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Moving can quickly spiral into a very expensive experience, but it doesn’t have to break the bank, even if you aren’t interested in doing everything yourself. Here are six tips for homeowners looking to save a little money during their next move.

  1. Cut Down On Your Stuff. Not only moving a great time to declutter, giving away as many items as possible before your move can also save you money. Since movers often charge based on factors such as cargo weight and the number of vehicles, taking up less space makes the move cheaper. Even if you choose not to hire movers, giving away as much as you can will cut down on how much it costs to rent moving vans and how long the move takes.
  2. Try for a Tax Deduction. Depending on what you are giving away or how much you have, you might well be able to get a tax deduction by donating it to a charity or nonprofit. Do a little bit of research or talk to a tax expert before deciding where to donate your used items.
  3. Don’t Pay for Boxes. Don’t pay for something you can get for free. Yes, moving companies will sell you cardboard moving boxes, but you have other options. If you know you’ll be moving sometime in the future, start saving large boxes from everyday purchases. Many local businesses—especially groceries, liquor stores, and offices—also receive hundreds of cardboard boxes every month. Ask nicely and give them a little bit of advanced warning, and stores like these will sell you old boxes cheaply or even give them to you for free.
  4. Move Between September and May. This is considered the off-season, and moving companies often lower their rates during these months.
  5. Pack Your Boxes Yourself. Many moving companies offer packing services as well, but packing everything yourself saves you money. If you know about your move well in advance, split up the work over a few weeks or months, gradually packing everything but your essentials. Doing your own packing can also make it easier to organize your possessions and streamline the unpacking. But remember: you usually can’t hold movers accountable for damage to items they did not pack.
  6. Get Estimates from Several Movers.  This might seem like obvious advice, but in the chaos of moving some homeowners are too stressed to do diligent research. Prices and conditions will vary from moving company to moving company, and comparing even two or three can help you make a better decision. Besides price differences, also ask about company policies on lost or broken items.

Most of these tips take a little planing; if you have the time, forethought and patience are two of the best tools you have to make your next more cheaper and more organized. Good luck!