If you're like most budget-conscious people, the idea of moving sets off thoughts of money being rinsed down the drain and pockets feeling flat. Moving can be expensive. The average person spends $1,170 on an in-state move! However, if you are careful with your spending, you can ensure you fall below this average. Follow these five steps to ensure you make it through your move without emptying your wallet.
Step 1: Gather free packing supplies well in advance of your move.
If you ask around at local shops, you'll certainly find free boxes up for grabs. You might even be able to find a friend who recently moved and is willing to give you their packing boxes. Don't wait until the last minute and get stuck paying top dollar for packing supplies. Start accumulating supplies about a month in advance while you still have time to find them on sale. Check out the local dollar store for items like tape, markers, rubber bands, and labels.
Step 2: Move everything in one trip.
Sometimes people try to move cheaply by taking many trips with their own small vehicles, rather than renting a moving truck. This strategy usually backfires for two reasons. First, the amount of gas and time it takes to haul an entire home's worth of contents across town in a compact car is enormous. You're likely to end up taking time off of work to finish this huge project. Second, there are bound to be items, like beds and dressers, that you have to find a friend with a truck to help you move. Add up all of the time you spend finding a friend with a truck, the money you spend buying them lunch as a "thank you" and the headache of making those plans, and you'll generally come out ahead by just hiring a moving company or renting a truck, and getting it all done in an afternoon.
Step 3: Pack your necessities separately, so you're not tempted to re-buy.
One of the costly aspects of moving comes about when you suddenly need an item during your first few days at the new place. You can't take the time to unpack 6 boxes to find it, so you're forced to buy a new one. Try to avoid this situation as much as possible by packing a separate box or two of necessities -- things you'll need in the few days after you move. This should include hygiene products, basic first aid supplies, a few outfits, and basic food prep essentials. You can also save yourself some last-minute buying by labeling your boxes well. This way, you will be less likely to eschew digging through them in favor of buying new.
Step 4: Avoid the temptation to buy anything new.
For most people, one of the biggest costs associated with moving is the new items they buy to decorate and furnish their new place. Chances are, things you're thinking of buying for your new place are wants, not needs. Make do with what you've been using in your existing home -- at least for a while until you've paid off your other moving expenses like truck rental fees and security deposits. The yellow towels from your current place might clash with your new bathroom, but they will serve their purpose -- drying you off -- perfectly fine.
Step 5: Save your food.
Don't just empty your cabinets and plan on starting fresh in your new place. You'd be surprised how much money it costs to amass a new collection of basics like spices, flour, oil, and dry goods. Pack your food supplies neatly into a plastic tote, so that they cannot be harmed by animals and moisture, and bring them to your new place. Those first few grocery bills will be a lot lower.
You will have to spend some money to move, but with the tips above, you can keep your costs under control. Overall, to move cheaply, you need to give yourself plenty of time to plan. This way, you can shop around and make sure you're getting the best deals on everything -- from your tape to your moving truck.
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