WRAL SmartShopper

WRAL SmartShopper

Thursday thoughts: Frugal moving tips

Posted May 5, 2011 10:08 a.m. EDT

One of our Smart Shopper readers, Jessica, is getting ready to move and she is looking for some frugal tips to keep costs down including any ideas on packing material, truck rental and general frugal moving suggestions. Any ideas to share?

Here is her e-mail: "I'm looking mainly for frugal ways to move - ie boxes v. tubs, truck rental, any other general moving costs - but not opposed to some tips to make it a more smooth transition.  I moved apts when I was in college but didn't have all of the items that I seem to have accumulated since then :)  I will not be moving more than about 30 minutes from where I am currently (near Crabtree Mall)."

My number one tip when moving is to do it yourself. The more you can do with the help of family and friends, the more you will save. If you hire a company to pack and move you, you will pay so much more than handling it yourself. Since you are only moving about 30 minutes from your current location, hopefully you can handle the boxing, truck rental and moving yourself with the help of friends. From your e-mail, it sounds like you are already planning on taking this more frugal route so here are some other suggestions for keeping your moving costs under control.

Our family just moved after living in the same house for 12 years. Whew - talk about accumulating some stuff! Our move was a little bit different though. Because we were moving to another house in the same neighborhood and not selling the old house, we had a good deal of flexibility getting out of the house. We took our time to move our belongings and could unpack a box and then bring it back to the old house to pack it up again. So for boxes, we recycled the same ones over and over again. If you are moving in one weekend, you probably won't have that luxury.  You can ask at area grocery stores, drug stores, Walmart and liquor stores for their empty boxes. If you have any friends who have recently moved or will be moving before you, ask for their boxes. Often, you can even find free boxes posted on Craigslist and Freecycle from folks who have just moved and are willing to give away the boxes.  If you work in an office, use the copy paper boxes.

Start saving newspaper now and ask everyone for their papers when they are done reading them. The more packing material you have the better and you really don't want to pay for those messy foam packing peanuts.

As for truck rental, we did rent a truck for one day for the big stuff. We were able to get a discounted rate through my husband's business.  If you have AAA or another membership you may qualify for a discount. Remember to get the truck back in time or you will be charged for another day. Before you pay for the rental insurance from the truck rental company, verify your coverage with your personal car insurance. You may already be covered and may not need to buy the extra insurance.  Sometimes you can also find discounts for rental companies when you book online or through your credit card companies. If you can get by with renting a cargo trailer vs. a cargo van or full size truck, you will save some money as well.

As for general moving costs - don't forget food.  During a move, it is easy to stop at the drive through for every meal just because it is easy. BUT, it's not frugal. Make sure you have some easy to prepare foods for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks so you aren't tempted to blow the budget eating out when you are too tired to cook. We ordered Dominoes pizza once (with a coupon, of course!) when our friends came to help us move the big stuff, but the rest of the meals we ate at home (even if it was cereal or a veggie burger cooked in the microwave).

Another suggestion: Take stock of what you really want to bring to your new home and what can be donated, sold or tossed. Don't move items you never use and really don't want to keep. If you can sell them on Craigslist, ebay or through a yard sale, you'll make a little extra money to pay for that moving truck!

Ideas for a smooth move:

Do as much packing as possible before moving day. It is so frustrating to be packing boxes while you are trying to get them moved out.

Have plenty of packing tape on hand so your boxes are adequately sealed.

Label every box so you know exactly what room it needs to go to for the new house. It will save so much time if your friends don't have to keep asking you where something goes.

What other tips do you all have for Jessica?