Moving can be expensive, even if you’re lucky enough to have a company who will reimburse part of the cost it takes to relocate. That’s why it’s essential to prep before the moving day arrives, so you don’t get stuck with a big bill.
Here are five ways we tried to lower the cost of moving expenses:
1. Collect boxes, don’t buy them
Collect early, and often, and more than you think you’ll need. Because you’ll always end up needing more! I would take a few boxes home from work each day leading up the move, and told family members to also save them for me.
If you’re unsure where to get boxes, you can always check these types of places:
- Medical offices - they usually have nice sturdy ones from supplies
- UPS stores – make sure they are the used ones!
- Car dealerships – they go through A LOT of paper
- Grocery stores – you’ll need to call first
Still can’t get your hand on some free boxes? You can buy some from Lowes. I hate paying for cardboard, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.
2. Start getting creative with meals
Even if you think you might be moving soon, start whittling down the pantry and freezer. You probably are not going to have enough capacity to take all of it with you, especially the frozen stuff, so busy yourself right now in the kitchen.
This might mean you’re eating hot dogs on hamburger buns, or using 3 different kinds of noodles for mac n’ cheese. Whatever works, right?
I had a decently full deep freezer with ice cream (of course!), extra breads and rolls, and produce I had put away from summer pickings – blueberries, strawberries, applesauce, and zucchini. When I couldn’t use it all up, I had to start giving the excess away to family and friends. But hey, it’s certainly a nice, frugal gift for helping you pack!
3. Make a list of everything you need to do
Being organized will actually help you be less stressed and less likely to over spend. You can plan now for upcoming expenses!
Need more boxes? Put them on the list. Need a moving truck? Put it on the list. Need to rent out your property, or put the house on the market? Put it on the list. For cheap scrap paper, write your list on the back of a used note card.
Once you have an entire list compiled, you’ll feel better – I certainly did! Then, start working your way through it, line by line and accomplish one or two items every day.
Within a week of the moving date, you’ll probably have more specific things to do, so a list broken down by day might be even better.
4. Compare prices
Moving Truck – Don’t assume U-Haul is the best. Start looking at Penske and Budget Rental too. Maybe there’s a local moving company you can utilize if you’re relocating in the same area or a pick-up truck someone’s willing to let you use if you pay for gas.
Also, always go for one size bigger than you think you’ll need. You don’t want to pack half your house and get stuck unpacking because you need a bigger truck.
Housing – Whether you’re looking for an apartment to rent or house to buy, the general idea is the same. You’ll want to keep track of price, number of beds and baths, local area, utilities, etc. This can be as simple as a piece of paper, or as complex as an Excel spreadsheet.
Make sure you also keep track of apartments or houses that you’ve already looked at. If you have been searching for a while, you might end up pulling a house you’ve already said “no” to.
5. Purge as you pack
Nothing says hoarding more than packing all your belongings in boxes and being surprised at how much stuff you’ve accumulated.
As you pack things away, ask yourself how much you have used the item since you’ve bought or received it. If you haven’t touched it in years, it probably needs to go. Start a garage sale box if you’re planning a moving sale, or a thrift store box if you’re not. And you can always use Craigslist.
Joseph and I ended up taking multiple trips to the thrift store and it felt so good to release ourselves of the accumulation. Not to mention a great tax write off!
I think this post by The Frugal Girl has the best take on how much stuff you should really have, and when you know you have the right amount. It totally makes sense.
Now, take a deep breath, and start packing. You can do it!
What advice would you give a friend who just found out she was moving?