Moving On the Cheap: How to Save Money When Relocating
Whether you like it or not, change is a part of life. And for many people, that change comes in the form of moving to a new home. In 2017, roughly 11% of the population relocated for a variety of reasons. From shifts in employment status to making the decision to start a family, there are all sorts of motivators that can convince people to move. And if yours is one of the 40% to 50% of marriages that end in divorce, this event might result in relocation, as well.
But while the reasons behind a move may be multifaceted, there’s a truth that tends to remain universal: moving tends to be expensive. Buying or even renting a new place can come with a number of costs, of course. Down payments and security deposits often require a hefty chunk of change, while working with a broker or realtor can also add onto your bill. In fact, you could be required to pay a real estate agent around 6% commission on the sale of the home in addition to 2% in closing costs. So it’s understandable that you’d want to save whenever possible.
When it comes time to prepare for moving day, you might be expecting a large invoice. But there are some ways to keep costs low during this stage. Here are just a few ways you can move on the cheap — without dealing with undue stress.
Hold a Pre-Packing Sale
The more belongings you need to move, the more you’ll pay. That’s why it’s a good idea to sell or donate any items you don’t actually need before you relocate. Whether you sell online, hold a garage sale, or give items away to charity, you’ll need to practice the art of letting go if you want to save. As a bonus, decluttering your home first can make the moving process a lot less overwhelming!
Don’t Move Perishable Goods
Regardless of how far away you move, you should make it a point not to move any items from your fridge, freezer, or pantry. While this might force you to spend a bit more on groceries when you arrive at your destination, you’ll probably end up saving money in the end when you factor in the potential costs of moving all that food with you. Instead, meal plan with these items in mind in the days and weeks leading up to your move. This will reduce the amount of food that goes to waste while ensuring you aren’t bogged down with cereal boxes and frozen foods that could easily go bad during your journey.
Get Creative With Packing Materials
Early on in the pandemic, home buyers and renters were advised to buy new boxes and totes to reduce the risk of viral transmission. Although we do know that it’s possible for the coronavirus to live on materials like plastic and cardboard for up to a few days, the risk of contracting COVID-19 in this matter is relatively low. Still, it makes sense to use everything you already have to pack up your home (rather than relying on free boxes from your local supermarket or liquor store). If you’ve ordered Christmas presents online, consider saving some of the larger boxes for an upcoming move. And even if you need to buy new boxes, you can avoid spending money on bubble wrap and packing peanuts by using kitchen towels, socks, bed linens, blankets, and rags for wrapping. This can allow you to cut down on necessary waste and expense.
Avoid the Busy Season
Some moving seasons (and even moving days!) are busier than others. Summer is a very popular time to move to a new home, so it’s best to avoid moving during the hotter months. Not only will you be more physically comfortable on the big day if you move in the fall or winter, but you’ll have a better selection of moving dates and will probably be able to score a better deal if you choose to hire a moving company. If you’re able, you should also consider moving on a weekday. While this may make it more difficult for friends and family to help out, you’ll have your pick of mover availability and could save even more money as a result. Even if you’re just renting a moving truck, it’s best to opt for the off-season and a weekday for these same reasons.
There’s no doubt that moving can be expensive — but it shouldn’t cause you to go into debt. By keeping these tips in mind, you can cut costs during your move and give your budget some breathing room for your fresh start.