The average cost to move across the country is almost $5,000. That’s a lot of money just to move. This is in addition to the cost of buying a new home, paying for financing, and starting up your utilities and getting settled in. What if you need to move long distance, but have no money?
Fortunately, it is possible. Check out our top tips to get you moving on a low budget.
Declutter your Belongings
It’s easy to think you have to bring everything you own with you, but do you? Be honest with yourself. Give yourself enough time to go through every closet, drawer, and storage space. Do you need to keep everything or are you doing it out of nostalgia? Think about the last time you used each item. Will you use it again? Does it have a use in your new location?
The less you bring with you, the less you’ll pay movers. We’re not just talking about clothes, shoes, and collectibles. We’re also talking about big furniture and other bulky items. The less you bring with you, the less it costs.
Sell Items in Good Condition
Do you have furniture, household items, or even clothing you don’t want but are in good condition? Sell them on Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, or eBay and put the funds toward your moving costs. You’d be surprised to learn how much people will pay for certain items, especially if they’re in good condition.
Now, rather than paying to move items you no longer need, your items pay you to move. If you’re not comfortable selling your items online, host a moving sale, and let people come to you.
Don’t Buy Moving Supplies
When you’re moving on a budget, the last thing you should spend money on is moving supplies. If you get creative, you’ll find boxes and packing materials elsewhere. Think of friends and family that recently moved; your local grocery store that recycles boxes; or your local moving store that discontinues certain items.
Many people don’t pay a penny for moving supplies. Once you have boxes, all you need are old towels, newspapers, or other disposable materials you can use to protect your fragile items and you’re ready for a long distance move without spending money on moving supplies.
Create a Budget before you Move
It’s easy to get overwhelmed once you move. Don’t let that happen to you. Create your new budget while you’re still comfortable in your old home. You know you don’t have extra money, but how much do you have? What can you spend?
Make line items for every expense you can think of that will come up in the next 3 -6 months as you get settled. Do you have a job at your new location or will you be unemployed? Are you living off savings or are you banking on getting a job right away?
Don’t budget money you don’t have. Be realistic with yourself and then stick to the budget. You’ll start your ‘new life’ in your new home feeling less stressed when you create a budget before you move.
Do your Research
Don’t move to your new home or area without knowing what to expect. Chances are where you live right now, you know where to get the deals. You know the best places to shop for groceries, and you know when to shop.
When you move across the country, everything is different from the name of the local grocery stores to how the stores run sales. The internet can help you get the information you need before you head out there. Look at store circulars, read Facebook posts from people in the area, or ask questions of your soon-to-be neighbors. Know before you go has a whole new meaning in this situation.
Don’t Move in the Summer
According to Moving Labor, 80 percent of the 40 million people that move each year do so between April and September with a majority moving in June, July, and August. If you’re using movers or any other moving services, try to avoid moving the summer.
High demand equals higher prices, which if you are moving with no money, that’s not an option. If you can help it, move during slower times. Find out the ‘slow times’ for your area and see if the rates change. You may find that you save hundreds of dollars or more just by waiting.
Don’t Use Movers
If you’re really on a budget, don’t use movers at all. If you followed the steps above and minimized your belongings, you may not need the ‘muscle’ to help you. Can you rent a truck yourself and move the belongings?
If you want to keep things cheap, you can put everything in a trailer and hitch it to your car. Either way, you’ll be responsible for driving your belongings, so make sure you’re comfortable driving the vehicle, whether a truck or your car with a trailer hitched to it.
Consider Shipping your Items
If you aren’t comfortable driving your belongings yourself, consider shipping them. As long as you don’t have furniture, you can box up and ship most of your belongings. This is a great way to limit what you have to drive over yourself, which may eliminate the need to rent a truck, saving you even more money.
While a long distance move with no money is possible, it does require some creative thinking. Figure out your budget, how much stuff you have to move, and how you can make it the easiest on yourself physically without breaking your budget.
Minimizing how many items you move is the best way to limit your moving costs, but there will be things you need. Get creative, find ways to limit the number of hours or number of movers you need (if you need them at all), and stick to a budget.