Top 10 Ways to Cut Moving Costs

If you're moving into a new home, your pockets probably feel pretty empty right now. You've just paid a down payment, closing costs and broker fees, so the last thing you want is an expensive move. Lucky for you, we've got tips to help you pack up and ship out on a budget.


Homeowner moves boxes up a loading ramp to a moving truck using a dolly. Here are tips on how to pack to get your stuff moved safely and effectively.

  1. If you don't need it, don't pay to move it. 
    Movers base their prices on what you're shipping, so cutting down on clutter will simplify your life and lighten up the load in the moving truck. We're talking to you, the owner of the treadmill-turned-drying-rack. You can sell what you don't need or donate it to charity.

  2. If possible, schedule your relocation after peak moving season.
    Most people choose to move in the summer months, when the kids are out of school. The least expensive time of the year to move is between October and April, so if it's possible to postpone your move, you could save some money.

  3. Get at least three in-home estimates.
    If you're hiring a professional mover to do the heavy lifting and packing, prices can vary widely between companies. To make sure you're getting the best deal possible, get at least three estimates.

  4. Don’t get scammed by a rogue mover.
    You'll be loading up all your worldly possessions and putting them on a truck with a few workers you barely know. Protect yourself! Look for red flags and get recommendations from friends and neighbors to avoid getting scammed.

  5. Use what you have for packing, and then buy your own supplies.
    Moving companies often charge hefty fees for packing supplies. Save money by filling up containers you already have, like suitcases or plastic bins. Use sheets and linens to wrap items. Buy the packing materials you still need from a recycled box company, or get them free from a local business.

  6. Ask questions to unearth hidden moving costs.
    Even legitimate movers might not spill all the costs unless you ask. To get an accurate picture of your total, ask if they'll charge for heavy items, repacking, stairs or waiting.

  7. Get portable storage and delivery.
    Companies like PODS and 1-800-PACKRAT will deliver a storage unit to your door. You'll save money packing it yourself, and they'll pick it up and deliver it to your new digs.

  8. Rent a truck for a totally DIY move. 
    Renting a truck and doing it yourself is the most cost-effective way to move. Enlist your friends and family for packing, and read the fine print for mileage allowances and fuel surcharges.

  9. Get moving insurance. 
    Even the best movers have one potential pitfall: They're human. If you do wind up with a lost or damaged item, you'll likely need more than the measly 60-cent-per-pound coverage that comes free to replace it.

  10. Deduct your moving expenses from your taxes. 
    Don't forget to save those receipts -- you can also save money after the big move! If you relocated for a new full-time job at least 50 miles away from your previous home, you can deduct the cost of packing, transporting or storing your household goods from next year's tax return.
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