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Planning your Move on a Tight Budget

Updated on August 8, 2013

The entire process of moving can be intimidating, and even more so when you're on a tight budget. Here are some practical ways to help keep your costs down.

1. Boxes - don't pay for them!

There are several ways to find boxes for your next move. Perhaps your employer has a stash available, or can save them for you. Quite often you can get boxes from a local store that would normally recycle them. People will also put notices on Craigslist, or you can post a request. Use social networking to ask local friends and relatives if they have boxes available. Laundry baskets, suitcases and other large containers can take the place of some boxes.

2. Rent and drive your own truck.

It's much cheaper than hiring a moving company, and the trucks are easier to drive than you might think. It is helpful to check prices of several companies online or by calling local truck rental agencies. Prices can vary quite a bit. Also ask about mileage costs, fueling requirements and return policies.

3. Recruit family and friends to help (but make it worth their time)!

This is the best way to help save moving costs. The more people you have helping, the quicker it goes, and it it less of a burden on everyone. It is thoughtful to plan ahead and have a meal for everyone to thank them for helping. Pizza is usually a good option. At the very least provide snacks and plenty to drink, especially if you are moving on a warm day. If you have some really heavy items to move, or you can't recruit enough help, then try Moving Help (see link below) for some extra manpower. It is still significantly less money than hiring a moving company.

4. Save on Packing Materials.

Newspapers are a bit more difficult to come by these days, but if you plan ahead or ask friends, you can still save enough for packing. A package of cheap paper towels can work nicely if you can't come up with newspapers. No need to buy expensive bubble wrap or dish boxes from the rental agency. Layer framed pictures between dish or hand towels. Larger frames can be wrapped or layered between bath and beach towels. Buy one good quality packing tape dispenser with handle and a few replacement rolls of tape. You'll be ready to pack.

5. Miscellaneous Tips to help save more money:

  • Before your move, have a garage sale or sell items on Craigslist to help fund your moving costs.
  • Make some freezer meals ahead of time, so you don't have to eat out as much during the moving process.
  • Arrange utility and service transfers ahead of your move to avoid overlapping charges.

With careful planning and creativity, it is possible to save hundreds of dollars by moving yourself, rather than hiring a full-service moving company.

Do you have any additional suggestions to save money on moving? Please comment below.

What method do you plan to use for your next move?

See results

© 2013 Karen Fritzemeier


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