Moving to a new home can be exciting, exhausting, and expensive! To keep more money in your pocket, leverage these budget-friendly tips.

1. Pick the Best Time

Moving is a seasonal business. Whether you’re renting a truck or hiring a moving company, you’ll find the best values between October and April, compared to the peak summer season.

You can also save money by moving during the week, rather than over a weekend.

2. Lighten Your Load

The more stuff you have, the more it will cost to move it. If you haven’t eliminated things you no longer need, do that now.

Start with larger pieces, like furniture, area rugs, and appliances. But don’t stop there. In most homes, smaller items like books, games, utensils, tools, clothing, and toys add up to physical bulk that surpasses the furniture.

Use a color-coded system to determine what to take and what to relinquish. When planning your move, be sure to cull any collections hiding offsite in storage units or with nearby family and friends.

If you are hiring a mover, note that their costs are based on weight and/or the number of boxes to be moved, as well as the distance between your old house and your new home.

3. Economize on Boxes

Your most expensive option is to purchase boxes from a moving company. Professional moving boxes are usually heavyweight, sturdy, and offer excellent protection for your things. They do not, however, protect your budget.

For the same caliber box without the price tag, consider purchasing used moving boxes. Some moving companies offer these to their customers.

You can also find them in classifieds ads, on Facebook Marketplace, on Craigslist, or by posting your own “wanted” ad on these platforms. Sellers may also be able to offer used bubble wrap, paper, and packing materials, adding to your savings.

If you are planning use free boxes, acquired locally, be sure they can be sealed entirely, are in good condition (no rips, tears, stains, etc.), and are a manageable size. Liquor stores often have stronger boxes, but you may also be able to find them at local variety stores, grocery stores, or big-box stores.

4. Pack It Yourself

It’s a labor-intensive undertaking, to be sure, but personally packing all your items can significantly reduce moving expenses.

If you’re using a moving company to complete the move, recognize that they will inspect your boxes to be sure they are correctly packed and may require repacking to ensure the safety of the contents.

Be sure to use enough paper, bubble wrap, and other packing materials, so the contents don’t shift or rattle. Use boxes that are clean and undamaged, seal them completely, and label them clearly, including a destination room and short description of the contents.

5. Save Your Receipts

If your employer or the military is reimbursing your move, be sure to save all receipts for expenses directly related to your move. On average, local moves can cost over $2,000, and long distance moves can top $4,000.

Regarding federal taxes, it’s important to note that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) of 2017 suspended the deduction of moving expenses(link is external) for tax years 2018 to 2025. However, the suspension does not apply to active duty military personnel who must relocate to accept a new permanent change of station.

6. Shop Around for the Best Mover

Get apples-to-apples bids from several companies. Be sure to read reviews before finalizing your decision. Check ratings on Google Local listings and query the Better Business Bureau(link is external) for complaints and open cases.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration(link is external) receives over 4,000 fraud complaints each year related to interstate moves, primarily related to lost items, damage to property, or overcharges. Doing your homework will help you find the best price and select a reputable company.

Although most moving companies offer insurance, you may want to compare their price with similar coverage from your personal insurance agent. Some homeowners policies include moving insurance, while most require a rider policy to cover moves.

Larry Mitchell, Texas Realtor


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