If you’re planning a move in the coming months, you’ve got your work cut out for you. All that planning and running around to secure the supplies needed to transport a house full of belongings can leave even the most energetic person worn out. Although moving can be tiring and expensive, it’s a necessary evil that we’ll have to face a few times in our lives. All of those seemingly small costs, like boxes and packing tape, can add up quickly. Luckily, there are cost-cutting techniques that can slash a few bucks from your moving budget. Here are five ways to ease the stress and financial pain of moving day.
1. Hunt for free supplies
Some grocery and department stories discard empty cardboard boxes at the end of the day. Why not ask for these boxes before they’re thrown out? Store-bought moving boxes can cost as much as $3 a pop and a wardrobe box can run as high as $13. Three other places to score free moving boxes are Craigslist, Freecycle and U-Haul Box Exchange. Remember that some of these boxes may used, so exercise caution. Once you get the boxes, make sure they’re clean before you put your belongings inside.
2. Ask friends and family to lend a hand
Movers provide a convenient way to quickly move your belongings, but they can cost an arm and a leg. If you would rather save cash by not hiring professional movers, consider asking family members or friends to help you move. They may be reluctant to help at first, but you can try to butter them up with food and drinks. Show your appreciation by paying them a small fee or treating them to a night out. One disadvantage of not hiring professional movers, however, is that if any of your items get broken, the chances of getting reimbursed are slim. At least with the professionals, your belongings are insured. Another thing you may want to think about is that your move may take longer.
3. Take advantage of tax breaks
If you’re moving because you’ll be starting a new job, you may be able to deduct some of the moving costs. Some qualifying costs include shipping costs, lodging (if you need to stay in a hotel during your move), and travel expenses such as parking and tolls. If you qualify, you have up to one year to claim the deduction. See IRS Publication 521, Moving Expenses, for details.
4. Utilize apps and online tools
Make use of moving apps and online trackers, which can help you keep tabs on the supplies you have and the ones you need to purchase. This will reduce the likelihood of buying duplicate supplies. Some useful tools are Moving.com’s packing calculator and State Farm’s free iPad app, Move Tools.