No matter what way you look at it, moving is stressful particularly when you’re trying to pinch pennies. News flash: It doesn’t have to be that way! 

1. Plan ahead

• Take time to plan your packing & moving adventure. If you don’t, unexpected expenses will arise. A few weeks in advance, begin the search for packing supplies – tape, boxes, box labels, newsprint, bubble wrap and more. First, check out our blog post for ways to snag free boxes.

• Price shop for your tape – Walmart or an office store is not necessarily your cheapest option – storage facilities will often give you a bulk discount for buying multiple rolls of tape. An industrial packing and labeling company can also be a good source for less expensive tape.

• Consider free options for packaging materials – in the same way you collected boxes, try for packing materials. No luck? Head down to your local newspapers and ask if they have old newspapers you can have. Keep in mind that newsprint will stain. You’ll still need to buy plain tissue paper or bubble wrap. Like your quest for more affordable tape options, pursue the same for your packing materials.

• Don’t rent moving blankets. Sometimes they’ll come free with your truck rental, but if not consider an alternative option – old blankets, towels, etc. you already own. Note: if you aren’t OK with them potentially getting ripped and thrown away, don’t do it. If you’d have to replace them, then this is a false savings. And whatever you do, don’t just skip protecting furniture – you need your furniture to be in good condition after you’ve moved!

• Self-fund your own move. Okay, what in tarnation does that mean?! First, purge everything before you pack. Don’t like it? Haven’t used it in a year or more? Has it been replaced with something better? No room or use for it in your new place? Time to get rid of it! Have an online yard via Craigslist or your city/county’s community or yard sale Facebook group. Do this a month or so before you move (don’t barter your sanity and have it too close to moving day!) – this may seem simple, but not having to move something saves money. And being able to sell it save you even more money!

• Consider your options – DIY, hourly movers or flat rate movers? If you go the DIY route by renting a truck and hosting a moving party (aka pizza and soda!), you’re going to save lots of money. If you own a truck, consider renting a trailer. Keep in mind you’ll be making more trips back & forth, but for a local move this is a good cost-saving option. But if that’s not your cup of tea, you can at least save money if you pack/unpack everything yourself and only pay for the actual move. Research your moving company – it’s an industry that struggles with theft (they’ve got access to ALL your belongings!). Hourly movers may not have motivation to get the job done, which can quickly start racking up a big ol’ bill for you. Flat rate movers is a good cost-saving route for you, but make sure all your expectations are part of their services. Add-on services can get pricey when they’ve got you over a barrel on moving day.

• Know your objectives. You might not be the to-do list sort of person, but when it comes to moving you must. At least map out a general packing and moving plan so nothing is forgotten. If you’re really taking this seriously you’ll also write out a utility switch-over timeline, change of address contact list and moving day checklist. Avoiding late fees for unpaid bills can be a huge money-saver. Remembering to send in your credit application to the gas company can prevent you from paying a security deposit. Don’t underestimate a to-do list.

2. Ask, ask, ask!

Host a packing party. You know, provide pizza and soda while you & your friends enjoy an evening working together to pack up your home or apartment.

Questions are power. Actually knowledge is, but that’s only gained by asking questions. Are you renting a moving truck? If you’re moving long distance, ensure the “best deal” doesn’t have a governed engine that caps the speed at 55mph. Do you need storage space? Questions can save you lots of money in this hidden-fee industry – where booking fees, security deposits, lock removal, administrative fees, hidden price increases and so much more can pauper you. Don’t fall victim – take a moment and consider these 7 Things to Ask Before Renting a Storage Unit.

• Read your lease. Or if you’re buying a home, that too. If you don’t understand, ask! This is important for your housing, storage unit, utilities, truck rental and so much more. Contracts today are not a simple handshake – and you could be signing an agreement to more fees, penalties or other monetary liability. Don’t do it without reading and asking first!

3. STOP.

Take a moment each day for you. It may seem like a waste of time to do nothing for 30 minutes, but you might be surprised. When you come back to your project you’ll be refreshed, energized and ready to tackle the insurmountable task again!

Reset your focus. Moving is a physically draining job most don’t enjoy. That doesn’t mean you should feel like your brain is exploding. Keep a light-reading book unpacked and ready for a quiet moment with a cup of tea. You need it.