How to Stretch Your Moving Budget

If there is one thing about moving that is universally known is that relocating is expensive. Even if you do everything right, and find the best and most affordable movers in your area, you will still have to make some cuts here and there to make ends meet. However, not everything is lost, since there is something that can help. Learning how to stretch your moving budget can be precisely what you need to get you through this challenging period. So, if you are facing relocation in the foreseeable future, you are in the right place! 

Understanding Moving Costs

Understanding the average cost of a move is crucial for budgeting. The cost varies depending on distance, size, and services.

person calculating
Try to understand moving costs.

Here are some typical costs:

  • Local moves: Generally, local movers charge by the hour. Expect to pay between $80 and $100 per hour for a crew of two movers. A local move might total around $300 to $1,500.
  • Long-distance moves: These are usually priced per mile and by the total weight of items. The average cost ranges from $2,400 to $5,000.
  • Packing services: If you opt for professional packing, it can cost anywhere from $500 to $4,000, depending on the size of your home and the number of belongings.
  • DIY moving: Renting a moving truck is cheaper but requires more work. A truck rental for a local move might cost $20 to $60 per day, plus mileage. For a long-distance move, it could be $1,500 to $2,000 in total.
  • Storage: If you need storage, costs vary widely. On average, a storage unit can cost $50 to $200 per month, depending on the size.

Remember, these are averages. Your specific costs can be higher or lower. Always get multiple quotes and consider off-peak seasons for better rates. Planning and comparing prices are key to a budget-friendly move.

Set a Budget and Stick to It

Setting and sticking to a moving budget is crucial for a financially easy relocation. Start by estimating your moving costs. Include expenses like movers, truck rentals, packing supplies, and travel costs. Don’t forget to factor in potential hidden costs like cleaning services or storage services you may need.

It’s essential to be realistic with your budget. Research average costs for moving services in your area. Once you have a budget, track every expense. Use a spreadsheet or budgeting app for this. Keeping a close eye on spending helps you stay within your limits. You can quickly identify areas where you might be overspending and adjust accordingly.

Remember, unexpected expenses can arise during a move. Set aside a contingency fund, about 5-10% of your total budget, for these unforeseen costs. This safety net ensures you’re prepared for any scenario. Sticking to a budget requires discipline but pays off by preventing financial strain. It gives you a clear overview of your expenses, helping you make informed decisions throughout the moving process. This way, you can start your new chapter without the burden of unnecessary debt.

person counting coins
Setting a strict moving budget and adhering to it is essential to control your spending.

Do Your Research on Time

If you are trying to save money while moving, time is of the essence. If you wait until the last minute to book your movers, you will be left with only a few options, as reputable movers are always booked in advance. With so few options, you will have to pick among the average moving companies, that may even turn out to be fraudulent. However, if you act quickly and start researching the moving companies at least two months before the moving date, you will get to pick among the best relocation professionals out there. It does not matter whether you are looking for long distance movers Florida, or local movers to relocate you next door. Your best chance of saving money while moving is by acting on time.

a bell clock
. Early booking can often secure better deals, especially with moving companies.

Declutter and Sell Unwanted Items

Decluttering is a smart move before relocating. It’s simple: less stuff equals lower moving costs. Start by sorting through your belongings. Create categories like ‘keep’, ‘sell’, and ‘donate’. Focus on items you haven’t used in a year. Chances are, you won’t miss them. Selling these items can boost your moving budget. Platforms like eBay, Facebook Marketplace, and Craigslist are great for this. They connect you with buyers locally and globally. Even clothes, when in good condition, can sell well on apps like Poshmark or Depop. Don’t overlook the traditional garage sale. It’s a fantastic way to sell multiple items at once. Price items reasonably to encourage quick sales. Remember, the goal is to lighten your load, not make a huge profit.

Decluttering also has a psychological benefit. It makes the moving process feel less overwhelming. You’re not just moving; you’re starting fresh. This approach reduces stress and makes unpacking easier in your new home. Plus, the extra cash from sales can cover some moving expenses, like packing materials or even a moving service. This way, decluttering becomes not just a chore but a financially savvy step in your moving process.

person packing a suitcase
Fewer items mean lower moving costs.

Compare a Couple of Moving Quotes

As people should never put their eggs in one basket, you should not opt for the first moving company you think is reliable. To save money during your relocation, the best thing you can do is ask for a couple of moving quotes. And, if people knew how easy it is to get a price estimate, they would do it in a heartbeat. Whether you decide to schedule an in-home estimate or get your moving quote online, it makes no difference. All you need to do is compare the prices with the quality those movers provide. By choosing the most quality movers, who also offer the most affordable prices, you will save a lot of money.

To Stretch Your Moving Budget, Don’t Be Ashamed to Ask

You would be surprised how easily you can get something you want just by asking nicely. Bear in mind that relocation is no different. Let’s say you have found your perfect residential movers, who offer great moving services and have positive moving reviews. However, there is only one small matter you are not in agreement with – the price. If the price is higher than you can afford at the moment, you could ask your movers to meet you halfway. Some of them will have no problems lowering the prices. Of course, you also need to stay realistic and humble in your requests. You cannot ask for a price that is hundreds of dollars lower than the moving quote. No moving company, no matter how good they are, will agree to this.

a woman using smartphone
Look for the best combination of price, service, and reliability.

Ask Friends and Family for Help

Asking friends and family for help on moving days can be a game-changer. It’s a practical solution that significantly cuts down on labor costs. Professional movers can be expensive, charging anywhere from $25 to $50 per hour per mover. By contrast, enlisting loved ones typically costs nothing more than a thank-you meal or a small gift. This can mean big savings, especially for larger moves.

Moreover, having friends and family involved makes the moving process more enjoyable. It turns a potentially stressful day into a shared experience. To make it work easily, plan. Assign specific tasks to each person based on their strengths. One might be great at packing, while another can handle heavy lifting.

Remember to show appreciation. A home-cooked meal or treating everyone to pizza can be a great way to say thanks. If budget allows, small gift cards or baked goods are thoughtful gestures. It’s not just about saving money. It’s about building memories in the process. The shared effort can strengthen bonds, making the day less about the hassle of moving and more about the joy of coming together. Plus, with loved ones by your side, the workload feels lighter, and the day goes by faster. Their support can be invaluable during a significant life change like moving.

Pack Wisely

If you have ever relocated, you must know that movers charge based on the weight of the cargo. That is, it is only one of many important factors that affect your moving price, such as:

  • The distance of your move
  • The complexity of your relocation
  • The number of heavy items

If you are moving to Florida with a family, there is a big chance you will have to pack plenty of possessions. And that is okay since both you and your kids will have to live in a furnished house. However, there are also ways for you to pack everything you need and still be practical. 

Sometimes, relocating some old and worn-down piece of furniture will be much more expensive than replacing it with a new one. If you have any visibly run-down items, you should think about whether leaving them behind would be a better financial decision. Also, you need to deal with your wardrobe. A closet can easily become overstuffed, and it presents a place for you to get rid of some items. As you already know, fewer items equals less money, which is sure to stretch your moving budget.

person wrapping a vase
Packing smart saves money.

Think about partial packing services

Opting for partial packing services when hiring movers is a smart financial decision. This approach involves packing most items yourself and letting professionals handle the delicate or bulky stuff. It’s a cost-effective strategy that balances self-effort with expert assistance. Typically, full-service packing can be quite expensive, costing anywhere from a few hundred to several thousand dollars, depending on the size of your home and the amount of belongings. By packing most of your items, you can significantly cut down on these costs.

Focus on packing everyday items like clothes, books, and non-breakable kitchenware. Leave the fragile items like glassware, antiques, or large electronics to the professionals. They have the expertise and materials to ensure these items are safely transported. Also, for bulky items like furniture, professional help is invaluable. They know how to dismantle, pack, and transport these items without damage. It’s not just about saving money but also about protecting your valuable belongings.

This method is not just cost-effective; it also gives you control over the packing process. You can organize and label your boxes exactly how you want, which makes unpacking easier. Remember, the key is finding the right balance between what you can manage and when to rely on professional expertise.

boxes on a wooden shelf
Consider booking packing services.

Reuse packing materials

Reusing packing materials is not only cost-effective but also eco-friendly. Before your move, start collecting boxes from friends or local businesses. Many stores are happy to give away boxes they no longer need. These can range from small book boxes to larger appliance boxes. By doing this, you could save a considerable amount on buying new boxes, which can add up quickly.

For cushioning, old newspapers and magazines come in handy. They work just as well as bubble wrap or packing peanuts for protecting your items. Also, consider using towels, blankets, and clothes for wrapping and padding. This dual-purpose packing not only saves money on materials but also reduces the number of boxes you need.

family packing for a move
Reuse packing materials where possible.

The Moving Date Is an Important Factor

Did you know that the moving date can help you significantly save money for your relocation and stretch your moving budget? Of course, that goes for those situations when you are not forced to move at a particular time. Thus, if you are contemplating changing your surroundings, the best time to do it is during the winter. Winter is the season when not a lot of people decide to move. Hence, the movers are not as preoccupied as they are during the other seasons. That will result in the price being lower, which works perfectly for those who are trying to save some money.

Moreover, moving during the workweek will help you stretch your moving budget. Since the weekend is the time when people are free, most of them make Saturday and Sunday their moving days. If you act wisely and move during the workweek, not only will you save money, but also the time you would otherwise spend being stuck in a traffic jam.

Finally, when speaking about a favorable moving period, there is one more thing we must mention. The start and the end of a university year are always the busiest times. To save some money, as well as patience, avoid these few weeks.

white calendar
If you’re not rigid on your moving date, you might find cheaper rates.

Be Strategic With Utility Cut-off Dates

Being strategic with utility cut-off dates is a clever way to save money during a move. It’s common for people to overlook this detail, leading to unnecessary expenses. The goal is to ensure you’re not paying for utilities at your old home or office while already footing bills at your new place.

Start by checking the utility policies in your current home. Find out how much notice you need to give to avoid extra charges. This can vary from a few days to a full billing cycle. Then, schedule the disconnection a day after your move. This ensures you have power and water during the move-out process. For your new home, arrange for utilities to start a day before you move in. This ensures your new place is ready and comfortable upon arrival. Imagine moving in without lights or heating – it’s not ideal.

This coordination can save a significant amount. For example, the average monthly electricity bill in the U.S. is about $115. By aligning the dates, you avoid paying this at two places simultaneously. Remember, each utility company has its own processes. Contact them early to avoid last-minute hassles. This planning not only saves money but also eases the stress of moving, allowing you to focus on settling into your new home or office after moving with some of the best commercial movers you can find.

Use Tax Deductions If Applicable

If you’re moving for work, remember that your moving expenses might be tax-deductible and might stretch your moving budget. This often-overlooked aspect can lead to significant savings when tax season rolls around. The IRS sets specific conditions for deducting moving expenses related to job relocation. For instance, your new workplace must be at least 50 miles farther from your old home than your old job location. If you previously commuted 10 miles, your new job must be at least 60 miles from your old home. Also, within the first year of moving, you must work full-time for at least 39 weeks in the vicinity of your new job location. This rule ensures that the move is indeed work-related and not just a personal preference.

Keep all receipts and records of moving expenses. These include costs for hiring movers, renting trucks, and travel expenses during the move. However, note that not all expenses are deductible. Meals during your move, for instance, do not qualify. Consulting with a tax professional is crucial. They can provide tailored advice based on your specific situation and the latest tax laws. This professional guidance ensures you maximize your deductions and stay compliant with tax regulations. By taking advantage of this provision, you can offset some of the financial burdens of moving for work.

woman using a computer
If eligible, use tax deductions on moving expenses to stretch your moving budget.

Keep Important Documents With You If You Want to Stretch Your Moving Budget

Keeping important documents with you during a move is a crucial step. It’s easy to focus on the big items and forget about these small but vital pieces of paper. Losing them can lead to time-consuming and often costly processes to get replacements. We’re talking about critical documents like passports, birth certificates, social security cards, and important financial records.

Consider the hassle and cost if these get lost. For instance, replacing a passport in the U.S. can cost up to $145 and involves a lengthy process. A new birth certificate can also vary in cost and procedure, depending on your state. To avoid these headaches, keep these documents in a secure but accessible folder or file. Carry this file with you during the move, perhaps in a personal bag or a designated ‘essentials’ box. This way, you know exactly where they are at all times. It’s not just about the cost or time to replace them, but also the security risk. Identity theft is a real concern, and keeping these documents safe is paramount. This practice is not just for cross-country moves. Even if you’re moving just a few streets away, the same rule applies. It’s about being prepared and cautious, ensuring your move is as stress-free as possible.

Prepare a Moving Day Kit

On the chaotic day of your move, you’ll be thankful for having essentials at hand. Your kit should include snacks and water to keep everyone energized and hydrated. Pack a basic toolkit for last-minute fixes like tightening screws or assembling furniture. Don’t forget a first-aid kit for unexpected scrapes or cuts. Also, include essential toiletries and a change of clothes. This is especially helpful if you arrive at your new home before your belongings. Chargers for your electronic devices are a must. You don’t want to end up with a dead phone on a moving day.

Having these items readily available means you won’t have to rummage through boxes or rush to the store. This preparation saves time and reduces stress. Think of your moving day kit as your survival box. It keeps the day running easily, letting you focus on the task at hand.

person holding a bottle of water and a phone charger
Utilize a moving day kit to avoid unexpected purchases.

Following These Tips Will Help You Stretch Your Moving Budget!

Even though moving is a difficult and expensive task, there are still ways of surviving it. As you can see, it’s not impossible to stretch your moving budget. Moreover, by following our tips, it is easily manageable. Of course, for any moving-related help, you can always find help by contacting us. Best Cross Country Movers is here to help you any time of the year!

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