Expert Tips To Save Money on Your Next Move

Happy young woman sitting in new apartment and raising arms in joy after moving in.
Ridofranz / Getty Images/iStockphoto

One of the most interesting storylines of 2021 was the great migration that accompanied the Great Resignation. Part of the reason housing prices are at record highs is that so many people moved in pursuit of new jobs or discovered they could finally work from anywhere.

No matter the reason for uprooting, you’re certain to save money if you put as much thought into how you move as you do into where you move. 

Plan Ahead — Way Ahead

A rushed move is an expensive move. With so many moving parts to consider, haste almost certainly guarantees costly unforced errors and avoidable headaches along the way.

“The earlier you start to plan your move, the less stressful and less expensive your move will be,” said Ali Wenzke, author of the bestselling book “The Art of Happy Moving.”

“Whether you plan to hire movers or rent a truck to make the move on your own, give yourself time to get multiple estimates and then negotiate. Also, you may find that renting a truck 20 minutes further away from your home can save you $50. When you are in a rush to book something because everything else is sold out, you may miss this opportunity.”

Shop Around

Part of the reason you want to start early is to give yourself time to vet all of the service providers that go into transporting your entire life from one place to the next.

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“Get at least three moving estimates before you move,” said Chris Dennis of Lile Relocation Services. “Outline all your moving needs so the moving company knows which services you will require, such as full or partial packing. This will help you find a moving company that fits within your moving budget.”

Move as Little Stuff as Possible

The two biggest factors in the cost of a move are distance, which you can’t change, and weight, which you can.

“One of the best ways to save money and stress before you move is by getting rid of every item you don’t want, use, need or love,” said Katie Barton, a professional organizer/declutterer and founder of Cabin Lane. “And luckily, if you plan at least a few weeks in advance, you can have the items you’d like to donate picked up by a charity. Goodwill, The Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity, and Vietnam Veterans of America will all pick up acceptable donations — especially larger pieces like furniture or appliances. Some will even pick up clothing and miscellaneous donations from your house.”

Split the Bill With a Hybrid Move

One of the biggest decisions you’ll have to make is whether to hire movers or do it yourself — but you might be able to cut your costs in half by getting the best of both worlds.

“To save on their move, millions of people are switching from utilizing traditional full-service moving companies to a hybrid model,” said Collin Flynn, co-founder of UniMovers. “Here, consumers are renting the moving truck or ordering mobile storage themselves, and they hire hourly moving labor separately to do the heavy lifting. We have found that customers save up to 60% on their move using this alternative.”

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Moving Far? Don’t Forget About Your Car

If you’re relocating in 2022, one thing to plan for early that a lot of people don’t consider until the last minute is how your vehicle is going to get from here to there.

“If you’re moving a short distance, car transportation probably isn’t a concern because you’ll likely drive your vehicles yourself to your new location,” said Scott Chesarek, CEO and co-founder of J&S Transportation. “When you’re making a cross-country move, however, car transportation is a must.”

He offered the following tips:

  • Choose an open transport carrier vs. an enclosed carrier: The shipping rate, on average, for an enclosed transport is 40% to 50% more than an open transport carrier.
  • Ship your vehicles in the offseason, if possible: The busiest and most expensive months of the year in the auto transport industry are June through August. The slowest and least expensive months are December through February.
  • Be flexible with your pickup and delivery times: If you tell a broker or carrier that your car must be picked up or delivered by a specific date, you’ll almost always pay a premium to entice a driver to meet your deadline. The cheapest way to ship a car is to be flexible.

Know Who You’re Dealing With

The moving industry — particularly long-distance moving — is teeming with shady players who you probably wouldn’t want to trust with the physical possession of everything you own. Do your homework.

“When you’re picking your moving company, it’s imperative that they are licensed, bonded and insured,” said Joseph Giranda, director of commercial relations at commercial shipping company CFR Rinkens. “This protects your cargo in the event of damage, theft or loss. Also, make sure your moving company will be the one who is handling your move, as some companies will outsource to third parties who may be untested and unreliable. Don’t leave specialized shipping in the hands of brokers or obscure local movers.”

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A Few Final Tips

GOBankingRates heard from several experts, and there was a majority consensus on the following money-saving suggestions: 

  • Be packed, organized and ready to go quickly by your move date. Movers are paid by the hour, and you rent moving trucks by the day. When the big day arrives, time is money.
  • Use things such as blankets, towels and linens in place of bubble wrap.
  • Put the word out to friends and family members to save their boxes and packaging from Amazon or wherever else so you can avoid buying things they’re getting rid of anyway.
  • Ask friends who moved recently for leftover supplies.
  • Move in the offseason — the winter — and avoid the busy summer months.
  • Move during the week instead of on the weekend.
  • Budget a little extra to bribe friends and family members to pitch in on the big day — many hands make light work.

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