Nov 29, 2023

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Man packing a moving box

Moving is a big deal. There’s the thrill of a fresh start, planning for your new place, and ensuring your stuff is packed up. With so much going on, it’s easy to lose track of things—like paying for the move itself.

The first part of planning should be setting your budget. From there, look for ways to save by reducing costs as much as possible.

Once you have a good idea of how much to set aside for your move, you will likely know if you will need a loan for moving expenses. So where do you start?

Table of contents

Create a budget for your moving expenses

Whether you are moving into your first apartment, your dream home, or your retirement residence, it is important to consider basic costs your move might include, such as:

  • Packing supplies
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Fees for professional moving services
  • Moving insurance
  • Truck rental fees, if you move yourself
  • Shipping fees
  • Gasoline
  • Lodging
  • Airfare
  • Local transportation
  • Security deposits
  • Utility setup fees
  • Storage

After creating a budget, you should have a better idea of your potential costs and where you might be able to save.

Save on moving services

There are several ways to cut down on expenses associated with moving services.

The most obvious is not using professional movers at all. Evaluate your situation and decide if skipping movers will likely add too much time or stress to your move.

If you are moving a long distance, consider researching whether a moving container service or shared truck will save you money. Moving locally? It may make sense to use an app that connects you to people with a truck and moving experience. Or you might move smaller things yourself and use a mover for bigger items.

Also, consider moving during off-peak times to find lower mover costs. Moving at the start of the month, in the middle of the week, or during late fall or winter may help you save.

Whichever option you choose, remember to get written estimates and references from at least three different service providers before you make a decision.

Trim your belongings

The fewer items you move, the more money you might save.

Go through your closets and dressers to decide what you can live without. Go room by room to determine what’s essential and what can be donated or recycled.

Consider having a yard sale, posting online classifieds, or donating your extra items to a local charity. The money you earn from selling things might help cover some of your moving costs.

Streamline your move

Professional movers generally charge by the hour. You may save time and money by packing smaller items yourself. In the weeks leading up to your move, pack décor, dishes, clothing, and linens. And be sure to stack the boxes so they are accessible for movers to carry out the door quickly.

If you are moving to a new state and have a large number of books, movies, or music, you might consider using Media Mail® services from the United States Postal Service. Compare what the postal service would charge versus a professional mover. Or think about putting those old CDs, DVDs, or outdated media players in a yard sale and use the funds to go digital with your favorite entertainment.

If possible, take apart furniture ahead of time. Taking bookshelves, bed frames, and dining tables apart and putting the small parts in a labeled envelope or box might save the mover time. It may also save you the trouble of replacing any lost small parts.

Cut down on packing materials

Full-storage moving companies may provide packing materials, but some movers might charge extra for packing services. To reduce costs, you might consider packing most or all your belongings yourself. You might save on packing materials by reusing empty boxes from your workplace or grocery store. Check with friends and neighbors for old boxes they may have access to. Inquire on social media if your neighbors have boxes to give away. Your favorite shop or restaurant may also have boxes they do not need.

Purchasing bubble wrap might also add to your moving expenses. Rather than using bubble wrap to pad delicate items, find items from around your home like spare sheets and blankets. Coffee filters can work wonders to separate and protect dinnerware.

Take the tax deduction

Be sure to record all your moving-related expenses and donations. If you are changing addresses because of work, you might qualify for an IRS tax deduction for moving expenses. And charitable donations of goods may also be eligible. Consult with a professional accountant or tax preparer to learn more.

The bottom line about how to pay for moving expenses

A personal loan, sometimes called moving loans or relocation loans, may be helpful for moving expenses. You might not have planned for every expense in your day-to-day budget, or you may not want or be able to pay for your move with savings or a credit card. And unexpected expenses may pop up during the move or even after. Maybe your new home needs additional furniture, or the utilities cost more than you expected.

Ensuring you have enough funds for the move itself—and extra money for the unexpected—might help reduce stress during this transition.

Does a personal loan make sense for your move? With our personal loan calculator, just enter your desired loan amount, repayment term, and credit score to see if Discover® Personal Loans can help you with your moving expenses. There’s no obligation to try and no impact to your credit score.

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