5 Tips For Reducing Your Moving Expenses

October 29, 2008

Recently, my wife and I made a long distance move from Jacksonville, Florida to Orlando, Florida. We were no strangers to moving, it was our third time making a move in four years. Hopefully, it will be our last move for a while!

Through our many moves, we’ve lived and learned about things to do and things not to do when moving our stuff from one place to another. Our philosophy for moving is to find the least expensive way to move our stuff in the most professional and less time consuming way possible. I know, this sounds like an unattainable task, but our last move came close to attaining these goals.

Here are five tips to reduce your moving expenses while still moving in a professional manner.

Check Craigslist For Moving Supplies

 If you want to move the right way, you need the right supplies. This means that you need sturdy moving boxes and good packing paper or bubble wrap. My wife was browsing through Craigslist one night, and she found a couple who was selling about 25 to 30 boxes with four wardrobe boxes. We went to go look at them, and we saw that they saved all of the packing paper to go with the boxes. So, for $20.00 we got 30 boxes and four garbage bags full of packing paper. Getting these boxes and paper really helped us pack our stuff properly and safely.

Drive Your Own Moving Truck

Using a full-service moving company is extremely expensive. Even if you want or need movers to help you load up and unload the truck, you can rent your own truck and hire movers to load up and unload. We used Budget Truck rentals, and I highly recommend them for finding the best deal. If you go online to forward your mail at USPS , you can download a 20% off coupon for a truck rental on a one-way move. Budget gave us two days to make the move and unlimited mileage. With longer moves, they will give you more days to complete the move. We only moved 150 miles away. Penske is another good truck rental company, but they tend to be a little more expensive. I would never recommend U-Haul for a long distance move. They’re trucks are old and not well maintained.

Only Drive the Truck from Point A to Point B

You’re paying for your own gas, and gas isn’t cheap right now. The Truck has a 30 to 35 gallon tank, and it only gets about 10 miles to the gallon. So, don’t do any extra riding in the truck or make any errands around town with it. It may sound like common sense, but you’ll find yourself using it to go to Home Depot and other places while you still have it. It’s not worth paying for all of the extra gas.

Recruit Help to Load and Unload

Unfortunately, we had to move on a Monday afternoon, and we could not find anyone to help us, so we used two professional movers to help us load up the truck. It was actually a blessing, because our stuff barely fit in the 16′ truck. Their expertise helped us load it up to fit everything. But, if you have friends or family in the area, getting them to help you load up and/or unload is a blessing, because it saves time and money. If you’re going to recruit help, make it a fun event. Order some food, and make it a moving party.

Move During the Week

Most people move on the weekend, so truck rental companies and moving companies will increase their rates for the weekend. Move during the week, and you’ll save on a truck rental and movers if you need help loading up or unloading the truck.

For any of you that have done a long distance move, you know that you can end up spending thousands of dollars just to move your stuff from one place to another. We like the balance saving money on moving with spending enough to get our stuff safely moved. Follow these tips and you’ll have your stuff moved safely while saving a ton of money.

We did our move for less than $600, and our budget was $750. Even though it was still a big chunk of change, nothing was damaged and we were still under budget. Do you have any tips to save money while moving? Share it with us in a comment below.


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Erik Folgate is a husband and father living in Orlando who's been writing about money online for 6 years. Digging himself out of $20k of debt after college and his former experience in the insurance industry give him some useful insights into personal finance issues.

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7 Responses to 5 Tips For Reducing Your Moving Expenses

  • LuckyMoneyCat

    Most people don;t know this but you can rent a large truck from Lowe’s for under 20 bucks for about an hour and a half. It is excellent if you are just moving down the street and a Lowe’s happens to be near you.

    the trucks are something like an F-250 with a large flattop bed and a high cage around it so you can stuff it full!!

  • marci

    Check freecycle.com also for free moving supplies, or post your want there.

    Liquor stores have a lot of boxes on delivery day – check in with them and make sure you pick up the boxes when you say you will if you’ve asked them to save them for you.

    Large lawn/leaf garbage bags make good emergency wardrobe carriers. Tape around a bunch of the hangers, stick thru a hole punched in the bottom of the bag, and tie the loose ends shut. Stack carefully and hang back up as soon as possible.

    For shorter moves, a borrowed clean out cattle or horse trailer works great 🙂

    For older folks, get your son and his friends, or your daughter and friends to help out and provide pizza and pop for the helpers.


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