How to Move Without Going Broke

As a military brat, I find moving to be a fun and exciting experience. It’s definitely stressful but it marks a new beginning and another opportunity to make a new space feel like *home*. The not-so-fun part about moving? The cost. Admittedly it feels like there is no cost-effective way to skirt around my moving costs but there are definitely a few ways to make sure you stay on track.  

Make a budget…and actually stick to it

Moving is expensive no matter how you do it. Make sure that you outline your expenses and be realistic about what you need versus what you want. Trust me, Shannon and I know (a little too well) how easy it is to go into Ikea, certain you’ll only leave with a few items, but leave with several blue bags full of items you swear you need. It’s fun to buy new stuff you think you’ll use but make sure you ask yourself, “do I actually need this or do I just really want it?” More often than not, it’s not essential. Sticking to your budget will minimize your stress AND minimize the number of trips you’ll have to take up and down to bring more stuff in.

You don’t have to buy everything at once

When you finally get the keys to your place, it’s so much fun to imagine how you’ll lay out all your rooms. While this is well and good, be smart about planning your new purchases. I’ve seen countless friends do this: you have an idea in mind of how things will look and you need to buy everything now. It will not only wreak havoc on your wallet but it’ll also make your place look jumbled.  Your new pieces will be picked to simply fill a hole rather than waiting to find the perfect new addition that exactly fits your space and the design you had in mind. Yes, it’s great to feel like you have everything settled, but it’ll also give you something to look forward to. I’ve currently got my eye on a few headboards and a new rug.

Enlist the help of friends and family

One of my least favorite things to do is ask friends for help but asking for help moving feels like asking for a kidney. It feels awkward no one ever wakes up on Saturday morning and things, “I’d love to carry someone else’s crap up and down the stairs a million times today,” but it is the best way to save money on a move. You can return the favorite when it’s their time to move or offer up some homemade meals, drinks out, or the promise of friendship until the end of time (ha!)

… and if you can’t, ask movers to price match or give a discount

It’s not always possible to have the luxury of friends and family close by for a move but there are definitely other ways to save cash!

  • Do your research and see if companies will price-match against their competitors. If they will, look for the lowest quote available and try your hand at negotiating cost.
  • Check around to see if there’s a lower rate for a mid-week move and always always always ask about specials.  
  • The beginning of the month is always the most expensive time to hire a mover because everyone is moving and the demand is high.Before signing your lease, see if you can pitch a deal with your new landlord to adjust your move-in date to the middle of the month and pay your current place a pro-rated fee.

If you have a roommate, have a candid discussion about shared expenses up front

This definitely seems like a no-brainer, but there’s always surprise costs that show up along the way. My rule? Keep all your expenses separate if the item is over $10.  There’s no reason to split the cost of major purchases as long as you’re a on the same page about who covers what. If your roommate buys a couch, you buy new lounge chairs. If your roommate brings the kitchen chairs, you bring the table. No only will this ensure that you get to have a say in the things you’re buying but it makes it much easier should a roommate move out or if an item needs to be replaced. Wherever you live with someone new, there’s always a month or two of figuring each other out and that’s not a bad thing! Be up front about money and keep costs separate to minimize any potential tension down the line.

Above all else…

Have a good mindset about moving day. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed but make sure you take time to stop and appreciate the new and a positive step your making! 



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