You're moving! It's exciting, it's an adventure, it's anxiety-inducing… Moving can be expensive, whether you're heading down the road a bit or halfway across the country. But there are ways you can keep the costs down and lower your stress levels. Here are a few budget-friendly tips to keep from blowing your budget on expensive packing materials, unreliable movers, and hidden costs:
First Things First: Make a To-Do List!
It probably feels like you have a million things to do before you start packing. But the best way to beat the pre-move panic is to plan ahead. Make a to-do list with every single thing you need to do before the move. Make a packing list by walking from room to room and paying attention to everything you own.
Taking an inventory of what you own can also help you decide what you're ready to part with. Now's the time to ditch any unused or unwanted clothing, furniture, kitchen gadgets, or bedding. You can reduce the total cost of your move by simply having less stuff to pack and transport.
Scrounge Up Your Own Packing Supplies
It's time to start asking around for boxes and newspapers. Resist the urge to take the easy way out by buying boxes, tape, or fillers from moving companies – the cost is much higher than necessary.
Start asking the places you shop for boxes. Grocery stores, liquor stores, and big-box stores often having stacks of boxes heading for the dumpster. Ask nicely, and you'll be surprised at how many workers are willing to hand out as many as you can carry.
You should save any boxes or packaging bubbles from online orders you get from here on out. Reuse everything to cut down on moving costs significantly.
To Hire Movers or Do It Yourself?
You will need to decide early on whether you're going to hire professionals or enlist your friends to help you move. Figuring this out will help you budget, as there are many factors that go into your overall moving costs.
Renting a moving truck is a lot less expensive than hiring professional movers. The downside is, you're paying for every hour you use the truck, and you have to do all the manual labor yourself.
Depending on how far you're moving, renting a truck will cost between $150 for a local move to $1,600 for a longer distance, according to these moving experts.
Compare that to hiring professionals' cost: According to Move.com, the average cost of a local move is $1,250. Long-distance moves increase that amount considerably – up to $4,890. Depending on how far you're moving, it might make more financial sense to pack up a truck and drive it yourself.
Be Careful About Who You Hire
Always get multiple estimates when considering hiring a professional moving company. Plan to get at least three estimates before making the decision. Be sure the company is licensed and insured and has positive customer ratings. You're trusting this company with all your belongings, so you really don't want to skip this step.
And – this might go without saying – always read the contract carefully before signing. Make sure you fully understand the timeline, the final cost, and the terms of the company's insurance.
Avoiding Extra Charges When Hiring Movers
You can also save money with professional movers by avoiding peak charges. Rates for moving companies change based on the season and even day of the week. As you can imagine, more people move when it's nicer out (the summer) and when it's more convenient (the weekend). Try to plan for a move in the fall or spring on a weekday for the best possible rates.
Moving can be a pain, but it's also exciting. Don't let stress about money or time weigh you down during this time. Instead, start planning well in advance and make careful decisions about what you do yourself and who you hire. You'll be able to stretch your budget further and make the Big Day of Moving a whole lot easier for everyone.