10 Cost-Effective Ways to Save Money When Moving House

boxes in a living room ready to move

Moving house is an exciting time, but it can also be stressful for many reasons. From packing your possessions to finding a reliable moving company, to safely transporting them from one place to the next, the prospects of moving can make your head spin.

In fact, moving house was ranked the most stressful life event by 57% of Brits, even more stressful than having a child or getting a divorce.

There are also the cost aspects to consider. Relocation costs can go upwards of $10,000 depending on where you’re moving to and the moving company you choose. The good news is that there are a lot of ways you can save money when moving. In this guide, we’ll share some handy tips to help you save on moving costs.

How to Save Money When Moving House

Moving house, whether across town or across the country, can be an expensive endeavor. The moving costs can add up quickly, making it crucial to budget effectively.

Here’s a brief overview of some of the primary expenses you might encounter:

  • Moving company fees
  • Truck rental
  • Packing supplies
  • Travel expenses
  • Insurance
  • Temporary storage
  • Cleaning services
  • Utility deposits or connection fees
  • Miscellaneous supplies
  • Real estate or rental costs
  • Unforeseen expenses

Planning ahead and budgeting for these expenses can help mitigate the stress of moving house and prevent unpleasant financial surprises.

1. Plan Your Move Early

a van outside a house ready to move

If you know you’re going to relocate, start your planning months before your move date. Planning your move early will help ensure you get the best rates for movers and you can secure your preferred date and time. If you wait, you might find that top-rated companies are booked solid.

Plus, the sooner you start packing, the less stressful it will be when the moving date arrives. You’ll have ample time to get rid of things you don’t need and have a good declutter. You can sell them, potentially offsetting some moving costs, or donate them, reducing the volume of items to move.

Many expenses on the moving date come from last-minute purchases due to unpreparedness. When you’re not rushed, you can pack your belongings more carefully, reducing the chances of damage and not making last-minute purchases. 

Also, with an early start, you can ensure there’s no gap in essential services like electricity, water, or internet when you move into your new place.

2. Get Quotes from Multiple Moving Companies

Not all movers will quote your job at the same cost. Always compare quotes from multiple movers before settling on one moving company. Some may offer a lower per-mile rate or a cheaper fixed rate.

Don’t forget to check the company’s online reputation when comparing quotes. The last thing you want is to go for a cheaper mover only to get your belongings damaged during the moving process.

Look for any red flags like customer complaints or lack of reviews. A rogue company will lack reviews, so check out that one too. If you can’t find any reviews even on social media, that’s a huge red flag.

3. Ask Your Moving Company for a Fixed Rate

close up shot of men carrying a couch

A great strategy to save on moving costs is to ask the mover for a fixed rate. Many movers charge per hour, which can prove costly in the case of a long-distance move.

Ask your mover if they can give you a fixed rate on the move. This can help avoid overtime charges and other charges that may result from unforeseen circumstances. For businesses, saving on relocation costs can improve a company’s bottom line.

HR teams can achieve this by finding a moving company that offers managed budget packages. A business can use this model to set a limit on what they’re willing to spend on an employee’s move.

Some movers, like Arc Relocation, go the extra mile to offer guaranteed buyout (GBO)—a service where the moving company offers to purchase a home directly from the transferring employee, streamlining the relocation process from top to bottom.

4. Sell What You Don’t Need

boxes in a living room

Selling what you don’t need is a great way to make money and save on the moving cost. By taking the time to get rid of old furniture, clothes, and other items you no longer need, you can potentially reduce the number of trips the moving company will make.

Plus, if you’re lucky to sell large pieces of furniture, you can possibly decrease the size of the vehicle, contributing to further moving cost savings.

5. Pick the Right Time to Move

Another great way to save on moving costs is to pick the right time to move. Movers usually increase their rates between May and August as this is usually the peak season for moving companies. If you want to save on costs, plan your move outside these dates.

During the peak seasons, you’ll find higher rates and less availability from moving companies. While you can’t always dictate when to move, particularly if it’s work-related, moving during the off-season can give you more options, allowing you to save on relocation costs.

6. Collect Free Moving House Supplies

Acquiring free boxes can significantly cut down on moving expenses. Here are several potential sources to find them:

  • Grocery Stores: These stores receive regular shipments and usually have an excess of sturdy boxes, especially in the produce section where boxes for fruits and vegetables are typically strong.
  • Liquor Stores: They have boxes with dividers, which are perfect for packing fragile items like glasses or vases.
  • Electronics Stores: These might have larger boxes from shipments of TVs, computers, and other gadgets.
  • Bookstores: If you have many books to move, bookstores can be a goldmine. Their boxes are sturdy enough to handle the weight of books.
  • Office Supply Stores: They often have boxes from paper shipments, which are sturdy and can hold a significant amount of weight.
  • Local Community Centers or Schools: They might have boxes from various events or shipments. It’s worth asking.
  • Craigslist: Check the “Free” section, or post a wanted ad in the “Wanted” category.
  • Freecycle: This is a grassroots movement of people giving away free stuff in their towns.
  • Facebook Marketplace: Many local communities have Buy/Sell/Trade or Free groups where members might offer moving boxes they no longer need.
  • Friends, Family, and Neighbors: Often, people have a few extra boxes lying around in their basements or garages. Put the word out early, and you might get a good collection going.
  • Recycling Centers: Some recycling centers have designated areas where people can leave boxes for others to reuse.

Remember to inspect any used boxes for sturdiness and cleanliness, and avoid any that have been exposed to moisture or have a smell, as they might have mold. With a bit of effort and early planning, you can secure a good number of boxes without spending a dime!

7. Consider DIY Moving

man carrying boxes beside a van

When you’re preparing to move, one of the fundamental decisions you’ll need to make is whether to rent a truck and move or hire a professional moving company. Each option has its advantages and disadvantages based on various factors like cost, convenience, distance, and the size of your move.

The pros of renting a truck include moving cost savings, flexible schedule, control, and easier to rent. However, the cons include the fact you will have to drive a large vehicle which can be daunting, it is physical and strenuous and there may be more potential for damage. 

Your decision will likely hinge on a combination of your budget, how much you value convenience, the distance of your move, and how comfortable you feel handling the move yourself.

For a local, smaller move, renting a truck might be the economical choice. For a long-distance or larger move where convenience and safety are priorities, hiring a moving company might be worth the investment.

Finally, before settling into your new home, consider hiring a move in cleaning service to ensure your space is spotless and welcoming from day one.

8. Transfer Utilities Efficiently

Scheduling utility transfers in advance is an essential step in the moving process. Ensuring utilities are switched over efficiently can save money, reduce stress, and help ensure a smooth transition to your new home.

By coordinating the termination of utilities at your old home and the start at your new home, you prevent paying for utilities at two places simultaneously. This is especially important for services that bill monthly regardless of usage.

Moving is already challenging, and arriving at a new home without electricity, water, or heat can make the experience even more stressful. Setting up utilities in advance means your new place will be livable from day one.

Some utility companies may charge extra fees if you need a last-minute connection or if services are disconnected due to non-notification and then need to be reconnected.

9. Use Portable Moving Containers

portable moving container with boxes

Portable moving containers, often referred to as “pod-style moving containers” or simply “pods,” have become a popular option for many people due to their flexibility and convenience.

Here’s an overview of how they work:

  • Reservation: You start by contacting a company that offers portable moving containers to reserve a container for your desired dates.
  • Size Options: Most companies offer containers in various sizes. They’ll usually guide you on the right size based on your household items.
  • Delivery: The company delivers the container to your current residence. It is placed in a convenient and accessible location, often on your driveway or nearby parking area.
  • Ground Level Loading: One advantage of these containers is that they are at ground level, making it easier to load heavy items without the need for a ramp.
  • Do It Yourself: You’re generally responsible for packing and loading the container. This means you can take your time and pack at your own pace.
  • Optional Services: Some companies offer professional packing and loading services at an extra cost.
  • Scheduled Collection: Once you’ve packed the container, you notify the company, and they pick it up. It’s essential to lock the container securely.
  • Storage (If Needed): One significant advantage of portable containers is the option for storage. If there’s a gap between your move-out and move-in dates, the company can store the container in a secure facility. Some companies offer both short-term and long-term storage solutions.
  • Transport to New Location: Whether from your old home or their storage facility, the company will transport the container to your new residence or desired location.
  • Convenient Access: The company will place the container at your new residence in a location where you can easily access your belongings.
  • Unpack at Your Pace: Just like with loading, you can take your time unloading the container.
  • Professional Help: If you need assistance, many companies can recommend or provide unloaders for an additional fee.
  • Container Return: Once empty, you schedule a pick-up, and the company collects the empty container.

However, when considering portable moving containers, it’s essential to check local regulations or homeowners association rules about placing containers on the street or in driveways and understand all fees involved.

10. Maximize Space in Moving Boxes

Maximizing space in moving boxes not only makes the moving process more efficient but also helps protect your belongings and save on moving costs.

Have a mix of small, medium, and large boxes. Heavy items go in small boxes (like books), and lighter, bulkier items go in larger boxes (like linens). Use wardrobe boxes for clothes, dish packs for dishes, and mirror/picture boxes for artwork and mirrors.

Grouping similar-sized items can make it easier to pack them efficiently, much like fitting puzzle pieces together. Instead of just packing clothing and linens separately, use them to wrap fragile items or fill gaps in boxes. This method reduces the need for packing paper or bubble wrap and utilizes space.

Place flat items like books, picture frames, or board games at the bottom of the box as a foundation. Always pack the heaviest items at the bottom of the box to prevent damage to lighter, fragile items.

Finally, ensure there are no empty spaces within boxes. Use items like socks, scarves, or packing paper to fill these voids. This method prevents items from shifting during the move and maximizes space.

Wrapping Up

Moving house is stressful and can prove expensive, especially if you’re moving long distances.

To reduce the frustrations and save on costs, develop a plan in advance, pick the right time to move, sell what you don’t need, get quotes from multiple movers, and don’t forget to ask your mover for a fixed rate.

Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links, meaning that at no additional cost to you, I will receive a very small commission if you click through and make a purchase. These links help to pay the editorial costs of writing a blog. For more information, please read my full affiliate disclosure here.

I also use Artificial Intelligence Image generators to create some of my images. These are to show you examples of my ideas and inspiration when I cannot produce the real images myself.

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