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Moving not only induces sufficient amounts of stress, but it can also come with a pretty hefty price tag. Plan ahead for your upcoming move and save money with these price-cutting strategies:
Get Rid of Stuff
Whether you’re hiring a mover or renting a truck and going it alone, a good way to reduce moving costs is by doing a thorough purge of your belongings prior to moving day. Looking around, most of us accumulate things we don’t really have a use for. Now’s the time to dig through all of your crammed shelves and overstuffed closets and figure out what you need and what can be tossed. Movers typically charge for moves based upon the weight of the shipment, while the size and price of a rented moving truck depends on the amount of stuff you have to squeeze into it. Cutting down on your stuff now will save money on both counts. Plus, it means fewer boxes to unpack when you get to your new home.
Don’t Move During Peak Times or Seasons
Movers are notoriously busy from May to August. This is the peak moving time due to warmer weather and school schedules. Because of increased demand, moving companies normally hike up their rates during summer months. Additionally, weekends also tend to book up quickly because it’s more conducive with most people’s work schedules. If at all possible, take advantage of moving during off-season, off-peak times. Many moving companies will offer reduced rates to keep their trucks and employees busy during the slower times.
Get Free Packing Materials
Packing materials can really add up. The typical American home is around 2600 square feet, with an average of 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, which is quite a bit of room for things to accumulate. A typical house this size would require 45 medium boxes, 31 large boxes, 13 x-large boxes, 9 picture boxes, and 4 wardrobe boxes, not to mention additional supplies like tape, markers, packing paper, and bubble wrap. According to information provided by moving.com, packing supplies for a home of this size would cost around $500.
The good news is, there’s no reason to spend more than a nominal amount on packing supplies. Start by asking friends and families for old boxes they’re no longer using; there’s likely someone you know who has recently moved. Local grocery and liquor stores are also a great place to score free boxes – try to get there early in the morning after the shelves have been restocked. Instead of purchasing stacks of packing paper, make due with discarded newspapers for everything with the exception of your china. For these, you may want to splurge on paper without ink as newsprint can stain the surface of dishes. Finally, get creative with using clothing and towels as extra padding for your breakables. Not only will this save you money, but it will also cut down on wasted space in your boxes.
Do as Much as You Can Yourself
Many moving companies offer full service moves, where professionals handle all of the moving logistics, including the packing and unpacking. These services, while convenient, are really pricey, so try to do as much of the work as you can yourself. To avoid being overwhelmed when moving day arrives, you can start the process early. About a month out from your move, start boxing up clothes and other items that are out-of-season. Now is also a great time to pack up those kitchen appliances and garage gadgets that rarely see any use. If you set a goal of packing a little bit each week leading up to your move date, you’ll be surprised at how easy the packing process can be.
In addition to packing yourself, many people opt to complete the entire move themselves, enlisting family and friends to help as necessary. Companies like U-Haul and Penske make it easy to rent and drive a moving truck yourself, while PODS offer affordability without having to do the driving. Any of these methods of moving may save money.
But Consider the Value of Your (and Other People’s) Time
Do keep in mind that if you opt for a completely DIY move, it does come at a price. In addition to the strain and stress of handling all of the logistics yourself, keep in mind that doing it yourself will demand more of your time, plus the time of anyone you ask to assist. Time is valuable, especially during a hectic time like moving, so it may be worth it to you to invest in professionals. Additionally, movers are trained and skilled in the art of moving – they know just how to hoist that couch down three flights of stairs and how to move that antique wardrobe without breaking it to pieces. Friends and family may not have the strength or expertise needed for handling some of your trickier items, which could make for a very unfavorable moving experience. Plus, in the event that something happens, you won’t be protected like you would with a licensed and insured mover.
Take a Deduction
If you are moving long distance for a job, but aren’t getting reimbursed by an employer, you may be able to take a deduction for moving expenses on your tax return. Additionally, if you donate the items you purge, you can take a charitable contribution deduction for the value of those items. Make sure to keep receipts and provide the information to your CPA when tax time rolls around so he or she can help determine whether or not you qualify for the deduction.