You Haul It: How to Move on a Shoestring Budget


new house

Make no mistake: moving is an expensive proposition. First, unless you’re moving in with a friend or family member, you will likely have to pay first and last month’s rent as well as the standard security deposit on your new apartment. Then there is the cost of hiring a moving company. According to the American Moving and Storage Association, an interstate household move costs on average about $4,300, while even an intrastate move will run you about $2,300.

All that just for a couple of guys to sling boxes onto a truck and then sling ‘em back off again? You’re probably thinking that you have plenty of friends who will pitch in and help you move, and if that’s the case, then DIYing the whole shindig is going to save you beaucoup bucks right off the bat. Here are some other ideas for keeping costs to a minimum when it’s time to relocate.

A Little Help from Your Friends

Before you go too much further, however, you better make sure that your buddies really are going to lend a hand. As soon as you know your moving date, start asking around. (You might be surprised at how many guys are going to have a family wedding to attend that day or will be out of town with their girlfriends.)

Some of your friends might already owe you for that time you helped them move, but if you need to sweeten the pot, why not offer to toss them a few bucks? It’s still going to be much less expensive than hiring the pros. And when the last load has been dropped off, don’t forget the customary food and drink to say thank you for a job well done.

How Will You Get It All There?

If you are lucky, one of the guys who offers his services to help move will also offer his pickup truck or panel van. If all your pals are pedestrians, you might need to rent a moving truck to haul the furniture.

There are some tips and tricks for getting a good rate on a rental truck, but perhaps the best one by far is to move at an unpopular time. The absolute worst time to rent a van or truck is any weekend between May and September. If you can be flexible and reserve a truck for a weekday, or during non-peak months, you can save yourself a lot of dough.

Make Use of Self-Storage

In some cases, you might even save money by moving in a little later than you originally planned. Ask your new landlord if there are units that he will prorate, and move mid-month. Doing so might be worthwhile, especially if you can get a bargain deal on the rental truck, and even if you need to couch-surf for a few days and put your stuff storage.

“Self-storage units are an economical solution,” says Terry Drayton of Boston storage company Livible. “If you’re having trouble finding a place, you can keep your belongings in a storage facility to take some of the pressure off.”

Offset the Costs

One of the ironclad rules of relocation is to never move more stuff than you need to. Now is the time to give your buddies back the miter saw, golf clubs, and armchair you borrowed from them. Next, take stock of your possessions. Unless something was very expensive and/or valuable, or has great sentimental value, consider leaving it behind. More to the point, consider selling it.

You can use Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist to sell unwieldy or heavy stuff like dumbbells, furniture, electronics, and sports equipment. Books, DVDs, designer duds, and tchotchkes can go up on eBay or online consignment sites.

Don’t have any objects that are worth that much? Host a yard sale. There will be someone who will buy your toaster, end tables, cocktail shaker, and throw pillows for a couple of bucks. Every little bit counts.

Donate Items to Charity

Whatever is left over can go to charity. Call around; some charities will pick up your donation. And all of them will give you a receipt for the value of the donation. Hold onto that until tax time comes around, and take the donation. (This might not save you money in the short term, but it will be a nice little perk for Future You.)

Never Buy Any Supplies

Are you considering buying moving boxes and other supplies? Not on your life. This is one of the easiest ways to save. For boxes, your first stop should be the liquor store and grocery store, most of which will be happy to let you take some boxes off their hands. Or ask your friends and family to set aside all their Amazon Prime packaging for you. That will net you not just boxes, but packing material like bubble wrap and air pillows.

Collect copies of the local freebie newspaper to wrap fragile items in. Or use your own cloth items — towels, shop rags, sheets and blankets, even clothing to protect your glassware and picture frames.

Moving on A Shoestring Budget

We get it; the last thing you want to spend your money on is moving. There are so many other ways to enjoy your earnings — movies, gourmet food, high-end booze, cigars, and of course that special someone in your life. So use these tips and keep the expenses to a minimum. Properysnake may be helpful for you.


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