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Save Money When Moving: 6 Tips for Moving On a Budget

Moving costs can add up fast. Here's how to reduce the amount you spend when you move into a new home.

boxes and tape

You've finally found the perfect home but now it's time for the dreaded part: moving. After shelling out thousands of dollars on a down payment or rental deposit, you're probably looking for a way to save some cash while moving.

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While you can't avoid some inevitable expenses, like buying gas and renting a moving truck, there are other ways to save money. For instance, you don't need to spend money on moving boxes or bubble wrap. 

We'll explain how you can pack up and move your belongings on a budget. For more moving tips, here's how to safely lift heavy boxes and furniture

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Sell or donate anything you don't need

Before you start packing, go through all your belongings and decide what you can live without. You could sell that old phone you've been hanging on to for years, for instance, at a site like Decluttr.

Still holding on to those old hand-me-down blankets your mom gave you when you got your first apartment 10 years ago? Consider donating them to a thrift store or passing them down to a younger family member. 

The more clutter you can clear out, the fewer boxes you'll have to pack up, and you could even get a smaller rental truck. And if you're getting rid of any items of value, selling them can help defray the cost of your move.

Forgo professional movers and ask friends and family for help

Paying someone to help you move can easily double the cost of an already expensive venture. Depending on where you live, movers may charge nearly $200 an hour. Instead, call in some favors and ask your friends and family to help you pack your things. The more people you can find to help, the less time you'll spend wrapping your plates in newspaper.

And if you have any friends with trucks or trailers, now would be a great time to ask if they could help you transport your stuff -- assuming you're not moving across the country. 

Borrowing a free truck could mean you don't need to rent a moving truck. Truck rentals usually won't cost much up front, but you still have to pay a fee per mile and supply the gas.


Save money by asking friends and family to help you move.

Zooey Liao/CNET

Pick the right time to move

While you may not always be able to control your moving date, it could be better for your pocketbook. Summer is peak moving season, which also means it's more expensive to pack up and go during this time. If possible, schedule your move during the winter months -- or even fall through spring.

Also, it's generally cheaper to move during the work week if you plan to rent a moving truck or hire movers. Rates are more expensive on the weekends.

Don't spend money on packing supplies

Why pay for boxes when you can get them for free? Use a social media site, like Nextdoor or Facebook, to ask people in your neighborhood for boxes. People are usually happy to get rid of boxes they've had lying around, waiting to be recycled. 

Speaking of recycling, check with your local recycling center to see if they have any boxes you can take for free. Those Amazon boxes you get every week can also be reused.

What about bubble wrap? Skip it. Use items you already have in your house to protect your fragile items. For instance, you can wrap your plates and glasses in towels, pillowcases or clothes -- thick socks are great for small valuables. You can also protect your stuff from breaking with layers of grocery bags. 

Sorry, but you're likely going to have to spare a little change to buy packing tape. 

Get quotes from multiple moving companies

If you absolutely need to rent a moving truck or hire professional movers, make sure you check around and get quotes from multiple companies. Some may offer lower per-mile rates, or a cheaper base rate for renting a moving vehicle.

If you book and prepay early, you may even be able to get a lower rate -- especially if you're planning on packing up during peak moving season.

Read more: Best Moving Companies for 2023

Stimulus money payments

Save money on moving expenses.

James Martin/CNET

Plan your move early

If you know you're going to be moving, start your planning months before your move date. Getting an early jumpstart will help ensure you get the best rates on moving trucks and movers, and you'll have time to shop for the best prices on all the supplies you'll need way ahead of time. Plus, the sooner you start packing nonessentials, the less stressful it'll be closer to your moving date.

Ready for even more moving tips? Here's how to clean your new home before you move in. Also, here are some tips to make your new house feel like home.

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