The Ultimate Guide to Planning a Cheap Move: Budgeting for Every Step

Moving to a new home is an exciting time, but it can also be expensive. From packing supplies to transportation costs, the expenses quickly add up. But moving doesn’t have to break the bank. By planning ahead and budgeting, you can save money at every step of the process. Here’s the ultimate guide to help you plan a cheap move.

The Ultimate Guide to Planning a Cheap Move: Budgeting for Every Step.

Pre-move Planning

Before you start packing, it’s important to create a plan for your move. Here are some steps to take before moving day:

Determine your moving budget

The first step to planning a cheap move is to determine your budget. This will help you set realistic expectations and avoid overspending. Do a bit of research online for expenses you aren’t sure about and create a list of everything you’ll need to make the move happen.

Take into account all expenses, including moving supplies, transportation costs, and any fees associated with your new home. Do you need to hire a babysitter to help with the kids while you are packing? You may also want to add in the expense of some meals out during the move. It’s hard to cook or eat while packing the kitchen.

Create a moving timeline

Once you have a budget in place, create a timeline for your move. This will help you stay organized and ensure that everything is completed on time. Be sure to include tasks such as packing, hiring movers, and setting up utilities in your timeline. Check to see how much notice your utility company needs of your move; some companies need a few weeks notice to transfer services, so you’ll want to do that sooner rather than later.

Start cleaning out the fridge and freezer

Most of us keep a fairly full pantry and freezer. However, moving all that food can be tough, particularly the frozen food. Take stock of your pantry and freezer items and begin planning meals around getting rid of that food. This is also a good time to check the expiry dates on everything in your fridge, freezer and pantry. Throw out those old, half-uses sauces in the fridge and the canned olives in the back of the pantry that nobody wants to eat.

Research moving companies

If you plan to hire movers, it’s important to research affordable moving companies ahead of time to find the best deals. When we hired movers, we had 3 different companies give us estimates. Their prices varies widely. Look for companies with good reviews and compare prices (as well as services offered) to find the best option.

Decide on a moving method

There are a few different methods for transporting your belongings, including renting a moving truck, hiring a shipping container, or shipping items by mail. Some companies also offer services where you pack a pod or container and then they will move it to your new destination. Consider the distance of your move, the size of your belongings, and your budget when deciding on the best method.

Downsizing Your Belongings

One of the best ways to plan a cheap move is to downsize your belongings. Here are some tips for decluttering before your move:

Assess what you own

Take inventory of your belongings and assess what you actually need (and want). For example, is your new home larger or smaller than your current home? Will your current furniture and belongings fit in the new space or will you need to replace some things? Consider donating or selling items that you haven’t used in a while or that no longer serve a purpose.

Sell unwanted items

Hosting a garage sale or selling items online can be a great way to make some extra cash and get rid of unwanted items.

Donate or give away items

Donating or giving away items you no longer need is a great way to reduce clutter and help others at the same time. Some charities will even pick up donations if you have a large amount of bags or furniture to donate.

Rent a storage unit

If you’re not ready to get rid of certain items, renting a storage unit can be a cost-effective solution. Just be sure to factor the cost of the unit into your budget.

Packing and Supplies

Packing can be a time-consuming and expensive process, but there are ways to save money. Here are some tips for packing and getting supplies:

Gather packing supplies

Start collecting packing supplies early to avoid last-minute expenses. Ask friends and family for boxes or check with local stores for free boxes. I’ve found liquor stores are a great place to get boxes. Our local stores leave stacks of boxes by their front door, and these boxes are a great size for packing books and heavier items. Grocery stores may have larger boxes. Often, you can find cheap or free boxes by browsing online marketplaces.

Pack yourself vs. hiring a professional

While hiring a professional packing service can save time, it can also be expensive. Packing yourself can save money, but be sure to pack carefully to avoid damage to your belongings. We’ve arrived at our destination once or twice to find pictures broken because we packed them in a hurry.

Tips for packing efficiently

To save space and avoid breakage, pack items strategically. Use soft items like clothing to cushion fragile items and pack heavier items at the bottom of boxes. I usually pack our pictures between blankets and towels, and they’ve always arrived safely. Label boxes clearly to make unpacking easier.

Transporting Your Belongings

Transporting your belongings to your new home can be one of the most expensive parts of the moving process. Here are some tips to save money on transportation:

Consider renting a moving truck

Renting a moving truck can be a cost-effective way to transport your belongings, especially if you’re moving a short distance. Compare prices from different rental companies to find the best deal. You can also see if you can get a cheaper deal on the truck by moving mid-month or mid-week.

Hire a shipping container

If you’re moving long-distance, hiring a shipping container can be a cheaper alternative to hiring movers. You’ll pack your belongings in the container, and it will be shipped to your new home.

Ship items by mail

Shipping smaller items by mail can be a cost-effective way to transport them, especially if you’re moving a long distance.

Ask friends or family to help

If you have friends or family in the area, consider asking for their help. They can help you load and unload your belongings, which can save you money on movers. For my last two moves, I’ve had several friends show up to pack, load, drive vehicles, unpack, and assemble furniture for me. It can be a social gathering if you’re willing to open your house and let friends help.

Moving Day Logistics

Moving day can be stressful, but with proper planning, it can go smoothly. Here are some tips for the day of your move:

Prepare your belongings for loading

Make sure all of your belongings are packed and ready to be loaded onto the truck. This will save time and ensure that everything is ready to go on a moving day.

Label boxes clearly

Labeling boxes clearly can make unpacking easier and prevent items from getting lost during the move. You could use different colours of tape or markers for various boxes.

Load items safely and efficiently

When loading the truck, be sure to pack items tightly to prevent shifting during transport. Use straps to secure larger items and avoid overloading boxes. Use extra blankets between furniture to avoid scratching if it shifts while traveling. Do NOT pack boxes or heavy items inside furniture while traveling.

Don’t forget to eat

Hangry is a thing. Moving is stressful and it can be easy to get focused on what needs to get packed. Plan ahead to have someone drop off some sandwiches for you, or designate someone to make a fast food run at noon to ensure that you (and any friends helping) are fed. You could also purchases healthy snacks and drinks ahead of time.

Unload and unpack at your new home

Once you’ve arrived at your new home, unload and unpack your belongings carefully. Take inventory to make sure everything has arrived safely.

Settling In

After you’ve unpacked, there are still a few steps you can take to save money in your new home. Here are some tips for settling in:

Set up utilities and other services

Shop around for the best deals on utilities and other services, such as cable and internet. Consider bundling services to save even more. Although it may be easiest to simply transfer your services to your new location, a move is also a good time to assess what you are paying in utilities and if you can get a better deal.

Buy furniture and other items secondhand

Buying furniture and other items secondhand can save you a lot of money. Check out local thrift stores, garage sales, and online marketplaces for deals. Although you may have to take more time to watch for the right furniture, you can often find good-quality items for very reasonable prices.

Avoid unnecessary expenses

Be mindful of your spending in the weeks and months after your move. Avoid unnecessary expenses and stick to your budget.

Managing Unexpected Costs

Even with careful planning, unexpected expenses can arise during a move. Here are some tips for managing these costs:

Budget for unexpected expenses

Set aside some money in your moving budget for unexpected expenses, such as a last-minute rental truck or emergency repairs. On one of our moves, we had the moving trailer get a flat tire. Unfortunately, the moving company refused to pay for that expense, claiming we’d somehow been driving the truck incorrectly that the tire went flat.

Stay flexible with your moving plans

Being flexible with your moving plans can help you save money. Consider moving during the off-season or adjusting your move-in date to take advantage of lower prices.

Have a backup plan in case of emergencies

It’s always a good idea to have a backup plan in case of emergencies, such as bad weather or last-minute cancellation.


How much does it cost to move on a budget?

The cost of moving on a budget can vary depending on factors such as the distance of your move, the size of your belongings, and the method of transportation. However, by following the budgeting tips outlined in this article, you can significantly reduce your moving expenses.

How can I save money on packing supplies?

There are many ways to save money on packing supplies, such as asking friends and family for boxes, checking with local stores for free boxes, and using soft items like clothing to cushion fragile items.

What are some common unexpected expenses when moving?

Common unexpected expenses when moving can include last-minute rental truck fees, emergency repairs, and storage unit costs.

Is it cheaper to hire movers or do it yourself?

The cost of hiring movers versus doing it yourself can vary depending on the distance of your move, the size of your belongings, and the amount of help you need. It’s important to compare prices and weigh the pros and cons of each option to determine the most cost-effective solution for your move.

What are some ways to save money on transportation during a move?

Some ways to save money on transportation during a move include renting a moving truck, hiring a shipping container, shipping smaller items by mail, and asking friends or family to help.

The Ultimate Guide to Planning a Cheap Move: Budgeting for Every Step.

Moving can be expensive, but with proper planning and budgeting, you can save money at every step of the process. From downsizing your belongings to settling into your new home, there are many ways to cut costs and make your move more affordable.

Show Comments

No Responses Yet

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.