general laborers there are various companies that contract them out in each city. Or you could risk it and try craigslist and hope you find someone you can trust. Some moving companies on there might reply if they have more workers than trucks.

  4. Those are all great tips, especially the ones related to getting rid of as much stuff as you can first. I’m a firm believer in moving ourselves whenever possible, just because I moved so much as a child and remember all the hassles of things being broken, etc. I’d rather at least know that I did it if something gets damaged!

  5. The downsizing tips are exceptionally useful. I’d emphasize that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. In general, live light. Most people are weighed down in life by tons of crap. The only thing I’m not sure I could safely fit into the back of a Ryder truck is my big screen. Last time I moved, it was 150km. Cost me $200 between the truck rental and gas, and it was for work so it’s deductible.

  6. This is a perfectly timed post Hank! One of my best friends is moving this weekend, so I told him about your tip of getting free boxes from liquor stores. He went there tonight and picked up a whole bunch, which saved him a ton of money from buying/paying the movers.

    Also, I am thinking of moving this Summer (after my lease is up) and these tips are a great reference. I’ve bookmarked this post, for later use as well. Thanks so much for sharing your experience and wisdom.

  7. half / ebay / craigslist have been great money makers for me in the last two weeks:

    $60 on books from
    $245 on eBay stuff. Will transfer that to checking soon to pay on bills
    $1200 on Craigslist. Just sold a Canon camera to a guy in Myrtle Beach today.

    Cash deposited this evening and $1260 payment to credit card on the way. This will get us out of debt at least a month sooner so we can start fully funding our emergency fund.

  8. We’re moving in a week, so I’m going through all your list carefully. Getting free boxes from Trader Joe’s and renting our own truck for sure.

  9. I spent about $500 on moving costs when my boyfriend and I moved from our apartment to our house – mostly for the moving company I used. Before that, I always bugged friends to help me move but this time, we had a lot more furniture. I’m so glad I used them – that’s one expense I’ll be willing to have again in the future! Definitely shop around though – and negotiate the price if possible.

  10. Thanks for these wondeful tips. I’m moving at the end of this month and was concerned about total expenses. I don’t own a car, so I was going to buy boxes, which is another added expense. But, I found new hope to sell somethings, use my towels and linens to wrap up breakables, and to cut corners overall. Thanks!

  11. I totally agree about getting any free boxes ready to use when you are in a moving status. It will make your budget more useful in other things.

  12. Movers will typically take full responsibility only for the goods they pack themselves. If you plan on containerizing some things on your own, make sure you understand what that may mean if something is accidentally broken or lost in transit.

  13. We have enlisted our friends to help move for free pizza and beer. That usually gets people to volunteer.

  14. Whether it’s a top floor in an apartment building or the basement of an old house, professional movers have the brain power to get everything safely out of your home and unto their truck.
    The professional movers have already thought about what would make the process easier and come prepared.
    Hire a moving company that deals specifically with companies to make sure you get the most bang for your buck.

  15. Don’t buy packing supplies. With the exception of tape, everything you need to pack can be retrieved for free if you do a little searching. For boxes, ask your friends, relatives, and employers or look for advertisements on Freecycle or Craigslist. Liquor stores and supermarkets also tend to have plenty of extra boxes on hand — just ask.

  16. I’m going to be moving soon, and I want to make sure I hire the best movers to help me. The problem is is that I’m having a really hard time finding some. This being said, I really appreciate you giving me some insight about how I can hire the right movers. I definitely think that if I were to have some help like this, that it’ll make moving a lot less stressful.


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