Here in the Midwest, there are buds on the trees, the grass has turned green, and the birds are chirping. What does that mean? It’s MOVING SEASON! It seems like many of my friends are preparing for a move. Moving is always exhausting, but it doesn’t have to be too hard on your budget. Here are some tips to keep moving costs under control:
10 Easy Ways to Save Money on Your Move
1. Declutter Before You Move
If you’re considering moving soon, start decluttering your house now! The fewer things you have to move, the cheaper and easier the move will be. By clearing out, you may also discover that you don’t need as big of a new home as you thought. Clearing out the clutter can also help stage your house to sell, which could help your home sell faster.
2. Don’t Pay For Boxes
You’ll need a ton of boxes for moving, but you don’t have to pay for them. To find free moving supplies, you can:
- Ask friends who have recently moved.
- Look for ads for free boxes on Craigslist or Freecycle.
- Post in a local Facebook or Nextdoor group.
- Ask at liquor stores or grocery stores.
If you can’t find any used ones, buy boxes from a home improvement store instead of a moving company. They’re much cheaper!
3. Track Your Donations
If you itemize your taxes, make sure to keep track of any items that you’re donating. If you’re dropping off boxes at Goodwill, keep the receipts and make notes about what you donated. These could add up to very large deductions at the end of year! Remember that this only applies if you’re itemizing your deductions.
If you won’t itemize, don’t waste your time keeping track of donation receipts. If you’re buying a home, assume that you’re going to itemize, and keep your receipts just in case.
4. Sell (or Give Away) Large Items on Craigslist
Sell your larger or more expensive items on Craigslist or another sale site. Selling items can help you have a little extra more money to fund your move.
If you need to clear out large items that aren’t worth much, list them for free! You’ll be shocked by how quickly people will pick up free items! Keep in mind that many charities also offer free pick-up services for large items.
5. Label Your Boxes
What does labeling your boxes have to do with saving money? Have you ever tried to find a can opener in 100 un-labeled boxes? If you can’t find things, you’ll end up re-purchasing things you already have. Be organized with your packing and label everything.
6. Pack the Essentials Separately
Think about the things you’ll need during your first night after your move and pack those items separately. You might want to have each person pack a suitcase with some clothes and toiletries. Also, pack an essential kitchen and bathroom box with the basics like soap, kitchen towels, and toilet paper. And a toilet plunger… Never lose the toilet plunger!
7. Get Several Quotes On Moving Services
Whether you’re renting a truck or hiring professional movers, be sure to get several quotes. If you’d prefer to go with one of the more expensive companies, don’t be afraid to ask if they’ll price match your lowest quote. Often they’ll be happy to match the price and get your business.
8. Consider Shipping Some Items
Sometimes shipping can be less expensive than moving items, especially in the case of long distance moves. If you have books to move and are paying movers by weight, USPS Media Mail will likely be less expensive.
9. Prepare for the Moving Expenses Tax Deduction
Did you know that you might qualify for a moving expenses tax deduction? You can read the IRS publication for the full details, but here are the basics:
- You must be moving because of a job.
- The new job must be 50 miles further from home than the old job.
- You (or your spouse) have to be planning to work full time in the new area for at least 39 weeks in the next 12 months.
The deduction is taken for the tax year that the expenses occur, even if the time test hasn’t been met by the end of the year. Document your expenses for the deduction. You can deduct:
- The cost of moving your items to the new location.
- Travel costs to the new location.
One thing that’s great about the moving expenses deduction is that it’s an adjustment to income on the 1040 and does not require itemizing. This means that anyone who meets the criteria for this deduction can take advantage of it, regardless of their other deductions (or lack of deductions).
10. Allow Time to Prepare and to Move
If you are able to give yourself some time to prepare, it can make the move less stressful and less expensive. By having some extra time, you can do all of the items above and not have to spend money due to lack of time. It may even be worth paying to have a few weeks of possession of both homes so the move can be stretched out. If this allows you to avoid expensive costs like hiring professional movers, it could save you money in the long run.
Are you preparing for a move this year? Comment below with your idea to keep moving costs under control.