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How To Save Money When Moving (2024 Guide)

Default Author Icon Written by Shane Sentelle + 1 other Reviewer Icon Reviewed by Kent Sisneros Updated 04/18/2024

Moving can put a strain on your finances. However, there are ways to save money when moving. Whether you’re on a tight budget or simply have better things to spend your money on, our money-saving moving tips and tricks will help. From packing efficiently to negotiating with moving companies, we’ll help you navigate the process while keeping your wallet in mind.


Plan Ahead

Planning ahead may be the most important thing you can do to save money on your move. Here are some steps you can take during the planning stage to ensure a frugal move:

  • Compare moving quotes: Research local or long-distance moving companies, depending on your move distance. Think through what services you need and gather estimates from multiple companies to find the most affordable option.
  • Time your move strategically: Most people move during summer, and the higher demand translates into higher prices. To save money, consider moving during the off-peak season between Labor Day and Memorial Day. You can also score lower rates if you move on a weekday instead of over the weekend.
  • Create a moving checklist: Make a comprehensive list of tasks you need to accomplish before, during, and immediately after your move. This will help you stay organized and avoid oversights and last-minute expenses.
  • Set a realistic budget: Research all of the costs associated with moving and use the information you gather to create a realistic moving budget. Be sure to include packing supplies, travel costs, and moving insurance in your budget.
  • Start saving early: As soon as you know you’ll be moving, start setting aside money to cover your moving expenses.
  • Research moving insurance: Whether you decide to hire a professional moving company or rent a truck, you will want to ensure that your belongings are protected against loss, theft, and damage.
Under federal law, interstate moving companies must offer complimentary released-value protection and at least one full-value protection plan. However, it’s worth gathering moving insurance quotes from third-party companies, too.

Sell or Donate Unwanted Belongings

Regardless of how or when you move, getting rid of belongings you no longer need or want will help you cut costs. Interstate moving companies base their rates on the size and weight of your belongings, so less stuff translates to lower prices. It will also reduce the time and effort required to load and unload, which is important if you are paying local movers an hourly rate. DIY movers who declutter, meanwhile, will be able to rent a smaller, less expensive truck.

Donating your old things is always an option, but selling what you can will help you earn extra money for your move. Go through your closets to purge your wardrobe of ill-fitting, unworn, or out-of-style items. Declutter your garage and other storage areas. Get rid of furniture that will not fit in your new home and kitchen gadgets you rarely use. Then, host a yard sale or garage sale, post on Craigslist or another online marketplace, or sell gently used items to a consignment store.


Pack Smart

Clever packing can save you money and reduce the risk of damage during the move. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

Visit grocery stores and other local businesses to see if they have any spare cardboard boxes you can use. Ask friends and family members to save boxes for you in the weeks leading up to your move, and browse online marketplaces for people looking to sell or give away used moving boxes.

Instead of buying lots of bubble wrap and packing paper, use things you already have as packing materials. Be creative. Use linens, clothing, and old newspapers to wrap fragile items. Fill empty space with pillows and stuffed animals instead of packing peanuts. Use socks to protect glasses and cups.

Pack a separate box, bag, or suitcase with essential items that you will need immediately upon arrival at your new home. This will save you from having to purchase new toiletries or everyday items.

Look for ways to minimize the moving supplies you need. Save space by packing smaller items inside larger ones. Use vacuum-sealed bags for clothing and bedding to minimize the space they occupy. Distribute weight evenly in boxes to avoid overloading and potential breakages.


Consider Low-Cost Moving Options

Before booking a full-service moving company, explore affordable alternatives, such as the following:

  • Rent a moving truck: If you are comfortable driving large vehicles, renting a truck or van can be a cost-effective solution. Compare prices from multiple providers, such as U-Haul and Penske, to secure the best rate. Book early to ensure availability.
  • Borrow a friend’s truck: For a short-distance move within the same city or county, consider borrowing a friend’s truck or van. You will have to make multiple trips, but it will save you the cost of a truck rental.
  • Enlist friends and family: Instead of hiring movers, ask friends and family for help with packing, loading, and unloading. This will save you money on labor costs. After the work is done, show your appreciation by hosting a barbecue or treating everyone to dinner and drinks.
  • Rent a portable moving container: If you don’t mind packing and loading but would rather not handle the transportation, consider renting a portable storage container or moving trailer. Companies such as PODS, U-Pack, and 1-800-PACK-RAT will drop off a container for you to fill at your own pace, then pick it up and deliver it to your new home.
  • Use a shipping service: For long-distance moves, compare the cost of traditional moving companies with freight forwarders and other shipping services. Look for companies that specialize in moving household goods.

Research Discounts

When researching moving companies, inquire about potential discounts. Many companies offer special rates for veterans, seniors, and differently-abled customers. You may also be able to score a discount for booking in advance or booking online. Promotional rates and coupon codes may be available for short-distance or off-season moves, too.


Negotiate With Movers

If you decide to hire professional movers, don’t be afraid to negotiate prices. Ask if the company has any ongoing promotions or special options that can help reduce costs. Gather quotes from multiple providers and take the lowest quote to competitors to see if they can match or beat that price.

QUICK Tip
If your moving date is flexible, discuss the possibility of adjusting the timing for a better rate. Some companies also offer financing plans to make moving more affordable.

Our Conclusion

By planning ahead and being resourceful, you can significantly reduce your moving expenses. Spend time researching affordable moving options, creating a realistic budget, comparing quotes, and looking for discounts. You can also save money on your move by decluttering beforehand, selling unwanted items, and packing efficiently. Don’t be afraid to negotiate with the movers and your employer to reduce your out-of-pocket costs. 

Following these tips will help you save money without sacrificing your peace of mind, allowing you to focus on settling into your new home.

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FAQ About How To Save Money When Moving

How much money should you save before moving?

How much money you should save before moving depends on several factors, including the distance of your move, the size of your household, and the cost of living in your new location. The average cost of a local move ranges from $880–$2,550, while a long-distance move may cost from $2,700–$10,000 or more. You should save more than you expect your move to cost, just in case.

Is it worth moving homes to save money?

It may be worth moving home to save money. However, you should consider several factors before making your decision, such as the following:

  • Cost of living
  • Expected sale proceeds
  • Job opportunities
  • Long-term goals
  • One-time moving expenses
  • Rent or mortgage payments

What should I do if I can’t afford to move?

There are options if you can’t afford to move. You should either postpone your move while you save up money or apply for relocation assistance from your employer, a nonprofit, or a government program.

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