How I Saved Hundreds on Moving Costs
Exactly one week ago today, Dan and I made the big move to El Dorado, Arkansas—making this our third move in three years of marriage. One week ago we said goodbye to our time in Missouri and took on the six hour drive through “the natural state.”
Dan says moving has been exhausting, but for me, it’s been a piece of cake! Just a little busy at times!
That’s because I grew up in a military family and I moved every three years on the dot. And it wasn’t a few hours away—it was states away, or continents away. Let’s just say I’m very accustomed to packing up everything in a short amount of time (and in an incredibly efficient way I might add!) and living in suitcases with the bare minimum for months at a time—and somehow figuring out where we’re going to live in a matter of weeks or days.
It’s a skill I’ve learned from growing up as a military brat, and one that I’m proud of. Moving is quite a wild ride—but the costs of moving can add up quickly. And that is something the military didn’t teach me, because all moving costs were covered.
So, after learning this side of moving in the real world (I call them growing pains), I discovered some pretty brilliant ways to save on moving costs—and I’m almost as proud of them as I am my insane packing & moving skills!
So, here are my tips on saving significant costs on moving!
Downsize your shit, friend
Moving is a great time to go through your things and downsize your junk—because less stuff to move means less costs. I’m talking about the numerous coffee mugs you’ve collected, the old shirts you’ve kept, & those clothes you no longer fit into.
Clothes and knickknacks are one thing, but there are other things that don’t need to come with you, either. You don’t need that tacky futon. It’s been years since college, friend! Throw it away, or donate it. If you bring it with you, your back and your money will have no mercy.
Here is your new game plan: Donate, Toss, or Keep.
For every item you own, begin to ask yourself these questions:
Do I like this, or enjoy this? Do I value this item?
Do I need this?
Does this item serve a function or purpose for me?
In the end, what you pack and move with is up to you—and to your delight, or demise!
Forego a moving company & instead
enlist help from friends and family
It’s tempting to hire someone to come into your home and pack everything for you—but doing so can cost thousands of dollars.
I’ll give you a real life example.
When Dan and I were moving our one bedroom apartment from Texas to Missouri, Dan’s company offered us two options with his promotion: either they would cover “moving costs” up to $5,000 or they would give us a lump sum of money. Now, hear me out. This apartment was tiny—like, only one person could fit in the kitchen at any given moment tiny. This is because it was actually Dan’s apartment for a full year before we got married, and it was only really intended for him! We only stayed in it for three months because we knew his company would move us so soon. Because our apartment was so small, we thought “Surely hiring a moving company couldn't cost that much?” So, we contacted a company and requested an estimate on moving our belongings—and we were quoted at $7,000 dollars.
Yeah. I packed up everything we had in two days and we drove up to Missouri that following weekend.
Moral of the story: forego the moving company.
Instead, utilize willing friends and family for help with moving! Is there anyone who would be willing to help you load a truck? Or perhaps even drive one of your vehicles to your new home? You’d be surprised how willing some sweet friends and family are—and they can save you some significant cash! For this move, we simply rented the moving truck and drove ourselves (with the help of some family), thus saving the costs on hiring a driver.
Don’t buy cardboard boxes—get them for free instead
You read that right.
For those of you who don’t know, cardboard boxes are necessary for packing and moving, but the cost adds up significantly—at $2.50 per box (large), a two bedroom home can easily cost a few hundred bucks or more.
With this move, I didn't pay for a single cardboard box. Instead, I got every one for free—with plenty leftover.
Yep! I simply posted a status update asking my Facebook friends for any cardboard boxes, and I also did the same on my local Buy & Sell Facebook groups as well. I said I’d be happy to take the boxes off their hands, and I said I was moving!
Within about fifteen minutes, I had three friends reach out to me offering their cardboard boxes—and another girl from a Facebook group reached out to me within about thirty minutes. That day, I picked up the boxes from friend #1 and Facebook group girl, and the next day I picked up more boxes from friends #2 and #3.
Actually, in the days after, I ended up removing the posts because people kept reaching out to me trying to get rid of their boxes!
I discovered that people (those you know and those you don’t) are always moving—and you never need to buy cardboard boxes to move—simply ask, and share the love when you’re done using them.
There are other ways to get ahold of cardboard boxes, too. Numerous businesses use cardboard boxes for their shipments of goods or products—and often times, they are happy to give them to you! All you need to do is call and ask if they’d be willing—they may even set aside boxes for you!
This may seem like a “common sense” one, but I have to put it here to emphasize it! When you do not pack boxes to the brim—or god forbid, your moving truck to the brim—you end up purchasing more boxes or making multiple trips back and forth to complete your move!
And that means higher moving costs.
Use clothes or kitchen towels to pack breakables
Similar to cardboard, let’s avoid purchasing bubblewrap altogether. After asking on Facebook for bubblewrap, start using some of your clothes or kitchen towels to safely pack your more fragile items. That’s also kind of efficient, eh?
Start preparing (and packing) everything for your move ahead of time
Do you want to know when you’ll really see your moving budget fly out the window?
It’s when you’re running out of time.
Example: You begin looking for boxes two weeks before your move. But you don’t hear back from anyone within the first three days! What the heck! Suddenly, you’re down to having to move within eleven days without any boxes. So what will you do? You’ll run your ass over to Lowe’s and buy all the boxes they have. And you’ll do this because you’re simply running out of time. You can’t afford to wait for free boxes any longer.
And you’ll do this again if you don’t reserve your moving truck far enough in advance, too.
My advice is to begin preparing—and packing—a couple months prior to your move. Slowly pack your way down to the “essentials” for your home—your necessities for cooking, bathing, cleaning, etc. What you need to simply get by for a month or so! That way, surprise expenses are less likely to come up because you’ve prepared yourself for them. And, this makes moving so much easier for you, too. There aren’t any huge days off from work or weekends spent solely to packing—just a slow and steady process!
Set aside a blow up mattress, sheets, and a pillow
Save yourself some trouble and a ton of cash by doing this—you’ll want to pack your entire bed early into the truck (for space and packing reasons), and if you do it the night prior to your move, you’ll be sleeping on the floor! So avoid a hotel cost and set these items aside!
Pack your kitchen last
If you do not pack your kitchen last, you will eat out! And depending on how early on you packed it—you may find yourself eating out numerous times! And while many of us love eating out (homegirl right here!), doing so every day for a week or two (or more!?) will eat at our moving budget—and it may be one of the most costly mistakes!
There you have it—my tips on saving hundreds on moving costs! I hope you guys enjoyed this one!
Do you guys have other tips? Let me know in the comments! Thanks!