e isn’t much that I know about reducing the stress, but between my own moves and working as a mover in high school, I’ve learned a thing or two about reducing costs. Below are my money saving tips I’ve learned while moving.
Money Saving Tips When Moving
I have moved twice now since getting married and have yet to buy moving boxes. The secret is the grocery store. Moving uses a lot of boxes, but shipping eggs, cereal, and canned goods to your local supermarket uses even more. If you ask, some stores will set boxes aside for you. Others won’t but will still let you take any empty boxes when they are stocking the shelves.
Also, think about what actually has to be boxed up and what can be packed using other means. The clothes in my dresser stay in the drawers. I just remove the full drawers when it is time to move the dresser, and re-insert when the dresser is on the moving truck. I don’t pack things like towels or blankets either, because I’ve got other uses for those.
Bubble wrap and moving blankets are very important for moving fragile and oddly-shaped items safely, except that you should use alternatives to these items first before buying or renting any. Instead of bubble wrap, use spare towels, sheets, or even t-shirts to protect fragile items when you pack them in your free boxes.
When I was a mover, we used a ton of newspaper when packing the glassware. In the weeks leading up to the move, ask friends and family to save old newspapers for you to use. Don’t know anyone that still gets the paper? When the day is over, stores rip the cover off unsold papers to return to the printer and dispose of the rest. If you figure out when they do this and go in and ask for them, you will get these day old newspapers for free.
When loading the truck, you want to protect the surfaces of your furniture with moving blankets. Instead of paying for these, use your blankets from your home.
Getting the right size truck is absolutely critical. I’ve made the mistake of getting a smaller truck than I needed. When that happens, you wind up needing to make a second trip. Since truck rentals charge by the mile, a second trip basically doubles your cost.
On the flip side, larger trucks have a higher per-day cost and use more fuel. If you rent a truck that is bigger than you need, you are wasting money and wasting gas. I once helped with a move where the person rented the largest truck available and only loaded it half full. So think long and hard about how much stuff you have, and get a friend who is good at Tetris to organize the loading of the truck.
For longer distance moves, you may be tempted to use a service like Pods. My experience is that they are much more expensive than renting a moving truck. The claim is that they are competitive when you add in the cost of fuel and highway tolls. But when my brother moved cross country three years ago, the truck, gas, tolls, and motel rooms still cost over $2000 less than the price Pods quoted him.
There is also a third option. Companies like ABF will rent out less-than-load (LTL) space on tractor-trailers. You can have them bring the trailer directly to your old and new addresses. Or, if you live relatively near one of their terminals, you can bring your stuff to them and load it there.
When I moved to Colorado, it was cheaper to rent a 16 foot truck to drive to their terminal than to pay to have the trailer brought to me. You will pay by the linear foot. Since the trailer is both wider and taller than a moving truck, you will use a shorter length then you need in the truck. That 16 foot truck filled less than 7 linear feet in the trailer.
The downside to LTL moving is that it will take longer for your stuff to arrive. I drove the distance of New Jersey to Colorado in three days, but it took 8 for my stuff to arrive.
If you are moving more than 500 miles, you are probably going to need to stop to sleep somewhere before you reach your destination. You may have friends or family along the way.
With current gas prices however, driving more than 15 miles out of your way is probably more expensive than a hotel room. Plus, there are issues of parking that big truck. That said, you may decide it’s worth it to visit loved ones you don’t see that often.
One thing that people seem to waste an exorbitant amount of money on is hotel rooms. Sure, if you are staying for a couple days, you will want to get a nicer one. But after a long day of driving, all you really need is a bed and a shower. Are you really going to go for a swim, or hit the gym? Probably not. Even free breakfast isn’t worth it if the room is $20 more expensive than a motel without it.