How to Save Money on Moving Costs

By Amanda Lutz | March 26, 2024

Woman lifting moving boxes in a new apartment.

All products and services featured are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

There are many things to look forward to when you move—decorating, meeting new neighbors, and turning your house into a home. However, the cost of a move can add stress to the experience. We’ve created a cost-saving guide to help homeowners and renters reduce moving expenses and maximize their budgets.



Understanding Moving Costs

The best way to maximize your moving budget is to understand the associated costs. Many of the expenses depend on the moving experience you want. If you prefer to do most of the moving yourself, you can avoid the cost of professional movers.

If you decide to take the DIY moving approach, there are still several costs to consider when you set your budget, such as the following:

Another cost factor to consider when moving is the distance between locations. Transporting your items across the city is less expensive than an out-of-state move. Generally, local moves cost an average of $1,700* for professional movers. Moving to a different state involves additional costs, so the final expense could be $7,000 or more.

*Cost data in this article was sourced from HomeAdvisor.



The Role of Professional Movers

One of the biggest decisions you’ll make before moving is whether to use a professional company or do it yourself. We’ll explore the advantages of each option below.

Hiring Professional Movers

Many people prefer to hire a professional moving service to transport their belongings. The convenience of a team of professional movers outweighs the cost for many homeowners.

Professional movers are trained to transport heavy items and can quickly pack a home within a day. Utilizing a company also means you won’t have to worry about injuring yourself while lifting heavy boxes or awkwardly shaped items. Many companies offer insurance to protect your valuable and personal items from damage that could occur during the move.

Moving and Transporting Items Yourself

The main benefit of packaging and transporting your belongings without the help of a moving company is the reduced investment. The biggest expense of a DIY move is typically renting a moving truck; other than that, you may only need to purchase moving boxes, tape, and bubble wrap

While the lower cost may seem enticing, moving by yourself requires a larger time commitment. You may want to hire professional movers if you’re moving in a hurry or if you plan to spend significant time renovating your new home.



How to Choose a Moving Company

If you’ve decided to use a professional moving company to assist with your move, conduct research before booking. The best moving companies should have multiple five-star reviews on Google with customer testimonials to support the ratings.

We recommend reviewing the prices and services each company offers. Some companies provide additional transportation options for larger items, while other companies won’t move certain personal items. It’s best to contact multiple companies to discuss what items you’re planning to move and the distance of your move. Then, choose the one that offers the best value for the cost.



How to Save Money on a Move

In addition to doing everything yourself, there are several ways to save money on a move. Here are 10 tips to help reduce your moving costs.

1. Get Multiple Estimates

Request estimates from multiple providers to ensure you select the best professional moving company for your needs at the lowest available rate. Requesting quotes from several providers will also give you an idea of how much the move will cost, which will come in handy when you create your moving budget.

2. Move During Off-Peak Times

If possible, moving during the offseason is one of the best ways to save money. Many moving organizations charge more during the summer months when there is a higher demand from homeowners for professional services.

3. Sell Items You Don’t Need

Perhaps some of your current furniture won’t fit in your new home. Holding a garage sale or placing items you no longer need on Craigslist can be a great way to declutter before a move. Long-distance moves are priced by inventory weight, so decluttering will reduce your final price. Local movers typically charge by the hour, so fewer items equal reduced labor costs.

4. Pack Yourself

It can be tempting to hire professionals to pack all of your belongings for you. However, packing everything yourself is a great money-saving tactic that significantly reduces your overall moving expenses.

5. Use Free or Affordable Packing Supplies

If you plan to pack your own belongings, look for free or low-cost packing supplies. Asking family members if they have saved cardboard boxes can help eliminate the need to buy additional moving supplies.

6. Understand Moving Insurance

Many people forget to factor in moving insurance when planning their relocation. However, a moving insurance policy can be a great option to provide coverage in case your valuable items are damaged in transit. If you invest in insurance, you won’t have to pay for damages that may occur. For example, moving insurance can cover the following:

7. Consider a DIY Move for Short Distances

Professional movers offer convenience for a price. However, the cost savings you’ll see from moving your belongings yourself are significant. If you’re relocating locally, it may be worth renting a truck for a DIY move.

8. Explore Moving Tax Deductions

The IRS changed its regulations around moving expense tax deductions in 2017. Most homeowners can’t deduct moving expenses through 2025. However, some states allow you to deduct expenses such as insurance, rental trucks, or short-term storage fees.

9. Choose the Right Moving Truck

Choose the right type of moving truck for your needs. Truck rental companies often charge by truck size and per mile. Determine whether opting for a smaller vehicle makes financial sense, or if investing in a larger truck could save you money because you need to make fewer trips.

10. Negotiate With Your Moving Company

Not every professional moving company will negotiate with you. However, some companies offer price-matching guarantees if you receive a lower rate than the one you were quoted. There are also strategies you can use to get a lower rate, such as providing your own boxes and supplies to reduce the overall expense.



How to Save on Packing Supplies

If you plan to package your belongings for transport without the help of professional movers, ensure you have the appropriate materials first. At a minimum, acquire moving boxes, packing paper or bubble wrap, and tape. Affordable options and alternatives are available to reduce your moving budget.

Grocery stores often give customers free boxes upon request. These boxes are the perfect option for packaging smaller items throughout your home. They can also be a great way to move perishable items from your pantry.

Another great way to save on packing supplies is to use items you already own. For example, you can cover fragile items with linens or blankets. The soft fabric is well suited for keeping television screens and computer monitors safe during transit.



How to Save on a Long-Distance Move

Planning a long-distance move is more complicated than relocating locally. However, there are still several cost-saving strategies you can consider. We recommend working with professional movers for a long-distance move.

The best long-distance moving companies can provide guidance on how to ship and store your belongings in a cost-effective manner that stays within your budget. They also have experience identifying the quickest options for moving your items.

If you decide to manage packing yourself, consider using a moving container to ship your belongings. Container rentals allow you to pack and unpack yourself, and the company moves your belongings across the country for you.



Our Recommendation

There are many cost-saving strategies that can help you budget for your upcoming move, whether you choose to work with a moving company or complete the process yourself. For example, acquiring free or cheap packing supplies and asking family members or local grocery stores for boxes can help reduce your overall expenses. Moving during the offseason, selling items you no longer need, and negotiating costs with movers can also help you save money. If you opt for professional movers, get quotes from at least three companies to find the best deal.



Save Money Moving FAQ

How much money should you save before moving?

The amount of money you should save before moving depends on the amount of help you’ll require throughout the move process. Hiring a company to pack and transport items is more costly than doing it yourself. Similarly, moving your belongings across the country costs more than moving across a city. Factor in the following moving expenses when setting your savings goal:Distance from current location to new destinationNumber of moving containers neededNumber of professional movers neededRental truck sizeTime of year

Is it worth moving home to save money?

Moving home with your family can be a great way to save money quickly, especially if they’re willing to allow you to stay with them rent-free. This strategy is often an excellent option for young adults who have just graduated or are planning to purchase their first home.

What is a good moving budget?

A good moving budget depends on various factors, including the distance you’re moving, the number of items you want to ship, and whether or not you plan to hire professional help. A local move costs around $1,700 on average, but you could spend as much as $7,000 if you’re planning a long-distance move.