The penny pincher's guide to moving: 8 tips to reduce your costs (and stress)
Tuesday, 7 January 2020
Quick: think of all the adjectives you can use to describe your last moving experience. Laborious? Time-consuming? Mind-numbing? Expensive? A word not appropriate for mixed company?
To many people, moving is considered a not-so-enjoyable experience that takes far more time than we think it will, and can surprise us with how much it costs.
The costs can be a problem if you consider just how many people move every year. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, around 11 percent of the population moved into new homes in 2016—possibly spending more money than necessary in the process.
Here are a few clever ways to save money on your next move:
1. Clean house, sell stuff, and clean again
You probably have items you haven't used in years hiding deep in your cabinets and the corners of your closets, regardless of the size of your home. Start your moving process at least a month before you go with a deep clean. Go through everything and reevaluate what you need and what you can do without. Hold a garage sale or start selling things online.
Once you're done selling, go through your things a second time (and maybe even a third!). If you're on the fence about something, get rid of it. If you haven't worn that sweater in a year, give it away. Consider donating to your local shelter or Goodwill chapter
2. Search for free boxes
Shipping boxes purchased from moving-supply and mail-service businesses can put a significant dent in your moving budget. Instead, walk into your local hardware store, garden nursery, or grocery store, and ask if they have any free boxes. Many merchants will be all too glad to hand over a few boxes.
3. Move during off-peak times
The cost of moving can go up significantly if you decide to go during nice-weather periods. Try to time your move in the winter or late fall (approaching holiday season) for the best rates. Once you have a moving date locked down, book your movers for the middle of the month and try to negotiate for low rates. Companies are looking for work during those times, so you may get a discount.
4. Skip the bubble wrap
A roll of bubble wrap can get pricey, running from $20 to $50, depending on how much you need. Instead, use your softest sweaters to wrap dishes and other fragile items. Newspapers and magazines can also help keep your dishes and silverware safe. Stuff socks into wine glasses and layer picture frames with items of clothing. You'll save on space and expense!
5. Ship by bus or boat
Moving to the other side of the country? As long as you aren't in a time crunch, some of the cheapest ways to ship boxes is by bus. Consider Greyhound Package Express, which offers discounts for multiple boxes and up to 40 percent off for students. Moving to another country altogether? Look into freight shipping. This can take months, but as long as you have the essentials, living on an air mattress while you wait for your bed might not be so bad. Freightquote, FreightCenter, and ABF Freight, (moving on semitrailer trucks), are good places to start.
6. Ask friends or hire help
Everyone dreads the “Hey, can you help me move?" question. Sweeten the deal for your friends by offering to buy dinner and gift them furniture and clothes that you would've donated anyway. Don't want to bother your friends? Hire help through a service like TaskRabbit, a company that subcontracts with locals to aid in everything from grocery shopping to moving. They even do boxing and shipping. Negotiate rates and interview several “rabbits" to get the best deal.
7. Rent a portable moving crate
While driving a moving truck can help cut down on costs, many of these trucks may not come close to the savings you could get by utilizing a moving crate, and there are several companies that offer rentable crates. You fill it up, and the company picks it up and transports it to your new residence. Then you unload the crate and the company takes it away. This can take a few weeks, depending on distance, but the process is simple and painless. United Mayflower, U-Haul (ask for the U-Box), and PODS are good places to start.
8. Keep receipts
Moving for a job? As long as your new home and new workplace meet the IRS requirements, you may be eligible to write off your expenses on your next tax return. Be sure to keep all receipts related to your moving.
The content provided is for informational purposes only. Neither BBVA USA, nor any of its affiliates, is providing legal, tax, or investment advice. You should consult your legal, tax, or financial consultant about your personal situation. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the opinions of BBVA USA or any of its affiliates.
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