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By Ryan Cox
Director, Allied Consumer Moving
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Tips for Moving on a Budget: How to Move Cheaply

Moving to a new home can be both exciting and stressful, especially when considering the costs associated with relocating. For many people, sticking to a budget is crucial during this transition period. By implementing a few resourceful strategies and keeping a keen eye on expenses, it is possible to move without breaking the bank.

The first step in moving on a budget is to create a detailed plan that outlines expected expenses. This includes costs related to hiring movers or renting a moving truck, purchasing packing supplies, and securing a deposit for your new living space (possibly even the first and last month's rent). Keeping track of everyday expenses during the moving process can be helpful in ensuring you stay within your budgetary limits.

Adopting cost-saving measures, like repurposing existing items as packing materials and sourcing free moving boxes from local stores, can significantly reduce the overall cost of your move. Being strategic about the timing of your relocation can also have an impact, as moving during off-peak times might result in lower rates from movers or truck rental companies. Staying organized and resourceful will allow for an efficient and budget-friendly move.

Planning and Preparing

Establish a Moving Budget

Establishing a moving budget is crucial for staying organized and on top of your finances. Consider factors such as [moving expenses, savings, and credit cards] to determine how much you can afford to spend. Make a detailed list of all costs, including moving company fees, packing supplies, and additional expenses like utility setup or temporary lodging. Include a contingency fund of 5% of your total estimated moving expenses to cover any unexpected costs.

Create a Moving Checklist

Creating a moving checklist helps keep you organized and ensures you don't forget any

  • Researching moving companies and gathering estimates
  • Updating your address with banks, subscriptions, and credit card companies
  • Canceling or transferring utilities and services
  • Packing essentials and personal belongings

Divide the moving checklist into categories such as documentation, receipts, and contact information. This will make it easier to keep track of important items and reduce stress during the move.

Choose the Right Moving Date

Selecting the right moving date can have a significant impact on your moving expenses. Here are a few considerations to help you choose the best moving date:

  • Avoid moving during peak months (typically May through September) to save on moving company expenses, as prices tend to be higher during these months.
  • Consider moving in the middle of the month, as many leases expire at the end or beginning of the month, and moving companies may charge higher rates during those periods.
  • If possible, choose a weekday to move, as weekends tend to be busier for moving companies, which may result in higher rates.

By following these tips for planning and preparing, you can successfully move on a budget and avoid unnecessary expenses.

Packing and Decluttering

Gather Packing Materials

Reduce moving costs by gathering free or low-cost packing materials. Ask friends or family for any unused boxes they may have, and visit local businesses to inquire about obtaining discarded boxes. Additionally, consider using packing supplies already available in your home, such as towels, blankets, and clothing, to protect fragile items. Bubble wrap and packing paper are great investments for added protection during the move.

Sort Your Belongings

Before packing, sort through your belongings room by room to determine what to keep, donate, or toss. Decluttering before a move helps save money on moving expenses and makes the unpacking process smoother. In each room, create separate piles for items to keep, sell, donate, or discard. Be sure to purge heavy items, such as books and tools, as they can add significant weight and cost to your move.

Sell, Donate, or Toss Unwanted Items

Organize a garage sale or list unwanted items for sale online to recoup some moving expenses. Donate items you cannot sell to local charities or thrift stores, and dispose of items in poor condition responsibly. This process helps not only reduce your moving costs but also make a positive impact on the environment.

Pack Smartly and Efficiently


Utilize the trash bag method for clothing: Place trash bags around clothes while they are still hanging in the closet, tie up the top, leaving hangers sticking out. This strategy allows for easy transport and rehanging at your new home.


Disassemble and pack small appliances, such as blenders and coffee makers, carefully in labeled boxes. Wrap breakable items, like dishes and glassware, with bubble wrap or packing paper, and place them in smaller moving boxes.


Pack office supplies, including documents and electronics, in separate labeled boxes. Use smaller boxes for heavier items, like books and files, to distribute weight evenly and reduce the risk of box damage during transport.

General Packing Tips

  • Use uniformly sized moving boxes for easy stacking and organization in the moving truck.
  • Label each box with its contents and the room it belongs to in your new home.
  • Fill empty spaces in boxes with clothing, towels, or packing paper to prevent items from shifting.

By implementing these tips, you can make packing and decluttering a more manageable task while reducing moving costs.

Finding Affordable Moving Solutions

Compare Moving Companies

When planning a move on a budget, it's essential to research and compare various moving companies. Start by gathering quotes from reputable companies specializing in different moving services, such as professional movers or moving containers. Be sure to examine the details of each quote, including the services provided and any additional fees that may apply. Comparing multiple options can help you find the most cost-effective solution for your specific needs.

Consider DIY Moving Options

A do-it-yourself (DIY) move can be a more affordable option for those looking to save money. Renting a moving truck or a moving container can be a cost-effective choice, especially for shorter distances. When choosing a truck rental, consider the size and trip distance to determine the most efficient option. Remember to enlist the help of friends and family during the moving process to reduce labor costs.

Some DIY moving tips to consider:

  • Find free packing boxes from local businesses or online classifieds
  • Rent moving equipment, such as dollies and furniture pads, to protect your belongings
  • Plan your packing and moving timeline to avoid last-minute stress

Look for Discounts and Deals

There are numerous opportunities to save money when moving. Many moving companies offer discounts, such as seasonal promotions, student discounts, or exclusive deals for certain affiliations. Be sure to ask about any available discounts when requesting quotes or booking services.

In addition to company discounts, explore other cost-saving alternatives, such as:

  • Scheduling your move during off-peak times (weekdays and off-season)
  • Utilizing rewards or cash-back offers from credit cards when making moving-related purchases
  • Check for discounts on truck rentals or moving container companies through your insurance, employer or AAA membership

By comparing moving companies, considering DIY options, and seeking out discounts and deals, you'll be well on your way to a more affordable moving experience. Keep in mind that thorough research and preparation is key when managing a successful move on a tight budget.

Handling Specialty Items and Electronics

Packing Specialty Items

When moving on a budget, it's essential to handle specialty items carefully to avoid damage. Start with the oversized items in your home like furniture, bedding, and specialty items (e.g., pianos, pool tables, desks, etc.). Consider using household items such as sheets, blankets, towels, and t-shirts as padding instead of packing paper, peanuts or bubble wrap. This helps cut down on additional moving expenses while ensuring that fragile items are well protected. Layer and cover items properly.

During the packing process, prioritize appliances and items that need expert advice. You may want to consult an expert for dismantling and packing larger appliances like washing machines and refrigerators. This ensures they are packed safely, reducing the risk of damage during transit.

Disconnect and Pack Electronics

When packing electronics like computers, video equipment, and tech devices, bear in mind a few important steps. First, take batteries out of all electronics and remotes to prevent overheating and leakage. Keep all batteries together in one place and charge up rechargeable batteries a couple of days before moving. Additionally, eject CDs, DVDs, and Blu-rays from devices and tape the drives shut.

Find original boxes if possible, as these provide the best fit for electronics in terms of width and height. This helps save time and money, as you won't need to search for alternative packaging materials or boxes.

To keep cables and cords organized and avoid tangles, label and pack them separately from the electronic devices. This makes setting up easier at your new place, saving time and effort. Moreover, remember to back up important data on computers and other digital devices before moving, ensuring that personal information and files are safe.

In summary, handling specialty items and electronics on a budget requires proper planning, creative solutions, and prioritizing the safety of your belongings. By following these tips, you can ensure a successful and cost-efficient move.

Settling In and Miscellaneous Tips

Mail Forwarding and Internet Service

Sorting out mail forwarding with the postal service beforehand is crucial for ensuring that important mail is not lost or left behind. To set up mail forwarding, simply fill out a change of address form online or in-person at your local post office. Additionally, make it a priority to arrange for internet service installation at your new home. This can usually be done by contacting your current service provider or shopping around for deals with new providers in the area.

Enlist Help from Friends and Family

Moving on a budget is made easier when you enlist the help of friends and family. Reach out to people close to you and coordinate schedules to have them assist with packing, transporting items, or other moving tasks. Not only will it help cut down on moving expenses, but it will also make the process more enjoyable.

Stay Organized After the Move

Once everything is at your new home, it's essential to stay organized. Creating a moving checklist is a helpful way to keep track of tasks and deadlines both before and after the move. Here are a few things to consider for your checklist:

  • Transfer your utilities, such as electricity, gas, and water, to your new address.
  • Register your pet(s) with local authorities and update their microchip information if applicable.
  • Research nearby medical facilities and transfer any necessary health records.
  • If you have children, make sure you have arranged for their enrollment in a new school.

Also, bear in mind the details that are specific to the moving industry. Take time to review any contracts or agreements with hired movers, making sure that all terms are clearly understood.

Finally, remember to settle into your new home smoothly by unpacking essential items first and gradually organizing your space.

At Allied Van Lines, we have been moving individuals, families, and companies for over 90 years. Request an Instaquote for a no-obligation instant estimate on your moving costs.