How To Save Money When Moving House

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The following article is by MPFJ staff writer, Miss T from Prairie Eco-Thrifter. If you want to learn how to live your dream life in a sustainable, healthy, and money savvy way, check out her site here.

Moving house can be traumatic, tiring, and expensive. Good organization and forward planning can help to make the process easier and simpler, and there are also strategies that can save you money when moving house.

I’ve done it several times, and I’m not sure it’s one of those things that gets easier the more times you do it! However, I have learned a few tricks along the way that might be able to help you cut the costs of moving.

Money-Saving Idea # 1 – Start Early! 

The first thing is to start early. As soon as you know you will be moving, even if you don’t have a moving date yet, start making plans and getting organized. The first decision is who is going to move your household from one address to another? The sooner you start to gather moving quotes, the better chance you have of finding the best deal. Not that the cheapest quote is necessarily the best deal, but if you aren’t rushed into choosing a moving company, you at least will have time to compare quotes and make the right decision.

Make sure all the quotes you get include the same things, so you can make a fair comparison. Remember to factor in insurance; some moving companies include this in their quote, but you have to organize your own with others.

Money-Saving Idea # 2 – Can You Do the Move Yourself With the Help of Friends and Family?

Of course, if you really want to save money when moving house, you should consider moving yourself. Hiring a truck, roping in a few beefy friends, and moving your own stuff will work out much cheaper than hiring a moving company. Take into consideration your fitness and energy levels, the time you have to do the job, and the loyalty of the friends you would ask to help. You won’t save any money if you end up so exhausted you need to take two weeks off work after the move! Check out the prices from several truck hire companies and make sure you ask whether they supply a hydraulic lift with the moving truck. This piece of equipment will save you loads of time and muscle in loading and unloading heavy pieces.

Money-Saving Idea # 3 – Try to Find Free Moving Boxes Before Buying New Expensive Ones

Packing boxes are an essential part of moving house. These can be purchased from a variety of outlets, but they are quite expensive. Look online and in local newspapers for people who have used packing boxes available for sale. These are much cheaper than new boxes, and you could even find someone who is giving them away for free. This will represent a huge cash saving. When you have finished with your boxes, you can pass them on to someone else who is planning to move house. You will need different sizes of boxes to accommodate different types and weights of items. Just remember to pack heavy things, like books, in smaller boxes so you don’t lose the bottom out of a box in the middle of the street – it has happened! 

Note from Jacob: Another good place to look for free boxes (that I have personally used in my 3 moves) is liquor/beer/wine stores. They receive tons of great moving-sized boxes with their products, and always are happy to give them away for free to get rid of them.

Money-Saving Idea # 4 – Don’t Move Unwanted or Broken Household Items

Everything you need to move will cost you to transport it. This is why it is a great idea to get all family members to have a clean-out and de-clutter well before moving day comes around. You can save money by not having to move items that are not needed or are broken. Better to throw them out or give them away now, rather than pay to move them and then throw them out.

Money-Saving Idea # 5 – Pack Each Box Carefully

How you pack the moving boxes also has the potential to save you money; a badly-packed box could end up costing you money if there are breakages and you need to buy replacements. Always pack heavier things at the bottom, lighter things near the top, make sure everything is carefully wrapped in newspaper or tissue and leave no gaps. Use towels and linen as a soft buffer around the sides and top of boxes of fragile things. Anything really precious could perhaps be transported by car, rather than in the truck.

Money-Saving Idea # 6 – Perform the Thorough Move-Out Cleaning Yourself

Many people hire a cleaning company to come in and thoroughly clean their old house after they have moved everything out. This is a great idea, but it is expensive. To save cleaning costs, plan to do it yourself, gradually, over the week or two before your moving date comes around. Start packing in the room that is used the least, such as the guest room or the formal living room. As you pack up the room, move the boxes into the garage and empty the room of as much furniture as possible. Move remaining furniture into the middle of the room so you can wash down walls, windows and closets. If you can completely empty the room, all the better because then you can clean the carpets. When the room has been fully cleaned, close the door and put a sign on the door “Cleaned room; keep out.”

The more cleaning you can get done in the weeks leading up to your moving day, the less you will have to do at the last minute. At least try and get the bulk of the cleaning done so you just need to go over the floors when the house is empty.

Money-Saving Idea # 7 – Avoid Expensive Take-Out Meals on Moving Day

It is also a good idea to plan ahead as far as food for moving day is concerned. Buying take-out is expensive, so you need to think about food that you can prepare ahead of time to feed yourselves and your helpers. Remember, you will need lots of fluids during the day to replenish what will be lost through perspiration doing all that lifting and carrying. We usually have a one-dish meal prepared in advance and frozen so we have dinner ready for us when the day is finally over.

I hope these tips on how to save money when moving house will help you keep the expenses down when you come to be involved in this great adventure.

How about you all? How have you all saved money when you have moved? Have you tried any of these ideas above?

Share your experiences by commenting below!

    ***Photo courtesy of


    1. Isn't it crazy how much new cardboard boxes cost when there are so many that get thrown out each year. This is certainly a good tip.
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      • It is crazy. I often save and reuse packaging. It is so handy.
        My recent post Make Life Better for Yourself: Change Your Attitude

    2. John S @ Frugal Rules says:

      We've tried many of these when we have moved in the past. We usually like to have some friends help us and get them lunch for the help. We've never paid to have someone move us, though we might in the future now that we have the kids and might make things a little easier.
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      • We have used family and hired people. We have had a few very large pieces of furniture that had to be professionally moved. We have definitely rewarded family for helping though – who doesn't like a great dinner.
        My recent post Make Life Better for Yourself: Change Your Attitude

    3. Preparation is always the key when you plan to move. Moving is not a spur of the moment thing since it requires time and money, so you'll have plenty of time to organize your stuff. You can also ask some friends to give you old cardboard boxes in order to save money. I normally make it a point to pack carefully and mark the boxes very well since it helps to lessen the time I'll spend unpacking time because I know what I need to unpack first.
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      • myfijourney says:

        Moving can be kind of spur of the moment. My last move went like this: “Congratulations on your new job, now get here in a month!”
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      • I organize things the same way. The labels are super helpful when you go to unpack. It is definitely nicer to move at a slower pace and not rushed.
        My recent post Make Life Better for Yourself: Change Your Attitude

    4. myfijourney says:

      The number one way to save money, time, and aggravation is to move less stuff. Throw it out, donate it, sell it, or don't buy it in the first place. My new motto is, if I don't want to lug it across the country, I shouldn't buy it.

      Also you have to balance out the DIY savings with hassles involved. My last move used professional movers. I could have had friends load up a truck. But I'm not going to drive a truck across country. And I didn't know anyone here to unload it. I probably paid more, but my stress levels were minimal, which was exactly what I needed given everything else I had to do to relocate fast.
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      • I have decluttered before every move I have done. It is amazing what you find that you aren't using. I always donate it which always feels good to give back. If I am not using it and someone else can, why not.
        My recent post Make Life Better for Yourself: Change Your Attitude

    5. FinancialBlackSheep says:

      Great ideas, especially because I am thinking about selling my house and moving. There is so much to do and plan it is crazy. I love your idea of cleaning each room as you go, and no matter what I think I will start with that. Maybe pack up stuff I need to donate as I clean and go from there.
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      • Getting the cleaning out of the way as you go really helps you feel under control. Nothing is worse than looking at the entire house and having to clean it.
        My recent post Make Life Better for Yourself: Change Your Attitude

    6. We had a lot of books to move. I went to Barnes and Noble, they have great book boxes. The store by me won't hold them, but gave me permission to get them out of the dumpster. They were great.

      • I have gotten boxes from liquor stores too for things like glasses and stuff. Wine boxes work great.
        My recent post Make Life Better for Yourself: Change Your Attitude

    7. Getting free boxes can be quite a good way to save money – I've done this in the past, and it's worked out fine. Also, if hiring movers, getting them to pack for you can be very expensive. I've done it myself.__All in all, I have to say that moving can be expensive and a big hassle. A good way to save is simply to avoid moving unless you have to, or you have the means to handle everything that it entails in terms of expenses and time.

      • We have packed ourselves too. I know some people that have paid for the service but is has only been because their move was sudden. If you have the time it pays to do it yourself.
        My recent post Make Life Better for Yourself: Change Your Attitude

    8. We've always bought pizza for those who helped us move. This time, I was going to get the $5 Little Caesar's pizzas, but somehow we went to another pizzeria and plunked down $50 for dinner!
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      • $50 is still a lot cheaper than paying movers in my opinion.
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