How to save money when moving home

Moving can be expensive, but there are ways to reduce the costs.

The biggest way to save money when moving is to do it yourself. But moving an entire home’s worth of furniture and possessions can be a huge undertaking, and it’s not for everyone. It’s physically tiring, you’ll need several people to help you, and you’ll also need access to a large vehicle such as a van, ute or truck.

However, there are a few other smart ways to reduce moving costs can be reduced without doing all the work yourself.

How to reduce the cost of moving

These are some of the most effective ways to keep the cost of moving down.

  • Move outside of peak hours –This means not booking removalists on a weekend when they’re busiest and most expensive or during peak driving times when traffic is at its worst.
  • Assist your removalists– Take boxes down to the truck yourself and ensure everything is safely packed before they arrive to minimise the amount of time spent moving.
  • Pack using secondhand boxes –Some removal companies have used packing boxes to buy or hire. Also, try asking friends or neighbours for any unwanted boxes they might have.
  • Do it yourself –You can pack and transport all or part move on with the right skills, time and patience. Many people choose to make a few trips with small items in their own car, then hire a removalist or truck for the larger pieces.
  • Get friends to help –Consider having a friend help you on moving day and do the same for them in the future.
  • Sell your car when moving interstate –Unless you’re especially attached to your car, it’s worth comparing the cost and effort of selling your vehicle and buying another one, versus the petrol cost or shipping expense of getting it to the new location.
  • Sell unwanted items –If you’ve got any last-generation phones, tablets or computers lying around the house, try selling these before moving to contribute towards your moving costs. Also, consider selling furniture you don’t need, or any items you no longer use that you don’t want to take into the new home.

How to save money when hiring removalists

Many removalists charge by the hour at a rate that fluctuates depending on the day and time.

Public holidays are usually the most expensive day to book, followed by Sundays and Saturdays. Weekdays are when removalists are cheapest.

When moving on a weekday, try moving in the middle of the day where possible to avoid travelling during peak hour and minimise the amount of time spent moving.

Before hiring removalists, compare lots of quotes before committing to a particular company and avoid websites that charge a commission.

Remember, the company that quotes the lowest price might not offer the same service as a more expensive option, so always look at reviews and clarify exactly what’s on offer.

Should you hire removalists or do it yourself?

If you have the necessary time, skill, patience and stamina, doing it yourself can save you money. If not, hire a removalist or packing specialist to handle the move for you.

A professional moving team can do in a day what could easily take you a week to accomplish if only packing in the evenings or around work.

Quality movers also guarantee their services, so if anything breaks in transit, it’s their responsibility to pay for it.

Many people choose the DIY option for much of the packing and moving but hire a removalist to transport large items such as the couch, bed and fridge.

What you need to know about hiring a van, ute or truck

Instead of hiring removalists, you might choose to rent a van, ute or truck to transport some, or all, items yourself.

You can hire a ute or van from car-share services such as GoGet or Flexicar from about $79 a day before factoring in the kilometres travelled, membership fees and insurance.

Other options include the peer-to-peer, community car-share platforms Car Next Door or DriveMyCar, or rental companies such as Hertz and Thrifty that rent out utes, vans and small trucks.

While hiring a van and moving yourself will likely save you money, remember it will be far more physically demanding and time-consuming compared to using professionals. 

Make sure your driver’s licence allows you to drive the vehicle you’re hiring, and that you’re confident driving and parking a large, unfamiliar vehicle.

Where to find cheap packing boxes and equipment

Before buying brand new boxes from hardware stores or storage facilities, try the following options for a more affordable and more environmentally friendly solution:

  • Buy secondhand –Some storage facilities will sell used boxes in good condition at a reduced price. It is often possible to sell these back to the business after you’re finished moving if the quality has been maintained and you haven’t written directly on the boxes.
  • Supermarkets and hardware stores –Ask your local store if they can spare some boxes to help you move.
  • Community groups –If you’re part of a local community page on social media, write a post asking if anyone has any boxes to spare that you can pick up.
  • Friends and family –If you know anyone who works in a shop, warehouse or even a hospital, they are likely to have access to dozens of unwanted boxes. Also, try asking someone you know who uses a regular meal delivery service if they can stockpile some of the packaging for you.

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