Moving for Less: Tips to Cut Costs When Moving

Moving can be an expensive and exhausting task. With nearly 17 million people moving every year -- and about half of those happening during the summer months -- good timing and proper planning is crucial. For those of you considering moving in the coming months, here are a few tips to help you stay within your budget.

Pick the Right Time.
As mentioned, the summer months are the most popular time for movers. To help save money, try not to move during these busy months. Avoiding the peak season could save you as much as 25 percent to 50 percent off your move. If you have to move during the summer months, do your best to plan your move on a weekday, as prices tend to higher on weekends. If possible, also pick a day to move in the middle of the month, as movers and van lines tend to charge more at the beginning and end of the month when most leases expire.

Do the Work Yourself.
If you are up for the task, this is best way to cut cost during your move. Get your hands dirty. Rent a truck, pack your bags and do the job yourself. The downside, however, with packing and moving yourself is that movers' insurance will generally be unavailable. If insurance is an issue, consider splitting the work with your moving company: allow the movers to pack your valuable and fragile items, and you pack your less valuable items yourself.

Save on Boxes and Packing Supplies.
If you do decide to pack yourself, you can save big on packing materials and movers fees. Check online for packing supplies at discounted rates or ask friends and neighbors for unused boxes. Avoid big name retails, as their costs are typically more than buying online. Another low-cost option is your mover. Find out what they charge for packing supplies. Some moving companies will even buy back any unused boxes.

Lighten the Load.
Moving companies price their services by either volume and weight or local volume and time. Reduce both by getting rid of unneeded items before your moving day. This can easily be accomplished by donating rarely used items, tossing away the excess or having a yard sale. Cleaning house will help reduce moving costs, and is the perfect opportunity to generate cash in the way of yard sale earnings and tax deductions.

Shop Around.
One of the simplest ways to save is by shopping around. It is best to get detailed estimates from at least three movers before deciding and hiring a moving company. Even if the first movers you contact offer a quote below what you expected, be sure to contact other movers in your area to determine if a better deal is available. Tip: Save yourself future frustration by being as specific as possible when speaking to a moving company about your moving needs. The more information they have, the more accurate the estimate.

Take Advantage of Potential Tax Breaks.
Depending on the reason for your move, the IRS may offer you a tax breaks. Be sure to hold on to all receipts and ask a tax professional if any of your expenses can be written off. These deductions are most common when you or your spouse is moving for work. However, there are other circumstances when a move may save you during tax season - do not be afraid to ask.