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Tips for Moving on a Budget

Posted by: Mira Roberts

No matter how experienced a mover you are, or how spartan you keep your home, preparing for a new move is work, and it costs money. Somewhere between hiring a truck or movers, purchasing packing materials, hiring carpet cleaners and picking up items for your new home, you may find your head swimming and your bank account waning. Before you resign yourself to emptying your savings account, take a step back and commit to a budget you can truly live with.

People move on tight budgets every day, and while it might take more planning and a little more personal elbow grease, it's entirely possible (and maybe even fun!). Once you've set a realistic budget for your move, you'll have to start planning the logistics, right away. The first step to getting out and into a new home on a tight budget is strategy, and you're going to need one.

We've devised a set of tips to help you put your cost-effective move into action, so you can make this your most successful and affordable move yet. After all, moving to a new home is an exciting time for you and your entire family, so make it as stress-free as possible.

Do It Yourself vs. Professional Movers
It's true that hiring professional movers can save you time, energy and a lot of headaches along the way, but they come with an extra cost. All of that said, if your move is big enough, and a far enough distance away, you may end up spending more money simply renting a truck than you would hiring a reputable company. Price out movers by getting quotes from 3-5 companies that have good reviews. Ask each moving company if they're willing to negotiate on price (many are), and consider that if you're planning your move in the fall or winter, you may see reduced prices of up to 30% (off season pricing is your friend). If you find a reputable, affordable company, consider hiring them to move your furniture only-no disassembly, packing, etc. If you discover that, no matter what, it will cost you less to DIY your move, plan your move to avoid hefty truck rental fees (do NOT move at rush hour or heavy traffic times). Also, you may want to look into renting a POD or other reputable, portable storage units (you pack the POD and the company moves it for you). 

Boxes and Packing Materials
Now that you know how you'll be transporting your stuff to your new place, it's time to get into packing action. Packing materials can be seriously expensive when purchased new, and you might experience some major sticker shock when you visit your nearby moving company to purchase materials. Refuse to buy your boxes and you'll make a huge dent in your moving costs. It's easier to get your hands on effective, clean boxes without having to spend an arm and a leg. Ask around at work to see if your mailroom keeps boxes that they'd be willing to give to you, and also ask friends who have recently moved or may work in an industry where they'd have access to free boxes. Check Craigslist and social media to see if businesses or individuals are seeking to get rid of their boxes without the hassle of breaking them down and transporting them to the recycling center. Finally, visit your local liquor store as well as your nearby mid-sized retailer to ask if they'd be willing to give you their boxes when new inventory is shipped, each week.

Simplify and Sell Your Stuff
When you can't save your cash, try making some and lighten your load by identifying items in your home that you just won't need in your new space. Bulky furniture, unhung artwork, electronics, kitchen gadgets, clothes, shoes and more can easily be sold on a site like Craigslist or at a nearby consignment shop. If you find you can't sell your stuff fast enough, consider donating it and get a nice tax write off at the end of the year.

Move Your Books By Mail
Moving boxes of books is a burden, and can be quite expensive (many moving companies charge by weight), so choose another route-the US Postal Service. Pack your books in boxes and send them via Media Mail for the incredible cost of $11.55 per 20 lb box. You may have to wait longer for them to arrive, but you'll be happy to take the work and the price off your back.

Filed Under: Life in Hampton, VA

About the Author
Mira Roberts Gravatar
Mira Roberts

Mira Roberts studied writing at New York University, graduating with a BA in English Literature before pursuing a career in media, marketing and management with PARADE Magazine, Portfolio Magazine, AltDaily, skirt! and lululemon athletica. A full time mother, writing instructor and part-time freelance writer, Mira lives and laughs with her family in Norfolk, VA. 


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