Whether you’re moving cross-country or just across town, save big bucks with these tips.

3 minute read

Moving may have been a bungee snap when you were young and could move all your possessions in a couple carloads with the help of a borrowed pickup truck. However, now you’ve accumulated a houseful of stuff, and moving isn’t as simple. And it’s not cheap, either.

Moving companies are expensive, and even if you rent a truck and do it yourself, incidental costs for fuel, moving supplies and food for friends lending a hand add up. But what if you could cut moving costs? Find out seven ways to save money when moving.

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1. Score free moving supplies

Don’t buy moving boxes, tape, packing peanuts or other moving supplies before checking online to see if you can get them free. Look on Craigslist and other online marketplaces for people looking to repurpose boxes and moving supplies from a recent relocation.

You can also get free boxes from retail or grocery stores. Liquor store boxes are especially good for moving books and other heavy items.

2. Compare moving companies

As with any profession, rates are all over the place with moving companies. However, while it’s tempting to choose the lowest bidder, don’t base your selection on price alone. Call at least three or four movers for rates and then vet them further before making a choice.

Search the Better Business Bureau for ratings and complaints, along with Yelp and other online review sites. Make sure you understand exactly which services are included – or not included – for the rate.

3. Negotiate with movers

Don’t simply assume that moving company rates have no wiggle room. What have you got to lose by trying to negotiate a lower moving fee?

If one moving company offers you a lower rate, ask another mover you prefer to match or beat it. If a mover’s rate is more than you can afford, ask about ways you can lower the rate such as doing your own packing or disassembling and reassembling furniture yourself.

4. Pick the right time to move

Ask the moving company if the price is lower during the week, since some moving companies charge more to move on a weekend. Even the time of year you move can make a difference.

Summer months are busiest for movers, since many families choose to move while the kids are out of school. Do your research before contacting moving companies, and if you can, choose a day or month when costs are lower.

5. Price a moving container

You’ve seen those big metal moving containers parked in someone’s driveway for a few days while the residents load them up for a move. Depending on your situation, you may find the moving container option less expensive than hiring a moving company or renting a truck, especially if you’re moving a long distance.

If the cost seems high, factor in money you may save on gas and other long-distance moving costs. Just like with moving companies, make sure you shop around for a good rate and good reviews.

Find out: 5 Things to Consider Before Moving Out of State

6. Have a sale

When you host a garage or yard sale, you not only lighten your moving load (and cost) but also earn cash to pay toward moving expenses. If you start early enough, you can even get a jump on selling stuff online so there’s less to drag outside for your big sale.

Find out: 10 Tips for Selling Out at Your Garage Sale

7. Go the DIY route

It’s a lot more work to move, but the savings can’t be beaten. A DIY move isn’t for everyone, but it can’t hurt to compare the cost of DIY versus professional movers to see how much you can save. With a long-distance DIY move, don’t forget to include the cost of meals, hotels, gas and one-way truck rental fees.

You can also shoot for a hybrid version, doing your own packing instead of paying movers to pack or renting a truck but paying a moving crew to load and unload it.

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About the Author

Deb Hipp

Deb Hipp

Deb Hipp is a full-time freelance writer based in Kansas City, Mo. Deb went from being unable to get approved for a credit card or loan 20 years ago to having excellent credit today and becoming a homeowner. Deb learned her lessons about money the hard way. Now she wants to share them to help you pay down debt, fix your credit and quit being broke all the time. Deb's personal finance and credit articles have been published at Credit Karma and The Huffington Post.

Published by Debt.com, LLC