5 min read

Man packing a moving box

Moving is a big deal. There’s the anticipation of a fresh start, planning for your new place, the task of packing up. It’s easy to lose track of things in all the excitement, like paying for the actual move itself.

And, if you don’t plan ahead, your moving expenses can add up quickly.

The first part of planning should be establishing your budget well ahead of the move. From there, explore ways to save by minimizing costs as much as possible.

Once you figure out how much you need to set aside for the move, you’ll have a clearer idea of whether or not you might need a loan for your moving expenses. So where do you start?

Create a budget for your moving expenses

No matter whether you’re moving into your first apartment, your dream home, or your retirement place by the beach, you have to think about the same basic costs for your move, like:

  • Fees for professional moving services
  • Packing supplies
  • Security deposits
  • Storage
  • Utility set-up fees
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Moving insurance
  • Truck rental fees if you move yourself
  • Shipping fees
  • Gasoline
  • Lodging
  • Airfare
  • Taxi fare

Once you build out a budget, you will have a better idea of what costs you are likely to incur and you can start finding places to save.

Save on moving services

There are a number of ways to cut down on expenses associated with moving services.

The most obvious may be to not use a professional moving service at all. Look into options and decide if skipping movers will add too much time or stress to your move.

If you’re moving a long distance, you could research whether a moving container service or shared truck saves you money. If you are moving locally, you might use an app that connects you to people who have a truck and moving experience. Or you could move smaller things yourself and use a mover for the most cumbersome items.

Also, consider moving at off-peak times to take advantage of lower rates. If you can move in the middle of the month, on a weekday, or during the fall or winter, you may be eligible for a reduced rate.

Whichever route you decide is best for you and your family, be sure to get written estimates from at least three different service providers.

Trim your belongings

The fewer items there are to transport between one home and the next, the better.

Most people could stand to go through their closets and dressers to figure out what we could live without. Go room by room to determine what needs (i.e., is essential) to come with you and what you no longer need or use.

Consider having a yard sale, posting online classifieds, or donating your extra stuff to a local charity. And, whatever you earn from selling things can help cover your move.

Streamline your move

Professional movers usually charge by the hour. Save time and money by packing as many small items as you can before your moving day. Pack plates and flatware, clothing, and linens in the weeks leading up to a move, for example. Ensure you have a nice stack of boxes ready to be carried out the door quickly.

If you’re moving to another state and have an extensive home library of books, movies, or music, you might look into using Media Mail services from the United States Postal Service. You could compare what USPS would charge to get those things to your new place against what a professional mover charges. This could be a cost-effective way to ship your collection independently. You could also put those old CDs, DVDs, and other outdated media in the yard sale and use the funds to go digital with your favorite entertainment.

Don’t forget to take apart furniture ahead of time, if possible and necessary. Taking those bookshelves apart and putting the pegs in a labeled envelope can save the mover time, and can save you the trouble of replacing the pegs later.

Cut down on packing materials

Moving companies will often charge high rates for packing materials; you can reduce this expense easily. Reuse empty boxes from your workplace that otherwise would end up in the recycling bin. Check with friends and neighbors for old boxes at their jobs. Inquire on social media if your neighbors have boxes to share. Your favorite shop or restaurant might have some boxes they’d be happy to give you.

Rather than using bubble wrap to pad delicate items, consider using items from around your home like spare sheets and blankets. Coffee filters work wonders to separate and protect dinnerware.

Take the tax deduction

Be sure to record absolutely all of your move-related expenses and donations. If your change of address is due to work, there is a possibility that you qualify for an IRS tax deduction for moving expenses. And charitable donations of goods may also be eligible.

There are firm guidelines in place as to who does and does not qualify for all deductions, so be sure to check the rules listed on the IRS website and seek out the consultation of a professional accountant before making any decisions on the matter.

The bottom line about how to pay for moving expenses

No matter how well you budget and plan, you may still benefit from a personal loan for moving expenses. It’s likely you haven’t planned for every expense in your day-to-day budget. Plus, unexpected expenses could pop up during the move or even after it’s done. Maybe your new home needs new furniture sooner than you thought, or the average cost of utilities is higher than you expected. Ensuring there are enough funds for the move itself as well as additional money for the unexpected could help avoid additional stress during this transition.

Want to know if a personal loan might help you do the heavy lifting? With our personal loan calculator you can enter your desired loan amount and credit score, and determine if Discover® Personal Loans can help you with your moving expenses. There’s no obligation to try it, and no impact to your credit score.Estimate Payments