Moving can be an emotional period. Part of it comes from the strain of leaving a familiar neighborhood for a new one. But in addition to the emotional aspects of the experience, moving can be quite expensive, especially if you don’t take the time to plan it out.
Most people have different views on the best ways to handle a move. However, if you are looking for ways to save money while moving, the following seven tips are a great place to start.
1. Don’t Move Everything
Don’t always listen to your heart. You do not have to move everything. One of the benefits of moving is that it gives you the opportunity to conduct a frank appraisal of your junk—and if you’ve been living in the same place for two or more years, there is bound to be junk.
Get rid of anything you no longer need. If you haven’t used an item in over a year, or reread a magazine since you bought it, it’s probably going to stay unused. Don’t forget that the more items you carry with you, the more you’ll spend on moving or storage.
Downscaling your load also gives you a way to raise some money for your move. The weekend before your moving date, you can hold a yard sale to get rid of some of your things. If you plan to do this, make sure you set aside enough time to plan for the yard sale, so it doesn’t affect your moving schedule.
2. Move During Low-Traffic Windows
If you have the opportunity, schedule your move date to fall in the middle of the month. Most people move at the start and end of the month, which means moving companies have a lot of business during that time period. Most people also prefer to move on a weekend.
If you schedule your move for an odd time—in the middle of the week and the middle of the month—you will have less competition from other moving customers and will be in a better position to negotiate lower rates.
For the same reason, moving between the months of October and March can help you trim your expenses. Fewer people move outside of the spring and summer months. If you don’t have a deadline to meet, waiting until this time comes could earn you significant discounts.
3. Avoid Last-Minute Moves
Trying to plan a move at the last possible second is the surest way to rack up a large bill. You’ll end up paying more for almost everything.
The moving company will cost more. You’ll pay more for boxes, and you’ll have very little time to plan. To save money, it’s best to start planning your move at least a month in advance. Among other things, this will give you time to shop for quotes from different movers.
4. Take Advantage of Tax Deductions
Not everyone is eligible for a moving expense deduction. To qualify for this tax break, you must be moving to a location where the distance between your home and workplace is at least 50 miles greater than it was before you moved.
It sounds a lot more complicated than it actually is. This means that if you had to travel 10 miles every day to get to the office from your old home, your job would now need to be at least 60 miles (50 plus 10) from your new home for you to benefit from the tax deduction. If your job falls within this description, be sure to save the proper documents to demonstrate your eligibility.
5. Don’t Pay For Boxes Unless You Have To
During a move, you need boxes. That’s a given. But there’s no rule that says you have to buy them. Most people buy cardboard boxes from moving companies, and that’s a good thing. The boxes sold by moving companies are strong, resilient, and have low pH levels, so they don’t affect your items.
But if you can’t afford to buy boxes from a moving company, there are other ways to find them. There are plenty of boxes available, but the key is to pick resilient ones. You will find discarded double-walled cardboard boxes at laboratories and hospitals—they’re used for shipping medical supplies.
Other great places to look for boxes include restaurants and bookstores. And if you live close to a recycling plant, try paying them a visit as well.
6. Consider Pods
Moving doesn’t always have to involve trucks. If you have a limited number of items to move, consider using a storage pod.
Pods can save you a lot of money. You simply have them dropped off outside your home, load them up, and then have them carted to your destination. You can save even more if you load the pods yourself.
7. Get Friends to Help
Instead of hiring moving professionals, get friends and family members to help you out on moving day. It will save you money and make the moving process a lot more fun. You don’t have to pay friends, but you can reward their efforts with ice-cold lemonade or the promise of a meal.
The Bottom Line
Even with all these tips, it’s still important that you find a good moving company—one that won’t try to trick you by racking up the bill on made-up services. Before you choose a company, review its past performance. Check its Better Business Bureau profile to see if there have been any complaints lodged against the company, and if so, in what areas.
But ultimately, don’t focus on the price alone. Look for companies that offer reliable service. The last thing you want is to settle for a cheap moving company and end up in your new home with several boxes of broken china and damaged electronics. If the company can’t get the job done, it won’t matter how much you saved.
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