If you’ve ever moved before, you know how expensive it can be. If you haven’t, take our word for it. Taking time off work, hiring movers, putting your stuff in storage, and dealing with realtor agent fees all add up to a pretty expensive life event. But what if you have to figure out how to move with no money?
That where this guide comes in to show you how to really cut the costs when you’re moving so that you don’t have to pay anything more than you need to.
Should You Move Right Now?
The first thing that you need to do is weigh up whether now is the right time to move. Can you delay it for a few months, particularly if your money worries are only temporary (i.e. the slow season at work, dealing with an unexpected expense). It may be that you can save yourself a lot of stress by putting off your move until next year when you’ll have saved up a bit more.
However, sometimes that’s not the case. You might have to move for your work or your partner’s work or you might have to move back home to take care of your parents. This guide will help you move with minimal stress even if you’re low on funds.
Planning Your Move
One way to help you save money on moving is to plan as much of it in advance as you can. This can help you get discounted rates on things like hiring a van or allow you time to do the packing yourself, rather than having movers do it.
However, most importantly, it will help you spread the cost over several months, rather than a couple of weeks. This should prevent you from having to borrow money from payday lenders and then paying an exorbitant amount of interest.
Here are some of our top tips for planning a move that will help you save money:
Create a moving budget
Even if you’re only moving locally and you can enlist friends and family to help, you’ll still have to spend something in order to move, even if it’s just gas money. Be realistic with the budget and then add 10%. You probably won’t need it, but by putting 10% into your moving fund, you’ve given yourself a little cushion in case of emergency (i.e. snapping the key in the lock or having to do a couple of extra car trips).
Start collecting packing supplies
Your company, local stores, friends and family, or even strangers on Freecycle are likely to have plenty of boxes, bubble wrap, and old newspaper for your move. Most people will be glad to have someone else take it off their hands. All you have to do is ask. You might even be able to sell the boxes on through companies like Container Exchanger and Box Cycle when you’re done.
Find out which of your belongings can be used as packing materials
If you can’t find enough free packing supplies, then look at what you already have in your house that can be used to pack items. You can put your heavy books in a suitcase with wheels. You can use canvas shopping bags to move your picture frames. Use your towels to protect breakable ornaments. It’s all a matter of thinking outside the (cardboard) box.
Sort out your utility switchover
With some companies, it’ll be easy enough to switch over service to your new address on your moving date, but not all companies serve all addresses. This means that you might have to switch providers. If that’s the case, then you can save money by taking advantage of new customer offers. However, you can also save money by strategically shutting off some utilities (i.e. cable, phone, internet) in your old house on the final billing date before your move.
Pick a quiet day/time to move
If you choose to move on a holiday, a weekend, or even during rush hour, you might find that all of that extra traffic will make your journey slower. When moving on your own, that means wasting your own time and getting terrible gas mileage. If you’ve hired movers, that could mean paying them for an hour sitting in a traffic jam. The optimal moving time is mid-day, mid-month, during winter or spring. As an added benefit, if you have school-aged children and you’re only moving locally, you won’t need to hire a babysitter.
Set up mail forwarding as soon as you know your new address and your moving date
This means that you don’t have to worry about forgetting to change it nearer the time, but it also gives you access to discounts and coupons from the US Postal Service.
Measure your furniture
That’s a really nice dining table, but what’s the point in taking it to your new place if it won’t fit? You may as well sell or donate it before moving.
Put off large purchases
If you know that you need a new sofa, bed or wardrobe, don’t have it delivered to your old home if you can avoid it. It’ll save time and money to get it delivered straight to your new place – just check that if definitely fits.
Have a clear out
The process of moving can prompt you to get rid of unwanted items. Not only could this save you money by having less to transport, but you could even earn money for the move by having a garage sale or listing them on eBay. Alternatively, you might be able to donate them and get a credit for this year’s tax return.
Hiring Movers vs. Handling Everything Yourself
If you’re low on funds, you may be wondering if you can handle the whole move without hiring professionals. It’s a smart idea to explore this option, but you should know it isn’t for everyone. Here are some questions that you should ask yourself before making a decision.
How Much Stuff Do You Have?
If you’re a millennial moving out of your parents’ house for the first time and you’re moving into furnished accommodations, then you can probably fit your belongings in one car. If you have furniture, then you’re going to need a van or truck.
While you can hire a moving truck, you also need to be confident that you can move all of the heavy items out of your old house. From there, they go into a truck, and into your new house. You also need to be confident that you can drive the moving truck safely as the last thing you want is to get a traffic fine.
Do You Need To Move Quickly?
If you don’t have a lot of time to move, then you need people that are going to show up at the same time and know how to move houses efficiently. While friends and family are often happy to help, they can slow the process down.
This is especially true if you can’t get them all to commit to one day. You’ll essentially have to move in shifts, which will be frustrating for you. Movers will also have the right size van for all of your stuff, meaning that you don’t have to take two trips.
What Will You Do If Someone Gets Hurt?
If you’re enlisting friends and family help you lug heavy furniture across the city, then you should be prepared for the fact that someone might get hurt. This is true even if you suggest that they drink the beers after moving the wardrobe downstairs or remind them to lift with their knees, not their back.
If they get hurt, they might have to take unpaid time off work or even get stuck with some nasty medical bills that they weren’t prepared for. If they can’t afford to take that hit, then they may well ask you for some money to compensate. Depending on how desperate they are, they might sue you. It could cost a lot of money and destroy your relationship.
Do You Have Any Breakable Items Or Items That Need Taking Apart?
If you’re moving your collection of antique glassware and your friend drops the box, it could cause a rift in the relationship. Particularly if the items weren’t insured and your friend can’t afford to pay for them. In the unlikely event that a mover breaks something, it’ll be covered by their insurance and you’ll get the money back. But, because they do this for a living, they are more adept at protecting your items.
If you have no money, then it’s probably a good idea to ask family/friends to help you move. You would do the same for them. However, you have to accept that it might take longer. To save yourself any arguments, you could make it a policy of handling very fragile or heavy items yourself.
If you have some cash to spare, then hiring movers can save you time and stress.
Saving Money On Hiring Movers
When movers charge by the hour, you can cut down the amount you have to spend by having your place packed up when they get there, with the furniture disassembled.
If you’ve decided that your best option is to hire movers, don’t resign yourself to forking out a ton of cash. There are plenty of things that you can do to save money when hiring a moving company.
Do your research
As with any professional that you hire, you’ll want to research the options available. Start by looking at Yelp and Angie’s List, but make sure to read the reviews about their efficiency. Most companies charge per hour for local moves, but this can mean that some movers will work slowly to get a bigger payday. Also, get quotes from at least three companies – you might even be able to haggle.
Start packing early and move what you can
If movers charge by the hour, you can cut down the amount you have to spend by having your place packed up when they get there, with the furniture disassembled. You might even be able to take a couple of carloads of clothes, books or small items to your new place before the day. This can also cut down on the amount of time the movers spend with you.
Find a place for the movers to park
Again, this is about cutting down the amount of time you need to hire movers for. It takes a lot less time to move a couch from right outside the house than halfway down the street. Try to get permission from landlords, neighbors, or the city council for your movers to park in a loading zone or a permit-required street.
Depending on where you live, your movers might not have to pay for breakages if you haven’t purchased insurance through them, so play it safe if you have any valuables.
Other options for moving with no money include renting a freight trailer or a portable moving container. This can save money as the company will transport the fully packed trailer or container. You’re responsible for loading it and unloading it at each end.
Alternatively, if you just have a couple of really bulky items to move, you might be able to cut costs by renting a pick-up truck or even shipping them through a courier.
The Worker’s Guide To Moving
Moving is one of the most stressful situations that most of us will ever go through. Fortunately, it can be especially hard on those of us who are working at the time. You might find that you have to take time off work for the move or even switch jobs, which is why you need your own section to help you cope.
Take time off work
As we’ve already mentioned, it’s a bad idea to try and move on the weekend or a holiday. As such, the majority of you will have to get some time off of work. If you have paid vacation time and can spare a couple of days from your allowance, then use that. If you don’t have any paid vacation, then ask about switching your shift or working some overtime to make up for the lost money.
Weigh up unpaid time off
If you can’t work overtime or swap a shift, then weigh up if you’d lose more money taking an unpaid day off or paying peak-time moving costs. Typically, it works out less damaging to your bank account to miss a day of work.
If you have to change jobs, look for another before you move
Sometimes when we move, we have to leave jobs behind. This isn’t ideal, but if you’re moving home after a break-up or your partner has got a new job in another area, then you might not have a choice. If you work for a large company, see if there are any transfer options– even if it’s only for a short time (i.e. maternity leave) or at a lower pay grade. Alternatively, find out if there’s part of your job that can be done remotely. If not, look online before the move and apply for any suitable jobs in the area. This will make the move less stressful.
Are You Moving For Work?
If you have to move for work, then you might actually be able to talk your company into paying for all or part of the move. Alternatively, you can deduct your moving expenses on your tax return. Top tip: Have an accountant help you with that as the forms can be a little vague on what is/is not considered a moving expense.
Do You Work From Home?
Do you work from home and are able to set your own hours? Then you might be under the impression that you don’t need to factor your working schedule into your move– but you really should. When you work at home, it can often affect your work. You affect your ability to make money if your house is a bit chaotic.
Therefore, you should make plans ahead of time to sort out your working situation while you’re moving. This way you can continue to keep that money rolling in. Here are our top tips for self-employed people, freelancers, and work-from-homers who are preparing to move:
Ask yourself: is this something I’d do if I had to go into work? The answer is likely no. Simply, these tasks are important, but they can be done after work.
Make your home office a priority
While someone else can make the beds and find the coffee maker, you need to set up your home office. This will allow you to get back to work ASAP and it means that all of your equipment will be correctly installed.
Find some internet
Most people who work from home rely on the internet. But when you move, it can take a few days before your service will be connected; you’ll likely need to find a place with internet access. Try libraries, coffee shops, or even a friend or family member’s home.
Get back into your routine
You might be tempted to spend a couple of hours before work putting your DVDs on the shelf or fixing the shower head. Ask yourself: is this something I’d do if I had to go into work? The answer is likely no. Simply, these tasks are important, but they can be done after work. The more time you spend distracted with moving tasks, the less work you’ll get done.
This is our best advice on how to move with no money, but now we’d like to hear from you. Have you moved on the cheap? What are your top tips? What do you think about the DIY move vs. hiring movers debate? Let us know in the comments below! Make sure to share this article with any friends that might be moving.