Skip to main content
Moving on a Budget: 10 Ways to Save Time and Money

Moving on a Budget: 10 Ways to Save Time and Money

By Kia Jackson • July 27, 2020

From employment changes to family obligations to health concerns, more and more people are rethinking their living arrangements, packing up and moving.1 But as we all know, moving is neither fun nor cheap. The average cost of moving is about $1,100, depending on where in the country you’re moving to and from.2

So when it comes to accomplishing a budget-friendly move, preparation is key. Maximizing your time and keeping costs low may take some effort, but it will pay off in the end.

Here are 10 tips for how to move on a budget:

1. Avoid peak moving season, if possible

The cheapest time to move is in the fall and winter seasons, on weekdays and in the middle of the month.3 In addition to potentially lower prices, you may also receive more attention from moving companies during these times due to a slower schedule. And to save time on the day of your move, try to avoid driving during morning and evening rush hour traffic.

2. Be flexible on your moving date

Unless your move is time sensitive, try to be flexible on your moving date. By allowing the company to fit you into their schedule, you might be able to agree on a date and time that works for both of you. This may also help you negotiate a more favorable rate.

3. Avoid paying for boxes

Boxes are the building blocks of a successful move but can quickly blow your moving budget. Although some moving companies sell them, there are plenty of ways to accumulate all of the boxes you need for free. Some suggestions include:

  • Family and friends
  • Office or workplace
  • Supermarkets and department stores
  • Recycling centers

4. Use your own packing material

Depending on the size of your move, the cost of bubble wrap and packing paper can add up. To avoid these costs altogether, try using linens, towels and casual clothing to wrap up delicate items. You can also substitute packing paper with plastic shopping bags or newspaper. No matter what materials you use, remember the primary goal is for your items to arrive in one piece.

5. Pay attention to your utilities

Closing and opening new utility accounts can cost time and money. For example, some companies may not prorate your bill. This means that if you only use one week of cable and internet, they might charge you for a full month. To make the best use of your time and potentially save money, write down a list of utilities for both residences. Then, schedule an afternoon to close old accounts and open new ones.

6. Create “keep, donate or throw away” piles

One of the hardest things about moving could be deciding what to do with random belongings. If you have a closet or spare room full of these items, try creating three piles: keep, donate and throw away. Once this task is complete, you will have reduced the size of your move and saved money in the process.

7. Sell what you don’t need

As you start to assess all of your belongings, you might find some unwanted items that still have value. Or, you may find that you have two of the same item. Whichever the case, selling these items online or hosting a garage sale could help you save money on the move and earn extra cash for other expenses. A win-win!

8. Pack what you can ahead of time

Although this tip may not save you money, it can save hours of valuable time on moving day. To get started, try to pack items you won’t need during the move such as electronics, kitchenware and extra clothing. By having these items boxed, labeled and ready to go, you can focus your time and energy toward larger items like furniture and appliances on moving day.

9. Get help from people you know

Do you have a lot of family, friends and coworkers who live nearby? If so, invite them over to help. You can sweeten the deal by providing food and drinks, but keep your budget in mind. In addition to saving personal time packing your items, it can also give you quality time with loved ones before you relocate. Remember, the goal is to make your move as stress-free as possible.

10. Shop around for the best moving truck rental

As one of the largest expenses for a DIY move, finding a deal on a moving truck rental could have a significant impact on your budget. However, in order to discover a personalized deal, you need to consider factors such as truck size, distance traveled and one-way or roundtrip travel. Here are some websites that can help you compare moving truck options based on your specific needs:

Lighten your load

No matter the size or distance of your move, there are ways to save time and money. If you take the right precautions, you may only have to worry about breaking a lamp, not the bank.

This article has been updated from its original posting on September 20, 2017. Matt Diehl contributed to this article.


The information in this article is provided for general education and informational purposes only, without any express or implied warranty of any kind, including warranties of accuracy, completeness or fitness for any particular purpose. It is not intended to be and does not constitute financial, legal or any other advice specific to you the user or anyone else. The companies and individuals (other than OneMain Financial’s sponsored partners) referred to in this message are not sponsors of, do not endorse, and are not otherwise affiliated with OneMain Financial.