Few things are more exciting than moving. There’s a rush that comes with living in a new place for the first time, whether for work or school. With the excitement can come stress over how you are going to move your belongings and how much it will cost, but keeping your moving budget small doesn’t have to be stressful. Here are some great tips for how to move without breaking the bank.
11 Tips for Moving on a Budget without Cramping Your Style …
There are many ways to get free boxes. Keep any large boxes you get when you buy something online. Family or friends who have moved recently might have boxes. You also can check Craigslist, Freecycle.org and other places for free boxes. You can check with the local grocery stores, bookstores and liquor stores to see if they have any they are willing to part with. Just make sure to ask ahead so they can save them for you. I learned the hard way on the eve of my move that boxes are disposed of almost immediately after grocery shelves are stocked. Heavy-duty trash bags also can come in handy. Since I didn’t have many boxes, I used a lot of trash bags for things that were breakable. It was faster packing, for sure!
Before you start packing, pick up newspapers from the grocery store or newspaper stands near the front doors of your college buildings whenever you can. The pages are great for wrapping plates, glasses, or anything fragile that you have in your apartment or dorm. So the more newspaper you have, the better. If you have white dishes, first place them in plastic grocery bags before wrapping them in newspaper in order to prevent them from getting stained by the newspaper ink. I was unable to get any newspapers, so I used towels and clothing for padding breakables.
Coupons are your friends! A few weeks before I moved, I changed my address through USPS.com and got quite a few coupons — $100 off a Budget moving truck, 10% off at Lowes, $10 off a Wal-Mart purchase, $10 off a new Sam’s Club membership and many others. If you aren’t setting up mail forwarding, sites such as Groupon, RetailMeNot.com, and Coupon.com are great places to find coupons. And if you are a member of any clubs or associations such as AAA, discounts might be available.
A few months before you move, organize a yard sale, join local Facebook for-sale groups and post ads on Craigslist to start selling some of the things you no longer need. You also can talk to your friends to see if they want to buy any of your stuff. I sold a number of items right before I moved, which helped with the cost of moving. And once I got settled in my duplex, I realized I had too much furniture. You can sell more than you might realize!
Staying Organized is Key
Is it even possible to stay organized while moving? Probably not, but you always can try. When packing, label each box with the name of the room where it will go in your new home. Extra Space Storage suggests,“Try taping screws, bolts, and washers to the bottom of the furniture they belong with. That way, your furniture and your sanity will arrive intact.” And when it comes to arranging the furniture, make sure you know where it’s going ahead of time – measure the rooms ahead of time and use graph paper to lay out your floor plan. I didn’t have time to plan out furniture arrangements before I moved this time, but I’ve learned from prior moves that it can make settling in faster – and easier.
Every mover loves a packing party. If you feel you need help packing your things into boxes, call in friends and family to help you. Provide food and drinks for everyone who helps. This will help you save time as well as money because you won’t need to hire professionals to do the packing for you. While you’re having fun with your friends, don’t feel shy about offering packing advice – you don’t want anything to get broken in the move! When packing dishes in your kitchen, Diggins & Rose Moving Systems advises, “Put the heaviest items in the bottom of the box and build up in layers with the lighter items on top. Divide the layers with crushed paper. Fill in empty spaces with crushed paper for a tight pack.” And, of course, don’t forget to label the box as “FRAGILE!”
I didn’t organize a packing party, but I did have a moving party! Yes, I really was strapped for cash – I didn’t even rent a moving truck! This is where downsizing came in handy – I had less to move. Friends with trucks and SUVs spent a day scurrying back and forth, transferring boxes and furniture to my new duplex. That works if you only are moving 10 minutes away, like me. If you’re going a longer distance or have more belongings, that’s when moving truck coupons are essential. You also can pack yourself, but hire a trucking service to move everything. Most moving service websites provide estimates, so you can compare prices and choose the one that best fits your budget.
If you don’t want to call on friends to move you (like I did), drive a moving truck or hire a moving company, then mobile units are a good solution. If you are going to have a time lapse between homes, this is an affordable way to combine moving costs and storage needs. All you have to do is pack your boxes and load them into a storage unit. (Make sure to have a loading party to help you!) The storage company will come pick up the unit and deliver it to your new address, although there is often a fee. This is also a great alternative for college students who need to store their belongings over the summer. Everything will be kept secure until your unit is dropped off back at your dorm in the fall. Donald Helms, owner of Affordable Mini Storage, offers advice for price shopping for your unit: “Some of the name brands add hidden fees beyond just a basic delivery and pickup fee – such as charging more for dropping a unit on gravel, or charging extra for rush service. Make sure you price shop and ask about additional fees – renting a mobile unit from a local, small business is often better service – and cheaper.”
If you are moving across the country, this is a great way to cut down on the amount of things you are moving. Check shipping rates on USPS.com, where you also can find easy ways to determine your costs depending on the weight of the boxes. Only ship small and lightweight items.
If you don’t have anyone nearby or all your friends are busy, you can hire high school and college students to help you pack and move your things. For about $10-$20/hour, you can get all of your things packed and moved without having to lift a finger or paying expensive fees for professionals. Remember to hire trusted students to move your things. Ask for recommendations from friends or people around the local campus. Facebook groups, your local Chamber of Commerce, or Craigslist are also good ways to find eager help – just make sure you give clear directions for packing. They’re not professionals and more than likely will need a little guidance from you.
Move in the Off-Season
Seventy percent of moves happen between May and September, which means most moving companies will have a busy schedule if they’re not completely booked. Prices are likely to be higher during this period as opposed to the off-season. If you can hold off your move until the off-peak season, you not only will save money but you also will have a better chance of getting the help you need.
Did I miss anything? What are ways you have saved money when moving?
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