8 Tips On How To Save On Moving Expenses

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If you’re moving soon, then you’re probably busy thinking about the cost of your new mortgage or rental rates. However, many people actually forget about how much it can cost to move which causes them to end up making poor financial decisions when it comes to choosing services and moving their belongings. Use this list to help you save money when you’re headed to your new home.

Get Bids From Movers

Obviously, you’ll save the most if you can manage to move everything on your own. However, many people need the help of a mover in order to get the job done. If you’re planning on hiring a mover, get written estimates from several companies before making your final decision. If you’re making a local move, ask for per-hour rates. Those moving longer distances should request per pound rates. Keep in mind that you should also shop around for rates even if you’re just renting a truck for your move.

Use Container Companies

If you’re moving a considerable distance, consider using a container company to ship your belongings. This is one of the more affordable options for longer moves since you can choose to place your own things in the containers (no movers necessary) right at your current residence. Then, the container company will come pick up the packed containers and drop them off at your new home where you’ll unload them on your own. According to Kiplinger, this service costs about one-third of the cost of a full-service move. Some of the well-known container companies are PODS and ABF U-Pack Moving.

Move Mid-Month

Because most apartment leases start on the 1st, many movers are super busy around the first and last days of the month. If possible, schedule your move for the middle of the month. You’ll often get a better price. Plus, you may get better service as well since the movers aren’t as busy trying to hurry to their next job.

Move Mid-Season

In addition to being busy at the beginning and end of each month, movers also tend to be busier between May and September. If you can arrange your move for the offseason (October through April) you may be able to save on moving costs and get better service.

Get Used Boxes

When you hire a mover or rent a truck, odds are they’ll suggest that you buy your boxes from them as well. This can be a huge waste of money since you can often get used boxes for little to nothing if you put a little effort into it. Ask friends and local businesses (liquor stores, grocery stores, recycling centers etc.) if they have used boxes they’d like to get rid of. Some of the moving companies may offer free recycled boxes as well.

Get Rid Of Unwanted Items

Another big way to save costs is by moving less stuff. That’s why it’s a good idea to take time to look through your things and see what you could get rid of before your move. Accumulated junk may just be taking up unused space in your current home, but you can save money by just getting rid of it all together. The same goes for clothes that you no longer wear but keep hanging on to. Throw out dirty or tattered items and donate the rest of your unwanted belongings to charity. If you have a lot to donate, the Salvation Army or another charity may even come to your home to pick up your stuff. (To learn about the tax benefits of giving your unwanted stuff to charity, see The Tax Value Of Charitable Donations.)

Pack Carefully

One unexpected cost of moving is the cost of replacing stolen, lost or damaged items. If you are using a mover or container company, check reviews online and reports from the Better Business Bureau to find out if they are a reputable company. You can also ask your movers about their insurance and how it covers damaged property. If you’re packing your own things, use the following tips to reduce the risk of damaging any of your property:

  • Use newspapers, bubble wrap, packing peanuts or other soft materials to pack any fragile or delicate items.
  • Place blankets or towels around furniture corners to cushion them against snags or rips.
  • Position tissue on top of dressers and tables which will have boxes and other items stacked on top of them during the move.
  • Place blankets, sheets, draperies and pillows inside plastic bags to keep them from getting dirty.

Itemize Your Costs

In some cases, you may be able to deduct some of your moving expenses on your year-end taxes. In order to do this, you’ll need to itemize your deductions. Generally, this only applies to those who have to move at least 50 miles away in order to begin a new job. In addition, the move has to take place within a year of your first day at your new job. Consult a tax professional if you have questions about whether you can deduct your moving expenses. (For more information on how to itemize your moving expenses, see Standard Or Itemized Deductions: Which Should You Take?)

Moving can be a hectic time, but with these money-saving tips you’ll be able to ease some of the financial stress that comes with changing residences. If possible, give yourself plenty of time to plan ahead for your move so that you can shop around for the best prices.

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Last Updated: June 6, 2012
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About Ashley Henshaw Ashley Henshaw is a contributing author to CanDoFinance.com. She has been a freelance writer since 2007, writing for high-profile websites that include LIVESTRONG.com, The Huffington Post, USA Today, and City's Best. Now based out of Chicago, Ashley is a graduate of Loyola University Chicago with a bachelor's degree in English.

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