How to save money when you move
Despite a growing demand for these services, it’s still possible to save money when hauling your belongings from your current home to the next one. Below are moving tips for budget-conscious consumers.
Move on an ‘off’ day
Doesn’t matter if you do it on June 30 or Jan. 31—if you move at the end of the month, you’ll pay more for it. Many leases are up at the end of the month and start at the beginning, so there’s competition then for the trucks and crew to help you pack and shuttle your belongings.
Also stay away from moves on the 15th of the month, another popular move-in/move-out date. Even shifting to the 13th or 14th, when a mover has more trucks available, opens you up to ask for discounts or extras, such as free packing boxes or an extra mover at no charge.
If you can, schedule the move midweek, since weekends are popular. Check with your moving company: Weekday moving rates can be substantially lower if their employees have to be paid overtime for weekend moves.
Of course, moving in an “off” month will provide more savings. “Once October rolls around, you’re going to get a better rate.”
Book in advance
Even if your exact move date isn’t finalized, try to get penciled in a month in advance—especially if you need to move at a popular time. That will give you a little more power to negotiate.
Secure a guaranteed price
A mover may charge by the hour, use a binding estimate or charge a flat rate based on inventory. But to avoid surprises, insist on a guaranteed price in advance, in writing.
It’s worth your time: 57% of people who paid more than they expected on a move shelled out $175 to $1,000 more than they had originally anticipated, according to a survey by Unpakt, a moving services comparison pricing site and online booking tool.
Also vet companies, making sure that ones you’re considering have a physical address and licensing information. And if a company demands payment before the move or says that your goods are 100% covered by its insurance, be careful—those can be red flags that a company is trouble,
Do it yourself, but don’t underestimate material costs
Even if you have buddies helping you move your stuff for free, don’t underestimate the cost of packing materials, which can add up to hundreds of dollars. One way to save is to start collecting free boxes for weeks before your move, snagging spare ones from liquor or furniture stores. Another option is to consider online services such as freecycle.org or Craigslist for free packing materials.
Be selective in what you’re taking
If you don’t envision yourself using an item in the future, get rid of it before your move. There’s no sense in taking up square footage or weight in the truck with items that you don’t really want anyway.While you’re at it, take measurements to see what will fit in your new home.
Protect your valuables
Saving money paying on a move means nothing if your important items get lost or stolen in transit. So take care to protect these items.
The best way to move your valuables is to move them yourself, keeping them with you at all times, especially financial documents, information such as Social Security cards, and electronics that contain files with your personal information. Financial documents that are no longer needed should be shredded before moving day.
Also, change your address with your financial institutions and the post office. Identity theft is often a crime of opportunity and sensitive information on statements, mailed to your old address, could be a temptation if it ends up in the wrong hands.
One scheme currently drawing attention: Companies with websites that offer to handle your change of address for you, for a charge. The United States Postal Service does the job for $1. See the USPS website.
Keep your receipts
Some moving expenses are tax deductible. If you’re moving for a job, you may be able to claim the expenses even if you don’t itemize.