The cheapest option by far?
Doing it yourself (DIY) - which is what I’ve done in the past.
If you want to do the move yourself, get the best deal on a moving truck rental.
But DIY moving may not be realistic for everyone...
If you’re using a moving company, shop around for the best deal and use a reputable company with adequate insurance. You may also want to consider getting your own moving insurance.
Whatever route you choose, consider these tips to save money on moving expenses.
DIY Moving Cuts Your Costs
No question about it:
The biggest way to cut your moving expenses is to do the move yourself.
First things first: Find a low cost moving truck rental that is big enough to fit all your belongings.
Moving trucks usually range in size from 10’ to 26’. The size of truck you need depends on how many rooms are in the home you’re moving from: 10’ for an apartment, 15’ for 1-2 rooms, 20’ for 2-3 rooms, and 26’ for 4 rooms or more.
On top of the initial truck rental, you’ll also want to factor in the mileage fees – which are usually a set rate per mile that the truck company charges.
When we moved into our current home (from a 2 bedroom apartment) we used a 14’ truck. Since the move wasn’t a long distance (about 10 kilometers within the same city), it cost about $140.
Hiring movers to do the move would have been much more expensive. I was fully capable of doing the move myself, so I decided to not use movers to save money.
A word of caution about a DIY move – make sure you properly factor in your time.
For our move, what I originally thought would be a one day affair turned into 3 full days.
The move itself went relatively smoothly but extra tasks took up way more time than expected. Things like packing items that aren’t already boxed, cleaning up after the move, unpacking all those boxes, and finally setting up at the new place.
If you’re looking to rent a moving truck, you can find rates for U-Haul truck rentals near you.
Get Cheap Moving Truck Rentals with Supply and Demand
Moving truck rentals are highly sensitive to supply and demand. So you’ll want to play around with your rental dates to make sure you get the lowest possible rate.
Near the end of any month, or on a weekend, demand is higher so prices rise.
When I moved, I rented the truck in the middle of the week which saved about 30% when compared to the same truck rental on the weekend.
If possible you should consider moving mid-week in the middle of the month – this is when demand and prices are lowest.
Be sure to get quotes from several companies and shop around for the best deal.
How to Choose a Moving Company
A DIY move has some drawbacks that moving companies don’t:
- lots of physical work,
- the move takes up a lot of time (you may need to take time off work just to move), and
- you are responsible for making sure all items are not damaged/misplaced during the move.
When choosing a moving company, make sure you check out their current rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Then, search for them online to find customer reviews. Finally, ask about their policy for unsatisfied customers.
When it comes to moving companies, the cheapest option isn’t always best.
Shop around online to get quotes from multiple companies and ask if they match competitor prices.
Ideally you’re looking for a reputable company that meets the following criteria:
- a long-standing history of good service,
- affordable rates,
- a good rating with the BBB, and
- adequate insurance in the event items are damaged or lost.
Moving insurance is available as an option to protect your goods from being lost, stolen or damaged throughout the process of the move.
It depends on your personal situation whether moving insurance would be a worthwhile investment.
It might be worth considering if you are moving expensive items, precious jewelry, antiques, or if you are moving items that are expensive enough and can also be easily broken if moved improperly.
When I move, I don’t usually buy moving insurance for the simple reason that I don’t have anything of high value or expensive things that can be easily broken. In the last move, I did almost all the moving myself and was able to keep track of everything before and after the move – so I didn’t have to worry about theft either.
But for those who are considering purchasing moving insurance here are a few tips:
- When hiring movers for insurance purposes, record all the facts before the move occurs. You’ll need a detailed, itemized list of everything to be moved – as well as the current condition of each item and photos for higher-end items. This ensures you can prove the item existed if it goes missing or that it was in good condition beforehand if anything gets damaged.
- Report any damage as soon as possible after the move – this means you’ll have to unpack and inspect your items, especially the expensive ones, to make sure there is no damage.
- Before selecting a moving company, check that they have liability insurance in the event the moving company damages items while moving. Note the maximum amount covered.
- Before the move occurs, make sure you compare the moving company’s list of items to be moved (and values) to your own. In the event of a claim, the insurance company may use the list from the moving company, not yours, which can be problematic if some items are missing or are assessed at a lower value.
- Before selecting a moving company, ask them about the process for submitting a claim. A google search could also give you a better idea of how they have performed in the past and whether previous customers have had claims issues.
Related: 10 Ways to Save on Home Insurance
More Money Saving Moving Tips
Here are some quick tips to save money on moving expenses:
- Make a moving budget that outlines all the costs so you won’t be hit with unexpected bills after you move. Be sure to include:
- the cost of hiring movers (if applicable)
- moving truck rental (if applicable)
- packing materials
- pet and child care
- storage locker costs
- hotel/temporary housing
- extra charges for oversized items
- Look for free alternative sources of packing materials rather than buying them. Grocery stores can have excess milk crates they will give away, and fast food restaurants often have boxes they will give you. Be sure to ask a manager when enquiring and be willing to wait, as they might not have the boxes right away, but will have them sometime soon.
- If you have items that need to be in plastic containers, consider buying rubbermaid containers at a store like Wal-Mart and keep them for future use. They’re stackable so they don’t take up much space and they can be used for storing items and future moves.
- If you are moving for work to be closer to a new job or as a student, then you can deduct your moving expenses from your income to save on taxes. You can even carry forward the deduction to future years if you don’t have enough income to claim the full amount right away. You can also check out my post last year about maximizing moving expenses on a tax return.
A DIY move can save hundreds, and potentially thousands compared to using a moving company. When moving your own items you’ll want to shop around for the best deal on a moving truck – and prices can fluctuate depending on the time of month.
If you end up hiring a moving company, do your research on the moving company. A quick google search and the Better Business Bureau is always a good idea. You should be looking for a large company that has a long reputation of satisfied customers – and that may not always be the cheapest option.
What are some of the ways you’ve cut costs on moving?
Share your tips below - including as much detail as you can.