Did you know the average cost of moving within the United States is almost $13,000?
That's right. Moving isn't cheap. And the hefty costs associated with moving can place a lot of extra stress on a situation that's already difficult.
Why make things harder on yourself by spending too much money?
Whether you're moving across town or halfway around the world, the costs involved in packing up your life and transferring your belongings add up. Yes, there are some costs you can't avoid, such as renting a truck or shipping charges if you are moving overseas, but a lot of people don't realize there are some tried-and-true ways they can cut down their moving expenses. All it takes is a little bit of advance planning, and some creativity, too.
1. Create a Moving Budget
This one comes first on the list because it's the most important. Why? If you don't know what you can afford to spend on your move, you run the risk of overextending yourself and finding yourself up to your eyeballs in bills you may not be able to pay. The last thing you want to think about when you're settling into a new home is how to pay your movers.
To create a moving budget, you need to ask yourself a few questions:
- Am I financially responsible for 100 percent of my moving-related expenses? If the answer is "no" because your employer is footing some of the bill, make sure you know exactly what they will cover and what you will be expected to cover on your own.
- Will I need to hire a moving company? Some people can load and drive their moving truck themselves, so they can get away with a rental truck and a few friends to help. Other people may need the help of a professional moving company to get the job done.
- How big is the household I plan to move? To give you accurate estimates, most moving companies will want to know what size household you are planning to pack up and move. There is a big difference in the cost and effort associated with moving a two-bedroom apartment versus a five-bedroom house.
- What time of year do I need to move? Most moving companies will need this information to give you accurate quotes. Moving during the week and in the winter months is generally cheaper than moving on a weekend or in the summertime. If you have some flexibility in your dates, you can likely save yourself money by choosing a day and time that is not their "peak."
Once you've gone through all of those items, you'll be able to finalize a budget and get a realistic picture of what your move will cost. Once you know what each piece of the move will cost, you can begin to consider how that compares with the budget you have to spend.
Unfortunately, many times the costs associated with moving come out higher than anticipated. That's the bad news. But, the good news is that there are several easy, practical ways to cut down your costs and rein your budget in before it ever has time to spiral out of control.
2. Declutter Your Home
If you hire a professional moving company or rent a portable storage unit, they'll charge you according to two things: the distance your belongings need to travel and the weight of your belongings. So, think about it — the more stuff you pack, the more expensive your move is going to be. To cut down on the weight, and therefore the cost, of a move, one of the simplest things you can do is just not pack as much stuff.
Easier said than done, right? Well, not necessarily. Not only will having less stuff keep costs down, but it means there is less to pack, and then unpack. It cuts down on your stress, as well as your costs. If you spend a little bit of time sorting through drawers and closets, it's going to save you a lot of time later.
Once you've gone through and set aside the stuff you don't need anymore, identify the things you might want to sell online or in a yard sale — which could help defray your moving costs — or give to charity. Just because you don't use it anymore doesn't mean someone else can't.
The other great thing about taking time to declutter is that while you're sorting through things, you can begin packing. Packing yourself can also be a huge cost-saving measure, so even if you plan to pay movers to pack the larger, bulkier items, anything you can pack on your own ahead of time will save money in the end.
3. Take Advantage of Tax Deductions
Depending on the reason for your move, the IRS says you may qualify for certain tax deductions. To qualify for these deductions, your move must be related to the start of a job and take place within one year of starting a new job. Location is also a factor — the location of your new job relative to your new residence plays a big role in whether you qualify for a tax deduction. And, last but not least, you have to meet certain parameters of how much time you've spent working since your move to a new location. If you're planning a move, you'll want to make sure you spend some time reading the details on how these tax codes work so you can plan accordingly.
We know these rules and guidelines can be confusing. So, if you aren't sure if your move will qualify, just be diligent about hanging on to all the paperwork that builds up during your move. Make sure you have itemized receipts from your moving company or truck rental company, as well as receipts for any gas, moving supplies and travel expenses you bought. You'll also want to keep track of all your mileage — both in your personal vehicles and whatever moving truck you use — as you travel to your new home, in case you end up needing to report it when tax season rolls around.
4. Try to Find Free Boxes
Moving supplies can quickly become expensive, especially if you are moving a large household. One of the best ways you can offset the expense of moving boxes is to find free ones. Besides asking around to friends and coworkers, one of the best places to find boxes is your local liquor store. This is a tried-and-true frugal moving secret. Liquor store boxes are sturdy — which makes them great for packing valuables like dishes and glassware — and they're free for the taking if you're just willing to stop in and pick them up. It's best to call your local liquor store to find out which days they receive their shipments so you can time your visit to coincide with their influx of boxes.
Plenty of other businesses are often willing to give customers free boxes when they ask. If you have the time, make it a habit to inquire with stores you normally shop in. Asking a cashier as you pay for your items or stopping by the information desk at the places you frequent can yield some great boxes. But, if you don't have a lot of time to go around asking different places, head online to do your own research, or check out these places that give free boxes to customers who ask.
5. Use Old Newspaper for Packing
When it comes to packing valuables, you can't just stack them in boxes on their own. You're going to need plenty of cushion and padding to protect them from being jostled in the moving van or, as often happens, the clumsiness of a well-meaning cousin who can't seem to keep the boxes "right side up." The problem is, bubble wrap can get pricey if you use it on everything.
Instead, consider using old newspapers. These days, a lot of people read their newspaper online, so if you don't keep old newspapers around your house, you can call down to the local paper and ask if they have unused copies they are willing to give to you.
If you don't have access to newspapers, get creative and look around for other household items you can use. Socks can be great for packing drinking glasses. Place kitchen towels between plates. Plastic grocery bags can fill in empty spaces in boxes that might otherwise leave room for breakables to shift around and bump into each other. Also, consider how you can use old bath towels and blankets to protect larger items, rather than renting moving blankets.
Not only does it save money to use what you have to pack breakables, but you save space by packing these items together.
6. Compare Prices With Portable Storage Units
When you're getting quotes, it's essential to make sure you know exactly what they include, as well as how long the quote they give you will last. Some people get so focused on the dollar amount that they don't look at what it does — and doesn't — include. Then, they find themselves in a bind when their costs don't come out the way they'd expected.
Some people find portable storage units provide them with more bang for their buck during the moving process. One of the biggest reasons for this is the flexibility they offer. When you rent a portable storage unit, you can choose the day it gets dropped off and picked up. Unlike a rental truck, you aren't responsible for returning it yourself, and you typically have more time to load and unload it. They are also very spacious, which means you might be able to fit more into one storage unit than one rental truck.
The best way to compare prices is to get a quote from a moving company or truck rental company, then get a quote or two from a portable storage unit company. They'll need to factor in your moving dates, as well as your location and the size of your household, to determine your costs. Then, you can decide which fits better into your budget, as well as your time constraints.
7. Consider a Professional Moving Company
Whether this can save you money will depend on a lot of things — your budget, how tight your timeline is and the size of your household. All of these can be key factors in how expensive it gets, but they can also sometimes mean a professional moving company is your best option. Or, at the very least, it deserves serious consideration. Moving companies can help ease the logistical burden of getting your household goods from Point A to Point B. If you can be flexible in the day of the week or even time of year you move, they can offer competitive rates that might not be as far outside your budget as you'd expected. Not only that, but if you hire them to load the truck and drive your household goods to your new location, their trained professionals can make sure to protect your precious stuff from potential disaster during the trip.
8. Plan out Utility Shutoff Dates
No one likes to pay for something they don't use. But if you don't coordinate the dates you'll shut off your utilities with your moving date, you will likely find yourself paying for utilities and services you no longer need. Depending on whether you rent or own the home you're leaving, you may need to coordinate with your real estate agent or property manager to determine which utilities should stay on and which need to be turned off when you vacate the property. But, by making sure you turn off utilities on or before the day you vacate the property, you make sure you aren't paying for electricity or Internet you left behind.
While you're thinking about utility shutoff dates, you'll also want to look ahead to turning on utilities at your new residence. By coordinating their turn-on dates with your moving dates, you can make sure you aren't spending money on a service you aren't using, but you can also ensure you have the essentials, such as electricity, in place when you arrive. Trust us when we say you don't want to be unloading the moving truck by candlelight.
Let BNT Movers Help
Moving is stressful, but it doesn't have to be overwhelming. With a plan in place, you can begin the process with confidence. If you are considering a professional moving team, add BNT Movers to your list. Though our headquarters is in Northeastern Pennsylvania, we offer professional, experienced moving help throughout the continental United States, and our company is ready to help you get anywhere you need to go.
We offer high-quality services at affordable prices, both for residential and commercial moves of all sizes, as well as international shipping and storage services. For the budget-conscious senior citizens and military in our community, we also offer additional discounts to help make your move possible. Let us get your move started. Call us today to obtain your free quote.