Tips on Moving and How to Move on a Budget

Brent Pittman —  12/07/2012
Yellow Moving Truck

Do you know how to move on a budget? Credit TheMuuj.

If there is anything I’m learning from this whole moving experience is that moving is expensive. We’re not in the military nor is a company paying us to move, so we have to foot the bill ourselves.

I’ve learned a few tips on moving since my family moved a good bit growing up. My dad told me they have moved to 25+ different houses. Wow! Well…my wife and I are off to a good start with our 4th move in 5 years of marriage.

I’ll share a few tips on moving and advice on how to move on a budget.

Tips on Moving: Packing and Preparing

  • Organization- If you can stay organized, moving will be much more enjoyable for everyone involved  For this move, we are trying something new and using a popular project management tool called Basecamp. They have free tool called Basecamp Classic where you can run 1 free project. Multiple users, calander, email notifications, upload documents, checklists…etc. Very useful!
  • Forward your mail- This is one of the first things to do so important documents don’t get lost in the mail. You can do this on the USPS website for a $1.00 service charge. You’ll need a credit/debit card for this.
  • Free Moving Boxes– Where do you get free moving boxes? Craigslist, FreeCycle, Grocery stores (go early in the morning), U-Haul Exchange, and a few other ideas. We got a load of free boxes from Trader Joe’s before they crushed their boxes early in a.m. Also, we scored a big hit for free boxes from Craigslist. Price for boxes= $0.00
  • Moving Truck- If you are a DIY mover, this will likely be your largest expense. For this move I priced out U-Haul and Penske. I believe Penske is the better choice vs Uhaul.
  • Get help– Don’t move alone. Line up your friends and family to help haul those boxes down 5 flights of stairs. Don’t forget the Coffee and Donuts + Pizza and beverages for the hard workers!
  • Stage your boxes- Clear a wall of your home and start stacking boxes according to size. Keeping all the boxes in one area will help on moving day.
  • Everything gets a box- If it can fit in a box–do it! Those odd shaped items are tough to fit in a the truck and will slow you down on moving day.
  • Inform your credit or debit card card company that you’ll be moving.  I learned the hard way. [Inform Your Bank if Leaving the State]

Tips on Moving: Packing Mistakes

  • Packing your tools- Keep an important box where you’ll stash tools along with nuts & bolts to put the furniture back together (I learned the hard way once).
  • Overpacking boxes- Nothing is worse than the 75 pound box of books. Uses smaller boxes for books or stuff the top portion of heavy boxes with towels and clothing to even out the weight.
  • Forgetting to label boxes- Label with the room (i.e. Living Room) and a few items on each box. Label the top and few sides in case the box is burred under other boxes.

Tips on Moving: Moving Day

  • Pack boxes before your movers come- When your friends help you to move, please please please have your boxes packed and ready to go. Remember you’ve got free help.
  • I like to load the truck myself and/or find someone who is good at Tetras to load the truck. If you don’t know how to load a truck properly here is a good guide.
  • Have someone inside directing the movers what to take and what order to take it in.
  • Have a friend or babysitter watch the kids in a room you’ve already cleared out. Safety first. Or you can put the kid in a high chair have her watch the loading action!
  • Spring for the appliance dolly and extra furniture pads.
  • Tie off your load in sections with rope or moving straps every few feet.
uhaul Lego

Do you know how to pull a trailer properly? Credit Ricecracker.

Tips on Moving: Driving the Truck

Buckle up it’s going to be a long ride. Here’s a few tips for your trek across country.

  • This is a must article if you have a trailer [How to Back up a Tailer…Like a Man]
  • Longer braking speeds- It’s going to take longer than you expect to slow down your big truck and load. Give plenty of room to stop.
  • Respect tracker trailer trucks especially on inclines and declines. Remember you’ll be sharing the road with these trucks for hundreds of miles.
  • Mind your truck’s height– Don’t get yourself into a pickle by going under low bridges or fastfood drive throughs.
  • Blind spots– Arrange your mirrors properly to avoid blind spots and be sure to signal when changing lanes.

More Moving Tips Articles I Recommend

7 Tips to Make Moving on a Budget Quick and Easy

Make Your Next Move Easier on the Kids

How to Entertain Kids in the Car– Can be applied to moving too!

I was also included in the Carnival of Personal Finance: Remember John Lennon Edition.

What moving tips or advice do you have? 

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Brent Pittman

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Brent is a financial coach and writer looking for the perfect donut. He believes personal finance should be both fun and accessible to anyone willing to learn.
  • I just moved my Dad yesterday. All of these tips we did! Only problem is my Dad is a bit of a pack-rat. So the trailer I rented was too small…

    My best advice, get rid of unwanted junk. If it doesn’t serve a purpose, you haven’t used it in a while or if it’s not pretty… Junk it! Sell on Craigslist, yard sales or donate.

  • Pingback: 5 Reasons Why Penske is Better Than U-Haul For Moving Van Rentals | On Target Coach()

  • AvgJoeMoney

    I thought I’d gotten too old for the “free pizza to help move” trick. However, when my buddy asked me to help move his mom a month ago, there I was….

  • I think the best way to move on a budget is just to stay in the same place all your life, heh. I kid, but I hate moving so much that I wouldn’t mind that.

    +1 on the appliance dolly. By far the toughest part of a move.

  • krantcents

    Good tips! Moving is a big deal, but a necessary one. You have to be careful when you pack and movers move your stuff, because you are responsible if it breaks. I think I have only one move left in me.to a single level hoome.

    • Gotta keep a watchful eye when others are involved.