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How To Save on the Cost of a Move Without Doing Everything Yourself

For local or long-distance moves, here are some ways to save money when moving. These tips can help keep you on budget.

March 11, 2022

Moving to a new home can be an exciting prospect, but it can also be an expensive one. The average cost of a local move is about $1,400, while a long-distance move can cost between $2,200 and $5,700 on average. 

With a bit of advance planning, you can keep your moving costs low — and you won’t have to do everything yourself. Here’s a look at a few key ways to save money when moving. 

Move during off-peak times

There are certain times of the year or even days of the week when you’ll be charged more by a moving company. If you can avoid these peak times, you may be able to save a little bit of money. 

If you’re wondering when to book movers, remember that traditionally, the summer months are the busiest moving times. If possible, plan to move between October and March. You’ll want to plan around the holidays if you’re hoping to move in the winter. 

Certain parts of the month are also in higher demand. Unsurprisingly, the end of the month and the first few days of the month are busy times as leases are ending and tenants are moving into new places. For the same reason, the 15th of each month can also be a popular day to move. 

The day of the week you choose to move can also make a big difference. Weekdays tend to be cheaper than weekends — Mondays, Tuesday and Wednesdays usually have the highest availability and the lowest cost. 

Downsize ahead of time 

If you’re not planning on moving yourself, one of your biggest expenses can be the hourly fees to hire movers. Moving fees will vary depending on where you live and where you’re moving, but on average, movers could cost approximately $60 to $80 per hour

Cut back on the amount of time you need them by reducing the amount of stuff that you’ll need them to move. Sell or donate possessions that you don’t need or that can be easily replaced if you find you miss them in the future. 

If you sell your unneeded items online or at a yard sale, not only will you be saving money by getting rid of them, but you’ll be making a little extra cash that can help offset the cost of the move. 

Find used supplies 

It’s easy and convenient to buy packing supplies — including boxes and packing tape — from your moving company, but try to avoid doing so, as this can be the most costly option. 

In fact, the price of moving supplies can add up quickly. Consider that a two-bedroom home could require about $178 worth of boxes alone. 

Hit up friends, family members and local online groups to see if anyone has moving boxes, old packing blankets, bubble wrap and any other moving supplies you could use. Start collecting newspapers to pad fragile items, and think about wrapping items in old blankets or towels. 

If you have to buy new, hunt around for deals. Look for sales at office supply stores and buy in bulk when you can. 

Do your own packing

The actual packing of your items can be the most time-consuming part of a move — and often the most expensive. Packing services for a long-distance move can cost as much as $4,000

While you may be able to hire movers to do your packing for you, doing it yourself will save a lot of money. However, once you’ve got everything put in boxes and labeled, it might be worthwhile to let the professionals take over to load and unload the boxes and large items. 

Consider shipping 

If you’re moving a long distance, but you don’t have a lot of household goods, you may want to look into shipping your belongings via the United States Postal Service (USPS), UPS or FedEx. 

For example, a college student moving in or out of a dorm room might have a lot of clothes and books but no bulky furniture that would require a truck. In that case, shipping through a mail service might make sense. And remember that the USPS offers media mail services that make it much cheaper to send books. 

Get a moving container 

A moving container is usually a cheaper way to move than using a full-service mover. 

The process is simple: A moving container company will drop a container in your driveway, and you can fill it at your convenience. When you’re done, contact the company and they will pick up the container and move it to your new home. Once it’s there, you can unload it at your own pace. 

Though you’ll have to do all your packing, loading and unloading yourself, you won’t have to worry about driving your belongings anywhere. 

The price of a moving container will depend on how big it is and how long you need it. In general, you may be able to save as much as $2,000 on a long-distance move using this method. 

Shop around and ask for deals 

There are likely a number of moving company options in your area, and they all want your business. Compare them to see which one offers the best deal. Some companies provide a moving calculator on their website to help estimate the cost of moving with them. Otherwise, call or email them for a quote. 

Remember that quality service is important as well, so read online reviews to see what other customers have experienced. Going with the cheapest moving company may not be worth it if they end up damaging your things. 

You might also try negotiating with moving companies. They may be willing to cut you a deal, though you may need to compromise a bit in the process — like changing the day of your move. 

Enlist your friends

When moving days rolls around, lean on friends and family to lend a hand. A group of friends will mean you can avoid hiring movers hourly or at least reduce the hours you need the movers. You may have to bribe your friends with food and drinks, but if you get enough help, the moving process may actually be quicker. 

For a local move, see if anyone you know has a van or truck you could borrow to move your boxes and furniture. That way you won’t have to rent one yourself.

Ask if your employer will help

If you’re considering moving for a new job, it’s important to ask the company if they offer any relocation reimbursement before you accept the position. That way you can calculate your moving costs and see if the move and new job make financial sense for you.

If you need to move for your current job, your company may have a moving policy in place that can help cover some or all of your moving expenses. Contact your company’s Human Resources Department to find out what their policy is. 

Some companies reimburse employees for moving services, insurance and transportation. In certain cases, they’ll require you to submit receipts before they reimburse you, while in other cases you may get an upfront lump-sum amount. 

Plan ahead

Moving can be pricey, and the last thing you want to do is run up a bunch of debt as you transition to your new home. Luckily, staying on budget doesn’t mean you have to do everything yourself. Using these ways to save money when you move can help you keep costs and stress levels low.

Looking for more ways to save? Check out Tally’s blog for tips on everything from paying down debt to planning your financial future.