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4 Frugal Ways to Move

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moving dayI’m not a big fan of moving. Every year for the first six years of my marriage, I moved. We moved across the country twice, and we moved houses in town. It was not pleasant. However, we’ve been in our current home for almost six years, and mu husband is applying for university jobs.

This means we might be moving. Even though we’ve tried not to get weighed down with too much stuff, the reality is that we’ve got more stuff now than we had when we schlepped it to Syracuse, New York for grad school.

So, I’m digging deep, and trying to remember the things we did to save money during our several moves earlier during marriage. Here are 4 of the frugal ways I came up with to move:

1. Take Less With You

Even though we’ve tried to limit the amount of stuff we’ve acquired, it still adds up. So, before we get ready to move, we’re already going through what we have and taking some of it to the local charity store, as well as giving it away. Not only does it make it easier and less expensive to move, but we get a tax deduction for donating our goods.

Make sure that you are careful about what you get rid of, though. You can negate the moving savings if you have to buy new (more expensive items) to replace what you left behind.

2. Get Help from Family and Friends

The classic way to save money on moving is to get help from family and friends. Even when we moved cross-country, we still got help with the packing and the cleaning. For an in-town move, we rented a small U-Haul moving van for the day and my parents and brothers helped us shuttle loads between the houses.

3. Drive Yourself

Many movers find it inexpensive to rent a moving truck and then drive themselves. This can be effective for moves within regions, and moves in town. When you do all the packing and driving, you don’t have to pay someone else for their time.

However, you do need to make sure you can handle driving a large truck. Additionally, you might need a trailer to pull your car, if you don’t want to spend the money on gas for separate driving arrangements, or if you don’t want to be in the cab of the truck alone.

4. Pack Yourself, Let Someone Else Drive

It’s been a long time since we moved back across the country, but for both of our cross-country moves, we did the math and discovered that it was cheaper for someone else to drive our stuff across the country. There are companies like ABF UPack (this is what we used) and PODS that can give you a hybrid moving experience. You pack all your own boxes, and load them into the truck. Then, you pay for someone else to drive. We figured that by the time we paid for gas, truck rental, and hotels for a cross-country move, this method was slightly cheaper — but much more convenient.

How do you save money when it’s time to move?

Image: idogcow

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10 Responses to “4 Frugal Ways to Move”

  1. If you can get your new company to foot the bill, that’s the best of all!

  2. Those are all good ideas. In all my moves I tended to do the take less with me option. I would get rid of the vast majority of what we owned. It was actually cleansing.

  3. bloodbath says:

    Having moved 5 times to 3 different states in the last 9 years I’ve found it easiest to use the POD system. I take as long as I want loading my stuff into the POD then I call them to move/store the POD. I take my time moving a few personal possessions to the new location and I have the POD delivered when I’m ready to move in. It’s all streamlined and convenient

  4. admiral58 says:

    I try to pack myself as much as I can.

  5. One thing I do to keep my move frugal is find free boxes.

  6. Suzanne says:

    I’m facing the decision of what to take with me on an international move. I think I want to just get rid of everything due to the cost of shipping not to mention stress of schlepping. So your point in #1 really appeals to me.

  7. Deb says:

    The last two moves I have packed myself, rented a truck and hired 4 high school boys to load and unload the truck. This has worked out well for us.

  8. Shirley says:

    My parents moved while my brother was in the service. Friends and family moved everything for them and somehow along the way the box containing all of his shoes was lost. It became a family joke that when he went into the Navy “they moved and threw away my shoes”. :-)

  9. Michael says:

    Having recently moved and downsized, shedding 15 years of possessions was truly uplifting. Selling, giving and disposing was the trick, and now I have so much less to deal with.

    I didn’t realize the cost of hanging onto stuff “in case” you need it, it’s much cheaper to get rid of so much stuff, live in a smaller space, and rebuy, or download the occasional thing you needed “in case”. Sold all my DVDs for about 3 years worth of Netflix subscription for example.

    (For eco-folks, recycling and donating/gifting were the primary disposal method, and the smaller space precludes too much new consumerism)

    Of course your mileage may vary this is just one man’s thoughts….

  10. ddh says:

    Having just moved this month – though to be fair, it was an in-state move, just 2 hours south of our (then) current residence – and here are a couple of things we did to reduce the expense of the move:
    1) move the things you can, yourself — my wife is a petite lady, so that shortened the list of what we could move, but we still were able to move a remarkable amount of stuff ourselves
    2) rent a truck – we made two trips on two separate weekends and rented a 17′ truck and a 24′ truck
    3) take your time (if you can) – we did this move “a little at a time” mostly because we could (our house is paid off) so we’re not under any deadline to be out of our old house
    4) for what’s left, hire movers – the last “little bit” was actually pretty small in terms of number of items, but it was large in terms of size . . . basically all of the heavy stuff the wife and I could not move; ultimatley this was the single largest expense of our move, but still quite worth it when measured against the potential for sore muscles, injuries, and dinged/dented furniture (professional movers actually DO know what they’re doing and tend to be much better at avoiding bumps, nicks and dents on walls and furniture)
    5) ask family and friends for help – we did this sparingly because, well, we’re in our 40s and frankly, no one *really* wants to help you move
    6) we had boxes left over from the last move, so that was helpful

    Stuff we didn’t do that we absolutely SHOULD have done:
    1) have a garage sale before hand – get rid of everything that you really don’t want to waste time moving . . . nothing lends clarity like the exertion (and cost) of moving something you haven’t used in 3+ years
    2) plan your food and pantry purchases around the move – moving canned goods or items we had recently bought six (“because it was one sale”) proved to be a pretty surprising pain in the @$$
    3) de-clutter before you move — along with #1 above . . . if you or your spouse tend to, er, let’s just call it “accumulate” things and not say goodbye to them, make an effort to go through those things before you move; again, move LESS STUFF

    Lesson for the future:
    I think the single biggest thing that struck me with this move (we haven’t moved in 12+ years) is just how much “stuff” we’ve accumulated that we absolutely do not need, do not use on a regular basis. My wife is a bit of a clutter-er (every horizontal surface NEEDS to have a nick-knack on it) and I collect movies and music. The reality hit us both, when we started to load (and count) all of the boxes associated with her nick-knacks and my collections. Did we really NEED this stuff? How often were we actually USING it, if ever? The big “ah hah” moment for me was understanding that buying something (i.e., a blu-ray movie or music CD) is only a small portion of the “total cost of ownership” – factoring in the space it takes up, the other things you need to buy to hold said collection (like furniture), and just the mental overhead associated with having a lot of “stuff”. As with all things YMMV.


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