Moving Cheaply: Six Ways to Move on a Tight Budget

Moving, even with the promised reward of new life is stressful. It’s doubly so when you’re trying to move on a budget. Fortunately, there are some effective ways that you can structure it, so your move doesn’t break the bank. Try out these six tips on your next move.

Tip 1: Research Professional Moving

Depending on your situation, it may come out cheaper than doing a DIY way. You can call a couple different moving companies for different quotes. It’s also possible to negotiate with moving companies for a better rate. Depending on how much time and help available you have for the move, this may be a necessary option.


Tip 2: Find Packing Materials

There are many packing material sources, so it’s not necessary to buy them most of the time. One of the biggest places you can get materials is in the office. Think about how many boxes of copy paper go through your work that you can use.

You can also use materials you already have. Suitcases certainly should not travel across the country empty. Linens also work in place of bubble wrap for your more delicate pieces. It just takes a little longer to unpack on the other end.

Tip 3: Keep the Receipts

There are two big reasons to keep receipts. If you’re in the military, you can still deduct your non-reimbursed moving expenses from your taxes. Unfortunately, the IRS removed this deduction effective 2018 for everyone else.

Another reason is for keeping your moving receipts is employer reimbursement. It cannot hurt to ask your new job to cover all or part of your relocation expenses. They will either say no or give you a budget that they will reimburse. Keeping all the receipts, whether it’s the truck or the hotel rooms while driving, gives you the best chance to get your money back.

Tip 4: Ship It

Certain items when you’re moving are just a hassle to move. For example, if you have a large personal library, it may be better to send it separately rather than dealing with the weight. As this article points out, the less you pass off to the movers, the cheaper their services will be. Even if you’re renting your own truck and doing your own moving, that weight can kill fuel efficiency.

Another possibility is to use freight companies to ship your stuff rather than moving companies. Depending on what routes your stuff can take to your new home, this can really open the budget choices. It’s even possible to go cheaper and use a company to do a storage container move.


Tip 5: Enlist Friends

Your friends are there, so let yourself ask for help. Even if it’s just one end of your trip, they can really help lighten the packing load. If you’re not paying them to help, throw in food or some other small gesture of thanks.

If you don’t have available friends on both ends of the journey, try hiring some help on the local online marketplace if you need it.

Tip 6: Time Your Move

There are peak and off-seasons in moving like there are in many other professions. If you can, try moving in the fall or winter. These are off-seasons in most places, so the price is cheaper. It also may pay to move mid-month and mid-week. Try playing around with the timing a little bit, and the savings may surprise you.


Moving is a stressful event. Take a moment to breathe and organize. Moving cross country on a budget is a marathon, not a sprint, and these tips will help you go the distance.

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