You will hardly surprise anyone by stating that moving home is an expensive affair – it’s a well-known fact even to small kids. However, say out loud that you are familiar with multiple proven ways to cut moving costs and you’re guaranteed to have your listeners’ full attention.

Everybody wants to invest into their respective home moves as little money as they possibly can. And how could one blame them?

If you yourself are moving on a tight budget, then you are in luck, for here are the top 12 ways to save money on your move by greatly cutting your moving costs.

1. Save money by saving time

Let’s rely on some logical reasoning for our first piece of advice on how to reduce moving costs: if time is money, then saving time should also enable you to save money. Right? Logic says this statement must be valid but can you really use time as your ally to help you move on a tight budget?

Failure to organize your time properly will cause you to fall behind your moving schedule, and that in turn may force you to look for extra moving labor to fit the deadline. Consequently, extra labor means extra money out of your pocket, of course.

Follow a good moving checklist to stay on track until your professional movers arrive. Keep your morale fairly high by using a detailed to-do list that contains all the important tasks you just have to complete prior to Moving day.

See also: Moving timeline to organize your time and save money  

2. Set up a moving budget

Remember that your goal is to stay in complete control of your finances through all stages of the moving process. When looking for good ways to cut moving costs, you should first know what those expenses are, and then figure out how to reduce moving costs in your particular case.

How to budget for a move? Your moving costs checklist will look something like this:

  • Moving company expenses. Paying professionals to transport some or all your household goods will be the biggest expense. The price will be determined based on the movers’ tariff, move distance, total weight of goods for transportation, additional services, and extra charges and fees.
  • Self-moving expenses. Are you really up to the challenge? Factor in all the expenses for renting a truck, purchasing or renting moving equipment, buying packing supplies, all the hidden DIY costs, and any risks of injury and damage.

Create a moving budget to monitor your moving expenses and be ready to intervene whenever necessary.

3. Be smart about your relocation choices

Every household move differs in terms of reasons, parameters, circumstances, and costs. For example, even if you and your next-door neighbor were to move to the same city in the same destination state, your moving costs would most likely differ substantially.

One of the best ways to cut the cost of moving is to make the right choice as far as relocation assistance is concerned. For example, if you’re moving across town or to a neighboring city with few household items and a good number of friends willing to give you a hand, then organizing and executing a self-move is the smart choice enabling you to save money on your move.

On the other hand, the best way to save money on a long distance move is to employ the services of an affordable interstate moving company that will take care of all the relocation details for you.

Remember: the greater the move distance, the more professional services you will need.

4. Get your moving costs estimated

No matter how hard you try, you’ll find it impossible to calculate your house moving costs with any satisfactory degree of accuracy. And to be able to trim moving costs, you first need to know what they are, right?

But how to estimate moving costs?

Use a moving cost estimator to get in touch with professional moving companies that service your route and can accommodate the move on the date you requested. Once you’ve established that initial contact, you must have the moving experts come to your home to inspect visually the items you intend to move to the new home. The so-called in-home survey is the best way to have your moving costs estimated with the accuracy you need.

When the moving company representatives finish the survey, they will provide you with written moving cost estimates – exactly the thing you need to select a low-cost mover.

5. Pick a low-cost moving company

Without a doubt, one of the best ways to cut your moving costs is to select an affordable moving company – that is, a cheap mover that will still offer high-quality moving services. This may sound like an impossible mission at first, but you’ll soon find out that you can make it possible by comparing the cost estimates you just received.

Do your homework right and you will be rewarded with reasonable moving costs that will leave a smile on your face. Yes, moving house is an expensive affair but as long as you are familiar with various little ways to save money when moving, your home move shouldn’t cause you to go bankrupt either.

Compare the movers quotes carefully – pay special attention to the additional services and their respective rates. If you happen to get an estimate that is way lower than the rest, do take the good news with a grain of salt because that could be a low-ball estimate intended to scam you.

6. Be shrewd when choosing your move date

There are various ways to save money on your move, and some of those cost-saving tips are so ingenious that you wouldn’t normally think of them as useful. And yet, most of the times they can be surprisingly effective!

One such strategy to reduce the moving price is to book your move as early as you can. From a practical point of view, the moment a household becomes only a matter of time, it makes all the sense in the world to book immediately with the local or long distance mover of your choice.

Additionally, if you have any flexibility in selecting your move-out date at all, then you must use that unique chance to cut down on moving costs by choosing to move out during the off-peak season – anywhere between the September-May period. The rates of professional moving companies are usually lower during the colder months of the year, and in most cases, they will be more willing to offer better deals to their customers. 

7. Pack whatever you can by yourself

Minimize moving costs by completing whatever tasks you can on your own. Trust us – this tactical move will let you save on moving costs like never before!

It’s simple, really – instead of paying somebody else, you take care of the job at hand and you keep the money in your own pocket. Of course, this tactic cannot and won’t always work because it has its limitations.

When it comes to packing up your things, you should be perfectly qualified to protect your smaller items for the road ahead. Provided that you have enough time, you won’t find it too hard to place your clothes into (wardrobe) boxes or to arrange your books into small cardboard boxes.

While it’s true that not paying for professional packing services will greatly reduce your moving cost, you can’t always avoid that. Specialty items and highly fragile things (breakables) will still require the expert touch of professional packers.

8. Get free packing boxes

Packing up a home for moving may be the most time-consuming task in any good moving timeline, but it doesn’t have to be the most expensive one either. To cut moving costs effectively, you are encouraged to look for free moving boxes instead of purchasing them brand new.

You shouldn’t worry too much about the price of packing paper, bubble wrap or a few rolls of quality packing tape. However, just think of the overwhelming number of cardboard boxes, in any sizes, and you’ll see why the idea of finding free moving boxes can turn out to be a budget-saver.

Ask friends, colleagues, and neighbors – anyone who you suspect may have moved house recently – if they can spare some cardboard boxes for you – dry, clean, and strong enough to be used once more. Yet, your best bet to score free cardboard boxes is to visit local supermarkets, home electronics stores, bookstores, and copy centers. Remember that those businesses are required to recycles all their cardboard containers at the end of the day, so here’s your excellent chance to cut down on moving costs.

9. Use good alternatives to packing supplies

Scoring cheap or free packing boxes will contribute greatly to your mission to reduce your packing and moving costs. However, depending on how tight your budget really is, you may need to do better than that. Did you know that you already own a good number of alternative packing supplies in your home?

Not paying for the usual batch of packing materials will enable you to reduce your moving costs even more. Nothing but good news for you, right? Buckets, baskets, trash cans, suitcases, bags, Ziploc bags, jewelry boxes, and even drawers can be used as substitutes for standard moving boxes.

Also, ordinary household blankets, old bed sheets, bath towels, small rugs, and even thick socks can serve as excellent wrapping and cushioning materials. Whenever you need to use space fillers or extra protection over initial layers of white packing paper, super cheap newsprint paper will definitely help you slash your moving costs further.

10. Purge your home of unwanted stuff

Moving on a limited budget is all about not making any costly mistakes that may really hurt your chances to move home for less money. And it seems like the costliest blunder you can make when moving to a new home is to take all of your current household items with you.

A house move is an ideal opportunity to get rid of the things that you won’t ever need again, EVER. View the entire home moving process as a blessing in disguise to purge your residence of no longer wanted stuff and start a new life chapter in an uncluttered home or apartment.

To cut down on moving costs, complete a detailed home inventory to also uncover long forgotten items, and then make individual decisions based on their current condition, value, practicality, and usefulness. Be ruthless while making up your mind what to take and what to leave behind – after all, each extra item will mean more money out of your savings.

11. Sell whatever items you’re leaving behind

So far, we’ve only talked about good and proven ways to cut moving costs. But what if you desperately need to add more money to your existing relocation budget? How do you accomplish that seemingly super complicated task without having to borrow money from family or friends?

Pocket some much-needed cash by selling some or all of the household items you’ve decided not to move. The money from the sales will go directly into covering part of the moving costs, which is another piece of good news for you.

If you have enough time, you can try to sell your unwanted stuff online using familiar websites such as Craigslist, eBay, Amazon, etc. However, if you’re pressed for time, then organizing an emergency garage sale may be just the right thing to get rid of unwanted things when moving to a new home.

Gifting some of your belongings to friends or donating them to charity is always the right choice too.

12. Inquire about tax-deductible moving expenses

According to the official website of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), if you’re moving house due to a change in your job location, then you may be able to deduct your reasonable moving expenses after the move is complete. To be eligible for tax-deductible moving expenses, you will need to meet the following 3 requirements:

  • Your move must be closely related to the start of your new job
  • Your new workplace must be at least 50 miles farther from your old home than your old job was from your old house or apartment.
  • As an employee, you must work full-time for at least 39 weeks during the first 12 months following your immediate move to the new place.

Click here to learn more about how to deduct moving expenses from your taxes.

Remember that even seemingly small ways to cut moving costs will make a big difference in the end.

Kyle Jenkins

Kyle is a relocation professional and an ex-moving coordinator for a major US moving company. He has experience in handling relocations from start to the very end with the end consumer in mind. Now, Kyle Jenkins is dedicated to share his knowledge with as many people as possible to help them experience a better moving experience.
You can contact Kyle at