6 Money-Saving Moving Hacks To Make Your Move Cheaper (and Easier)
Moving to a new home is an expensive undertaking, even in the best of circumstances. It's also stressful, with nearly two-thirds of adults saying that moving house was their most stressful life event.
It's not surprising that the costs associated with moving can compound stress levels. So, it makes good sense to plan ahead. It's also good to find ways to save money if you're planning to move. There are quite a few moving hacks you can utilize to cut costs when moving to a new home.
1. Look for deals, discounts and incentives
Discounts are hard to find in today's competitive market. But markets with increases in inventory or a high number of new apartment buildings will sometimes offer move-in incentives. Look for things like a discount on the first month's rent or a discount if you pay rent early each month.
Move-in specials are typically a one-time, limited offer. They're meant to increase demand and attract new renters. If you're planning a move but haven't locked down a new rental yet, keep an eye out for offers like waived application fees, reduced security deposits, first-month rent discounts or deals on longer lease agreements. These can all help save a few bucks during the moving process.
Several states are starting to offer incentive programs to attract new residents and help grow the workforce. For example, Vermont offers the Worker Relocation Grant Program and Alaska's Permanent Fund Dividend Division offers assistance with relocation costs. Do your research and take advantage of any relocation assistance programs that your state offers.
If your move is work-related, you can write some of the expenses off as a deduction on your federal income tax return using IRS Form 3903.
2. Tap into technology
There's an app for nearly everything in our lives these days. And finding tech that can help with your moving process is no exception. There are quite a few apps out there designed to help streamline your moving process. One you might want to try is MoveAdvisor. In addition to the free price tag, you can find reputable movers, create a moving checklist, create a home inventory (Sortly does this too - and well) and much more.
If you're looking for something more targeted for just one portion of your move, there are apps like Unpakt. This one can help you compare moving company rates. Magicplan can help you lay out your furniture and belongings in your new home's floor plan (so fun!).
3. Have flexibility with timing
If you have the luxury of choosing when to relocate, you'll likely save some money by avoiding peak moving season. It's estimated that 80 percent of moves occur between April and September, with the summer months the busiest of all.
During this peak season, demand for movers is so high that rates are much higher and availability is much lower. If you're planning to hire any sort of professional help for your move, whether that's packers, movers or cleaners, consider if you can make the move during the off-season in order to cut costs and make things more convenient.
4. Pack it up yourself
Of course, the cheapest moving hack is to do it yourself. If your budget is tight, carve some extra time out of your schedule and enlist the help of family and friends to run the packing process yourself. Don't buy premium moving boxes and packing materials. Instead, get creative with your packing materials where you can.
Save boxes from any mail orders you receive, ask friends for any old boxes they may have lying around or stop by your local grocery store to see if they have any used boxes you might be able to have or purchase for a small fee. Instead of buying packaging paper, wrap fragile items in newspaper or old clothing you were planning to donate.
5. Make money on your move
Moving is a great time to lighten your load of material possessions and downsizing is an important part of any move. Use your local platforms like CraigsList or Facebook Marketplace to sell items in good condition that other renters or homeowners might show interest in.
For smaller, cheaper items, consider hosting a yard sale to turn your “trash" into someone else's treasure. Save all of the money you make from selling items that no longer bring you joy to help offset your moving expenses. If you're looking for an app for this, try OfferUp.
If you've collected a lot of items that you need to simply throw away, recycle what you can, but also compare the costs of hauling to the landfill yourself versus renting a dumpster. Depending on how far away your closest landfill is and how many trips you'll be making, you might be able to save by renting a dumpster someone else will pick up for you.
6. Make the move easy on the kids
While this may not save you money in the short-run, it will definitely save you possible future costs from stress-related fallout! Moving with children adds a layer of complication to the process, but there are moving hacks to keep the headaches at a minimum.
Approach your move like an exciting game, rather than a burden, to keep kids smiling. Children generally don't like the unknown or feeling out of control, so involve them in the process by bringing them to showings when you are seeking a home, letting them design their new room and taking them around the new neighborhood, schools and parks ahead of time. During the moving process, think about keeping a small box of special toys readily available and make sure to have snacks on hand. If they're old enough, enlist them to help pack (see point #3).
Work smarter, not harder
Finding the perfect rental is a stressful process on its own, and moving into one is a whole new ball game. While moving is always a bit much for everyone involved, there are several moving hacks you can use to make the process easier — and cheaper — for everyone. With a little extra planning and some creativity along the way, you'll be settled into your new home before you know it.