While moving into a new home or apartment often comes with the excitement of new surroundings, moving on a budget takes planning and can get stressful rather quickly.
By partnering with professional movers, real estate agents, and self-storage services nationwide, we have helped many people downsize before, during, and after moving and have noticed that moves can cost anywhere from $300 to $5k!
Below you’ll find info about moving services and ways to cut costs. Read on for how to budget for a move that fits your home size, move distance, and timeline — affordably!
How to Move on a Budget:
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- Research Local Moving Costs
- Limit the Moving Services You Use
- Make Your Moving Budget
- Update/Cancel Utilities On Time
- Check Up on Refundable Deposits
- Avoid Moving During Peak Seasons
- Compare Shipping Containers & Movers
- Consider Renting a Trailer and DIY
- Hire Flat-Rate Movers
- Less Items Means Lower Costs
- Carefully Load the Moving Truck
- Ask Friends and Family for Help
- See If Your Move is Tax-Deductible
- Schedule Services Well In Advance
- Keep Every Cardboard Box You Can Find
- Use Household Items as Packing Material
- Ask If Your Provider Will Price Match
- Search for Coupons
- Move in Stages If Possible
Research Local Moving Costs
Before you can come up with a moving budget or a moving estimate, you need to research what the average prices are in both the areas you are moving from and moving to.
Below are moving costs to consider and a few average moving service costs, but keep in mind current moving quotes widely range based on location, inflation, and demand.
Average Cost of Moving Services
|Movers||2 men to load a truck for 2 hours||$222 in Georgia|
|Local Moving||Movers for under 50 miles||$80-$200 per hour|
|Long-distance Moving||Movers for over 50 miles||$85-$250 per hour|
|Piano Moving||Movers for under 50 miles||$80-$200 per hour|
|Pool Table Moving||Dismantling, loading and hauling||$85-$250 per hour|
|Hot Tub Moving||Dismantling, loading and hauling||$75-$350 per hour|
To compare moving company quotes, reach out to them individually on their website or make it easier by using an online moving directory. For example, Uhaul helps those who rent their trucks and trailers book local movers all online!
Be sure to check reviews and ask your friends or family if they have any recommendations. It’s highly recommended to choose a tested and trusted moving service rather than save a little money now with a newbie and have to spend $$$ later to replace broken or lost items.
Limit the Moving Services You Use
Once you know how much each service costs, you can selectively choose the services you put deposits down for based on how much the moving service charges, the quality of their reviews, and if you need their services.
Check out the list below for some moving services you might need to hire and a few notes to help you decide what you could get away without.
Things to Budget for When Moving Out
Moving Insurance: Good backup plan if your items are broken, lost or damaged.
Movers: Worth it if you can’t handle the heavy lifting or simply have too much to move.
Furniture Assembly Services: Use if you don’t have time to assemble new and old items.
Professional Packing: Helpful for many fragile items or moving a family-home cross-county.
Transportation/Lodging: You’ll need to estimate gas and lodging for long-distance moves.
Equipment & Packing Materials: While there are ways to cut costs here, you’ll likely purchase a few rolls of tape, boxes and tools.
Make Your Moving Budget
Estimate how much your move will cost by considering what factors affect your moving costs. Most moving companies offer a base rate no matter how much you’re moving but add on by the hour. Ask if they charge extra for specialty items as some will charge a fee to remove bulky items for you. Don’t forget to tip! Small moves 10-15%, large moves 15-20%.
Below is a moving budget template separated by moving services, your estimated budget, and their real costs so you can fill it in and easily create your own moving budget.
|Service||Your Estimated Budget||Your Actual Cost|
|Specialty Item Moving|
|Utility Set Up Fees|
|Misc. (childcare, plants, cleaning, etc.)|
Check How to Transfer/Cancel Utilities
Avoid surprises! Find out your gas, electric, internet, cable, and other company’s policy on canceling or moving your service well ahead of time so you can add cancellation and activation fees to your moving budget.
Follow Up on Refundable Deposits
If you’re moving apartments or rentals, check your lease agreement and factor into your moving budget how much the deposits at your new place are, if you will be refunded the deposit on the place you’re moving from, or if you will be charged any move-out fees.
Avoid Moving During Peak Seasons
Peak moving season in the US is between April and September. If you can, schedule your move during the winter instead of the summer, and your moving budget will benefit. When there is lower demand moving companies and services may reduce prices on rentals and may throw in a few extras like bungee cords, box cutters, or hand trucks during your move.
📦 Fun Fact: 80% of residential moves in the United States occur during the summer!
During peak seasons, it seems like everyone is moving and everyone needs the same equipment you need! It’s often difficult to get a guaranteed booking of the right size truck or trailer, team, enough dollies, moving blankets, etc. during this time. Save yourself loads of stress by moving during the winter if possible.
Shipping Container vs. Moving Company Costs
For long-distance moves, shipping containers have grown in popularity versus traditional moving services. Compare how much they cost during the season you need.
Renting a moving container is cheaper than hiring a full-service moving company and allows you to move on your timeline since they’re typically charged by the month.
A long-distance move with a moving company is about $5k while renting and shipping the largest PODS moving container costs around $3k. Of course, this is an average, your price will vary based on the size, distance, and length of the rental.
⚠️ Note: If you live in a busy area, apartment building or have an HOA, you need to obtain permission or a permit to park the POD or other moving container.
However, don’t undervalue the cost of the heavy lifting. Hiring professional movers saves you an immense amount of hard work on moving day, and experts can maneuver bulky couches through doors without scratching floors or walls or damaging your personal belongings.
If you’re leaning towards renting a moving container, ask yourself if you can handle all the lifting or make room in your moving budget for hiring movers to load and unload the container when it arrives at your new house.
Consider Renting a Truck/Trailer
The cheapest way to move locally is by DIYing as much as possible which saves a ton of money when moving on a budget. Add up how much it’d cost you to move yourself and compare it to hiring professional movers.
Do you own a truck, a vehicle that can tow, or know someone who does? Yes? Great! Rent a trailer to tow your household belongings and save even more on your moving budget. This option is especially great for long-distance moves that also are moving multiple vehicles.
A 6′ x 12′ Cargo Trailer can fit a 1 to 2-bedroom apartment, packed right. However, if you’re moving a whole house or have a lot of bulky furniture this option won’t work for you.
Uhaul’s largest moving truck rental size is 26 feet, which is enough for a 3 to 4-bedroom home. You can cut long-distance moving costs down by driving your own moving truck.
Hire Flat-Rate Movers
Hiring flat-rate movers can help you move into a new house on a budget since they offer quotes that should not change no matter how many items you have or hours it takes. Flat-rate movers are good if you’re moving long-distance or traffic will take up a ton of time. Make sure to ask if the rate is truly flat or if there are extra fees for stairs or specialty items.
Move Cheaply by Downsizing
What is the best tip for moving on a budget? Cut down on how much bulky furniture you’re moving. Getting rid of items before you move lowers the amount of time loading the truck, which also saves money if you’re paying movers by the hour. What’s more, your moving truck rental could be smaller and cost less which helps make moving house on a budget feasible.
Host a Garage Sale
Making money while reducing the number of items you’re moving is a big win while moving on a strict budget. Host a garage sale and spread the word but don’t stop at street signs! Share that you’re having a garage sale on social media and also add listings to Facebook.
If you’re serious about downsizing before a big move, the more people that see your items the more likely someone will buy them from you.
Take advantage of Facebook Marketplace and list as many big-ticket items as you can. Ask the buyer to pick up items for sale from your place and skip the heavy lifting entirely!
Related Article: What To Do With Garage Sale Leftovers ❯
Donate, Recycle, or Hire a Junk Removal Service
Make sure you donate items in good condition that you don’t use anymore. For everything else that doesn’t get purchased or can’t be reused, properly dispose of them yourself by dropping them off for recycling or hiring a junk removal company.
Junk removal companies like LoadUp will remove any unwanted items from anywhere on your property to help you downsize before a big move. We provide transparent upfront prices through online booking so you can skip on-site estimates during busy times like this and have eco-friendly experts figure out green disposal solutions for you.
Hiring a junk hauler is a great help during a move as it makes downsizing fast and keeps your disposal choices eco-friendly without putting an extra strain on your day-to-day.
Carefully Load the Moving Truck
When moving on a budget you literally do not have room to waste space. Make a plan before loading your moving truck to ensure everything fits and you won’t need to get another truck.
Ask Friends or Family for Help
Obviously you can save money and avoid hiring movers to load/unload the truck by rallying the troops! If you’re lucky enough to have friends and family that would help you move and you could seriously use the help, reach out.
You can even ask if someone’s young adult children would help you load your moving truck for a flat fee. This way you can still save money and help someone earn some while they help you move house on a budget.
See If Your Move Is Tax Deductable
If you’re moving because of work, like if you are a member of the US Armed Forces and had to move due to a change of station, you may be able to claim some tax deductions. While in the past tax laws have been more generous than they are now, you can still generally deduct moving expenses.
Research the current tax-deductible moving expenses and see if you qualify. Then take note of all moving expenses that you could receive a refund for later.
Schedule Services Well In Advance
How far in advance you book a moving company should be based on the size of your move.
If you have a lot of items and it’s a long-distance move, book a moving company around 6 months early. If you’re moving during peak season book your moving services several months in advance.
Booking early lets you shop around until you receive a quote that fits your moving budget.
Keep Every Cardboard Box You Find
Avoid purchasing moving boxes. It’s almost a waste of money with how much material you encounter daily. Once you know a move is coming, hold on to your Amazon boxes, meal kit deliveries, boxes your bulky electronics or kitchen appliances came in, etc. Any box that looks sturdy and a good size — keep it, keep it, keep it. You’ll be so glad you did.
📦 Moving box disposal: Once you’re unpacked, we can haul away packing material for disposal.
Use Household Items as Packing Material
Save money on packing material just like you do moving boxes by holding onto packing peanuts, bags, and bubble wrap that you can find. While these are harder to find and keep, use your household towels, t-shirts, blankets, curtains, pillowcases, and anything soft you can find to protect fragile belongings when you start packing up your home.
Ask if Your Provider Will Price Match
If you like one moving company but another one has a better quote, you can bring this up to your first pick and see if they will work with you on the price. Most of the time moving service quotes have a little wiggle room. It’s worth the ask!
We’ll match the best junk removal price! VIEW PRICING ❯
Search for Coupons
You can cut costs while moving into a new house by checking websites like RetailMeNot and Groupon for moving coupons and promo codes to brands like PODS, Uhaul, Budget Truck Rental, Penske, and more.
Look out for the small print, however. Many coupons only apply to local moves or have other requirements so make sure your move qualifies before factoring it into your moving budget.
Move In Stages If Possible
Last, if you’re moving locally you can move in multiple trips. Yes, this takes longer than all in one go but it can save you money. Add up the miles and gas you’ll spend on each trip to ensure it fits the budget. Then if you couple this tip with your neighbor’s young adult kid’s help and our previous tips you will save thousands of dollars while moving into your new house!
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