Unless you are a zealous essentialist, moving can turn out to be daunting, particularly when you’re on a shoe-string budget. The process can be so stressful and inconvenient that it may look good to stay back in your old apartment for another year, despite the strong reasons that made you leave it in the first place. Moving also has a strong price tag attached to it. Unless, you’re being reimbursed for the expenses, chances are that you are looking to move as cheaply as possible and choose from a list of reliable cheap moving companies.
How do you go about moving your stuff from your present home into a new location without wasting a ton of money in the process? According to Martha Poage, author of “The Moving Survival Guide,” an important factor to make your move less hectic, less stressful and less expensive is to get organized before moving, remain organized all during the process of moving and keep a positive attitude.
There are many ways to cut down your moving expenses. Some are less obvious while others are pretty straightforward.
Here are 7 ways on how to save money moving
1. Get organized
Even if you are forced to move quickly, your life will not descent into chaos provided you determine the tasks you need to complete and sort them out accordingly. List them based on their order of importance and the best ways to efficiently accomplish them.
Keeping yourself organized will not only help you sort out things, distribute and move them, but give you a leg up on saving money while moving. If you are unable to create an exhaustive spreadsheet due to time constraints, a simple list will be enough to catalog your expected expenses and how you’ll be paying for each of them. Even if you can’t get the exact numbers, try to keep the expenses as accurate as possible to get an actual ballpark figure of your moving budget.
2. Examine the cost of DIY against professional services
Never be under the assumption that hiring moving companies will be a costly affair than moving things on your own. While a rental truck may seem like a great deal, there is a huge number of do-it-yourselfers who sweat it out while moving, only to repent later that they have spent a lot more while doing the task on their own than they would have, had they hired a professional mover.
Here are some effective tips to help you compare your options and make a wise choice.
• While considering cheap moving companies, get a minimum of five quotes from different firms. Note that negotiation with movers is a feasible and possible option. Even moving firms have a dry period. For instance, moving during fall or winter can prove to be cost-effective as these are the periods when companies slash their rates by up to 30%, according to Vasi Atanasova, a renowned professional in the moving and auto shipping industry. Moving firms are normally busy during the summer months since most families with school going kids move when they are on summer vacation. This is also the time when movers can charge a hefty amount.
• Carry out a thorough background check before you hire a mover. You can do so by studying Yelp reviews, getting in touch with previous customers and asking for their feedback, and checking the Safety and Fitness Electronics Records (SAFER) System, an offshoot of the US Department of Transportation. If you opt to go with the professionals, ensure to deconstruct your furniture on your own instead of giving movers the liberty of charging you for having used an sophisticated wrench!
• Plan your move in such a way so as to stave off the rush hour. Whether you rent a truck or choose to use your own vehicle, your ride will get a low gas mileage. Furthermore, getting stuck in the traffic can aggravate the problem. The only way to save on your gas bill is to make the move at off-peak hours.
• If you’re looking between the two extremes of bribing your pals with pizza and beer or picking one from the list of cheap local moving companies, it’s best if you pick up both the options. Just take the help of your buddies to load your goods, the mover then moves it to your new apartment, where you unload it.
3. Don’t spend money on boxes
Boxes are labeled the “building blocks” of a move. This is the very reason why moving firms charge extremely high for them. Purchasing boxes is not a prerequisite when there are numerous ways to get them at no cost. Here are some feasible options:
• If you are lucky enough to work in an office where they order paper boxes, collect as many as you can. They make fantastic packing boxes not only because of their size, but due to the fact that they are available with lids. This way you can save a ton of money while moving. The same holds true for any packing material, which you can collect like peanuts and bubble wrap. Recycle these things and utilize them to pack your belongings. Even if you don’t work in an office, you may have friends and acquaintances who do. You can request them to get some packing boxes for the move.
• Post a request on your social networks or get in touch with friends and co-workers who have recently moved.
• Check Craiglist’s Free section and Freecycle or take a walk in your neighborhood on garbage and recycling day. If you are fortunate, you may find someone who has just moved and is trying to get rid of his used boxes.
• Visit liquor outlets in your area as they will have boxes robust enough to hold bottles of vodka or rum. These can certainly hold some of your useful stuff.
• Check the back alleys of mid-sized stores to unearth aptly sized boxes. That’s a strong piece of advice given by the wife of a military, whose family moves quite frequently.
Finally, you can also earn a small amount of cash by reselling the boxes once they have served their purpose to firms like Box Cycle and Container Exchange.
4. Embrace minimalism
If you have lived under one roof for over five years, chances are that you’ll be surrounded by a huge number of things, which are supposed to make your life comfortable and fun-filled. Very often, the accumulation of stuff turns out to be inevitable. Every home requires pieces of furniture, electronic equipment, electrical appliances and of course, your most loved items, which you value so much. And things look to be absolutely fine until the time to move comes.
When moving to a different location, whether it’s in a different city or a different country, it’s impossible to take all your possession with you, mainly for the reason that it can prove to be very expensive.
The only way out is to declutter your stuff.
Here are some important steps to complete the sorting process.
• Understand your options
When it comes to parting with your items, be sure to know your options well: selling, donating and throwing away. Items that are torn, stained, unusable or broken should be simply tossed away. Donating can be the best option for old DVDs and CDs, knickknacks, kitchen supplies and clothes. If you want to get rid of expensive goods like a TV, couch or any electronics, try selling them.
• Be a good decision maker
If you are puzzled on what to keep and what to part with, follow the rule of the thumb. For instance, if it’s badly damaged, you should throw it away without any exceptions. When it comes to clothes, consider donating it if you haven’t worn it for more than a year. Note to get rid of emotions with your belongings and be pragmatic instead.
• Get some assistance
Invite your friends over to your place. Eat, drink and have fun going through your belongings before you decide what not to carry to your new apartment. This is an easy way get rid of mess and have fun at the same time.
5. Take the services of USPS
Boxes that contain books are very heavy to be moved. One of the best things about moving is that it provides the right opportunity to clear those books that have been lingering on your shelves for quite a while. Two months before your scheduled move, go through your personal collection of books and ask yourself whether you’d really like to carry those books to your new location. You’ll be surprised to note that in most cases, the answer will be a resounding no. After you pull a book that you don’t want, don’t look at it again. Instead, take it to a used bookstore or Goodwill Industries to sell or donate.
Identify the books which you would want to keep and pack them in banana boxes, liquor boxes and old shipping boxes and send them to your new house through the US Postal Service. Even though it might take a bit longer to arrive at the desired destination, the price is unbeatable. For example, a 20 pound box of books costs just $11.55 to ship. In this way, the total amount of money that you save on moving your books goes down drastically.
6. Invest in insurance
Movers are entailed by federal laws to provide basic coverage, indicating that they’ll be responsible for $0.30 per pound per belonging for a move within the state while the figure for an interstate move stands at $0.60.
However, if you are transporting expensive items, you would want to shell some bucks for “full replacement value coverage.” In the process, the mover will end up paying for the real cash value of your belonging in case it gets damaged during the move. The cost for full replacement coverage comes to approximately $10 for every $1000 of declared assets. Hence, the coverage for goods worth $20,000 would come to $200. If your item would cost a huge amount to be replaced, it’s a worthwhile investment. If your flat screen TV weighs 30 pounds and costs $500 to be replaced, the basic coverage would get you only $18 if it were damaged in an interstate move. On the other hand, the basic coverage would get you the entire amount of $500.
While the DIY approach can trim down your costs greatly, you cannot hold moving companies accountable for damage to goods that they did not pack. If you are packing things on your own, wrap them in blankets, thick towels or sheets. You can use linens and coffee filters to pack breakable items as they are inexpensive, soft and won’t transfer ink like newspaper. This will also eliminate the risk of damages.
7. Utility Planning
It may be difficult to disconnect your services during the exact time of your departure. If you fall into a situation where your moving date clashes with your billing cycle, you can disconnect your services early on to save some money. Begin with the utilities that are of less importance to you, including cable. If you are sure of the day you’ll be moving, you can schedule additional utilities like water and electricity for disconnection and avoid the burden of paying for an extra month of service.
Carry out a thorough research on different utility alternatives like Utility Concierge, especially if you are moving to a new city. Utility Concierge gives you reduced prices on new utilities, thereby saving you a ton of money.
As mentioned above, get multiple quotes from cheap local moving companies and conduct a careful research on each of them. The company that gives you the lowest quote may not necessarily be the best.
Moving is certainly an onerous task, but the strategies mentioned above should assist you adhere to your budget and trim the dent in your bank account.
Are you planning to make a move this year? What’s your ultimate way to save a ton of money? Let us know in the comments section below.