6 Ways New Grads Can Save on Moving Costs


If you're planning on moving to another state, get ready for sticker shock. According to the American Moving and Storage Association, the average cost of an out-of-state move is over $5,000. And when you're a new graduate fresh out of school, you likely don't have that kind of money stashed away.

However, that doesn't mean you have to give up your plans. There are ways to reduce your moving costs to make it more affordable. With some planning and a little homework, you can dramatically reduce how much you'll need to spend to move. (See also: Avoid These 6 Common Mistakes When Moving Across the Country)

Here are six ways you can make your move more budget-friendly.

1. Check Craigslist and Facebook for free packing materials

If you're spending money on boxes, Bubble Wrap, and packing materials, you're needlessly throwing cash away. You can find packing materials, including large boxes and mattress protectors, for free on sites like Craigslist or the Facebook Marketplace. People often leave the items out at the curb, so you can just drive by and pick them up.

2. Consider container-based shipping for long-distance moves

If you're moving far away, hiring movers to drive your stuff to the new location can cost thousands. A cost-effective alternative is using a shipping-container moving service like PODS or U-Pack. They cost a fraction of what a traditional mover would charge.

For example, when I moved from Pennsylvania to Florida, a moving company quoted me $6,000 to deliver my things. I did my research and decided to go with PODS. Their price was just $1,000, freeing up more money for my other expenses.

With these shipping services, the company drops off a shipping container at your home. You can load it up on your own schedule. Of course, you're doing all the heavy lifting yourself, packing and unpacking the containers, but the massive savings is hard to resist. Once you're finished — whether it's the same day or the next week — you call the company to request a pickup. They pick up the container and ship it to your new home when you're ready.

3. Seek out budget-friendly mover alternatives

Sometimes, offering friends pizza or beer just won't cut it; you might have to rely on movers, instead. However, that doesn't mean you have to spend a fortune.

Rather than hiring an expensive moving company, you can rent a moving truck from U-Haul or Penske for as little as $20. If you need help with the heavy lifting, you can hire help through sites like TaskRabbit or Handy. They often charge much less than the moving companies will quote you.

4. Move midweek

If you go with a moving company, you can reduce your bill by moving midweek rather than the weekend. Most people move on the weekends, so that's when companies charge premiums. There's less demand during the workweek, so you'll pay less for your move.

5. Purchase discounted gift cards

Unexpected purchases pop up during a move. From spackling to patch up walls or needing a tool kit, those little extras can add up. You can stretch your budget by purchasing discounted gift cards ahead of your move. You can get cards to stores like Walmart, Lowe's, and Home Depot for up to 25 percent off, making your purchases more affordable. To find discounted gift cards, check out Gift Card Granny or Raise. (See also: How to Rack Up Extra Rewards Points by Buying Gift Cards)

6. Sell as much as you can

Selling your stuff helps you out during a big move in two ways:

You'll have more cash in your pocket

You could make hundreds or even thousands of dollars selling unused stuff in your home. By selling things you no longer need, you can make money to help finance your move.

You'll have fewer things to move

With fewer things, you'll save money on your move. Most moving companies base your moving costs on the amount of stuff you have and the total weight of your belongings. By cutting back, you could reduce your moving expenses.

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