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Smart Money

How to Save on Moving Costs

Moving can be stressful and expensive, but the better prepared you are, the easier it is to have a cost-effective move. Learn ways to save some money on moving costs.

Katana Dumont • June 17, 2022

As we gear up for the summer months, one thing many of us might be preparing for is a big move. Summer is the most popular time to move, and in light of the pandemic, many Americans are moving due to COVID-related reasons. According to Forbes, there’s been a large “exodus” of people leaving heavily populated areas for less populated, “non-traditional” cities. 

The average person in America will move as many as 11.7 times in their life. So even if you aren’t preparing for a move right now, chances are you will be at some point in your life. Moving can be a very exciting life event that leads to new opportunities and a necessary change of scenery. But, moving is also known to be extremely stressful. Besides the time and energy it takes to move, the number one stress component is the cost.

Learn ways you can cut moving costs and ease some of the financial burden.

In This Article

  1. How Much Does It Cost to Move?
  2. Save on Moving Expenses
  3. How Much Should I Save Before Moving Out?
  4. FAQs
  5. Final Thoughts

How Much Does It Cost to Move?

There’s no definitive answer to this question as moving costs will vary depending on several factors. Each of the following will affect the total cost of your move:  

  • Distance of your move — You can expect to pay more the further away you go.
  • Time of year — Typically, it’s more expensive to move in the summertime because it’s peak moving season.
  • The size of your move — The amount of belongings you have will factor into your moving costs (i.e., more stuff = higher costs).
  • DIY vs. professional movers — Do it yourself will save you money but involve more time and labor.

Average Moving Costs

According to HomeAdvisor, the average price to move in 2022 ranges from $871 to $2,396, and the national average is $1,633. These amounts are based on if you were to hire professional movers for a short-distance move (under 100 miles). Of course, prices will vary by region and distance, among other things. HomeAdvisor also has an approximate moving cost calculator on its site so that you can better estimate your moving costs.

Save on Moving Expenses

There are a lot of things to consider when you are preparing for a move — and everything comes at a price. While many moving expenses can’t be avoided, there are some clever ways you can keep costs down, just as long as you plan ahead of time.

Here are 5 simple ways to save money on your next move: 

Do It Yourself (DIY) 

You may be able to save a significant amount of money by not hiring professional movers and instead opting to do the brunt work yourself (and hopefully with the help of friends and/or family). According to HomeAdvisor hiring professional packers or movers will cost, on average, $270 – $2,200. But if you do it yourself, you’re only looking at the price of the boxes, packing tape, bubble wrap, etc. And if you enlist the help of friends and family, you may want to thank them by buying them dinner. That being said, hiring professionals can relieve unnecessary stress and labor from your already hectic list of to-dos. So if you have some wiggle room with your budget, it may not be a bad idea to employ the help of professional movers. 

Insider Tip: If you do decide to go with a moving company, make sure to shop around for the best quotes. 

Cut the Costs of Renting a Moving Truck

If you can easily and conveniently move all your stuff without a moving truck, it may be your best option for saving money. But if a moving truck is essential, you’ll want to find ways to cut costs, as renting a moving truck will typically fall in the range of $1,550 to $3,250, depending on the size of the truck and the distance of your move. 

Luckily, there are many ways to save money on your truck rental move. Follow some of these helpful tips to cut the costs of a truck rental:

  • Get rid of stuff you don’t need
  • Get quotes from several truck rental companies
  • Get the right truck size
  • Check for discounts
  • Ask about price matching
  • Don’t pay for extra damage protection
  • Watch the odometer
  • Refill the gas tank before returning your truck

Insider Tip: If you’ll also need a storage unit at some point in your move, some companies offer moving truck and van rentals along with storage space, so be on the lookout for deals. 

Find Free Packing Supplies

The majority of your packing supplies will consist of cardboard boxes. Boxes can be bought at a variety of self-storage facilities, improvement stores, truck rental companies, and online. You’ll likely pay around $1 – $2 for a small box, $2 – $3 for a medium-sized box, and $3 – $4 for a large to extra-large box. But an easy way to save on these costs is to look for free moving boxes from local stores, recycling points, office buildings, and schools. You can also find boxes and other moving supplies online on sites like Nextdoor.com, Craigslist, U-Haul Box Exchange, and local Facebook groups.

Insider Tip: Specialty moving boxes, such as picture boxes and wardrobe boxes, tend to cost more than your standard cardboard box.

Utilize Discounts and Deals

Before planning your moving costs, you should look for any potential discounts and deals. You can save money by searching for online offers and discount promotions. There are also discounts out there for individuals who fall into a certain demographic, such as seniors, military personnel, students, and teachers. 

Here are some moving discount opportunities you should look into:  

  • Cash discounts — Many moving companies provide a discount if you can pay in cash. Just make sure to get a receipt!
  • AAA (American Automobile Association) membership discounts — If you’re a member, AAA can get you a discount on services such as moving trucks. 
  • Vocational discounts — Some moving companies offer discounts to teachers, military members, union members, EMTs, firefighters, and students. 
  • Online coupons — Coupon sites like Groupon and RetailMeNot can be used to find lower rates on moving companies, storage units, and moving supplies in your area. 

Choose a Less Expensive Moving Date  

Did you know the date of your move can affect the overall cost of your relocation? It all has to do with demand for movers and moving companies — the higher the demand, the more rates go up. Typically the demand for moving services is highest on weekends and during the summer months. In general, it’s best to opt for a mid-month or mid-week move, as this is typically when demand for moving companies is lowest. If you have the flexibility, it’s better to move during the week and off-season, like in the late fall and winter months.

How Much Should I Save Before Moving Out?

As you well know, moving can be expensive, and costs quickly start adding up. In order to be better prepared for these expenses, it’s highly advised that you create a moving budget. Your moving budget will depend on you and your moving needs. But in general, it’s a good idea to have at least several thousand dollars put away specifically for moving expenses. 

To set up your moving budget, start by listing out all the costs you expect to pay when it comes to your move. For example, some common expenses to have in your budget checklist include: movers, moving supplies, storage, travel fees, cleaning costs, truck rental, and moving insurance — these are just some of the things you’ll need to save for before you move.

FAQs

Are moving expenses tax deductible?

The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) updated the rules around claiming moving expenses on your federal tax return. The majority of taxpayers can no longer claim a deduction on moving expenses, and this change is set to stay in place through 2025. There are exceptions to this if you are an active military member, and if so, you may still be able to deduct your unreimbursed moving expenses due to military service. That being said, you can still claim a tax deduction on donated items. So if you plan to give away some of your belongings before a move, make sure to keep your receipts. To find out if you’re eligible for a moving tax deduction, the IRS has a tool to help.

What are some financing options for moving?

If you’re not able to pay all your moving expenses upfront, financing is your next best option. One thing you can do is apply for a personal loan. Personal loans are secured or unsecured loans that are repaid over time in installments. Personal loans offer low interest rates to borrowers with good credit. You can usually get a personal loan from a bank, credit union, online lenders, and non-bank fintech companies. Credit cards are another financing option you can use to help pay for your move — just keep in mind that credit cards typically have higher interest rates than personal loans. 

Final Thoughts

Finding ways to cut costs when it comes to your move can save you a significant amount of money. Review the items in this article and find extra ways to save on your own. By having a designated place to store your moving budget can greatly reduce the amount of stress you might be feeling. Consider opening an automatic savings account, so you can start saving for your big move each time you get paid.

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