The only thing worse than packing up all your belongings and moving them somewhere new is figuring out how to pay for it. New rentals usually require security deposits, moving supplies can get expensive, and don’t even get me started on how much money it costs to pay someone to lug your boxes to your new digs.
Moving is stressful enough without draining your bank account. I just moved about 800 miles from Missouri to Colorado to start a new job.
Here are some of the ways I cut down on moving expenses:
DON’T PAY FOR BOXES
Moving boxes are such a racket. When you’re stressed, it’s easy to get suckered into dropping money on cardboard boxes, which can cost about $1 a piece. Buy enough boxes to hold literally all of your possessions, and the cost can get out of hand fast.
What to do instead: Hit up local stores and ask for their old boxes. Produce and liquor boxes work well because they are designed to hold heavy loads. Make sure you start looking for boxes early in your packing process. I had to run to the grocery and liquor stores on several different days to get all the boxes I needed.
GET RID OF STUFF
Depending on how far you’re moving, you’ll need to decide whether the cost of moving your items outweighs their value.
In my case, getting rid of some of my stuff meant saving hundreds of dollars on gas and a rental truck. I fit all my belongings in a trailer I could pull behind my car, rather than renting a much more expensive moving truck and towing my car down 800 miles of I-70. I calculated the cost, and it would have cost me more money to move my bed and used armoire than it would to replace the items when I got to Colorado. So I sold them both in Missouri and saved the cost of moving them and got some extra money to help cover my other expenses.
In addition to selling the bed and armoire to save space, I also unloaded shoes, clothes and a TV I didn’t use anymore. It made packing all my stuff easier, and it gave me a little extra spending cash at a time when I desperately needed it.
BUT KEEP THE ESSENTIALS
There is probably no time in your life you’ll be less nostalgic then when you’re trying to stuff all of your keepsakes into cardboard boxes, but don’t go too crazy when you’re downsizing.
It’s helpful to keep small, easy-to-pack items so you don’t have to restock completely when you get to your new place. I made sure to keep a lot of household items such as cleaning supplies, pantry items and pet supplies. These things won’t take up much room, and replacing them can be surprisingly expensive. Make sure that you’re keeping most of the things you’ll need to get your new home set up so you can avoid dropping a bunch of cash on little things you threw out to avoid packing.
FIND FRIENDS TO HELP YOU
Hiring moving help is incredibly expensive. I asked for bids from several moving companies just to see how much it would cost me, and all of them quoted me at thousands of dollars. Instead, offer to buy your friends a nice meal and some beer in exchange for their help. It will save you a ton of money. Of course, you have to return the favor the next time they need someone to help cart boxes up the stairs.