It’s no surprise that most Americans move between May and September. Kids are out of school, college students are graduating and the weather is more accommodating…in most places (sorry, Florida!). But with more people relocating to new homes, vendors tend to charge higher prices during the summer for what’s already the biggest expense a person may see all year.
There are still plenty of ways to save money, cut expenses and reduce your stress. Check out these five tips to avoid busting your budget as you make a new house or apartment your home.
Pick a “Dead Day” of the Week
Just because it’s peak season doesn’t mean you can’t get a deal. Moving costs are higher during the beginning and end of the month, and most people hit the road on weekends. If you’re able to, choose a date in the middle of the month or the middle of the week. There are far fewer reservations – and better rates – on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. And try to book at least five weeks in advance during the busy summer months.
Find the Middle between Movers and DIY
Portable storage units like PODS are a great option if DIY is too daunting, but movers are out of your price range. Load the unit yourself, the company moves the pod to your new location, and then you unload it upon arrival. If heavy lifting is unappealing, your budget may allow you to hire local movers who specialize in loading your truck, while you handle the driving. If you take that route, try to drive early in the morning or later in the evening to ensure you don’t hit traffic and eat into the truck’s mileage.
If you’re lucky enough to have family or friends in the area, see if they’d be interested in attending a “packing party” on a Friday or Saturday night before the big move. Let them know you’ll provide the pizza and refreshments in exchange for their wrapping and boxing skills!
Box it Up on a Budget
Boxes may be the most marked up product related to your move – luckily, you can avoid purchasing them all together by putting in a little time and elbow grease to source free materials. After checking the usual places – your office, Craigslist and the local Costco or Sam’s Club – expand your search both on and offline. Freecycle facilitates the sharing and re-using of household items in local networks around the world. Small to mid-sized stores that frequently turnover inventory tend to be cardboard goldmines, so check out local discount chains like Marshall’s and T.J. Maxx. And don’t forget to pass along your boxes when you’re finished moving. You can even earn some money: companies like Box Cycle will buy your gently-used boxes.
Embrace the Purge
Before you move, identify what you really need and use this as an opportunity to de-clutter your home. It’s also a great way to save money! Selling or donating your belongings can offset moving expenses (or serve as a tax deduction) and cut down on weight, which movers use to determine the price of your move. MoveLoot is a new alternative to selling your furniture on Craigslist, available in California, North Carolina and Georgia.
Track Your Expenses
If your move is related to starting a new job or seeking work in a new city, your expense could be tax deductible – so keep track of every moving expense. The IRS has several requirements for those claiming expenses. For example, your new job must be at least 50 miles farther from your old house than the distance between your old house and your old job – but they are well worth navigating.
If you’re moving this summer, we’d love to hear your tips for saving money (and your sanity) when relocating. Share in the comments below or with @Mint on Twitter with hashtag #SummerMoves.