moving boxes

Here’s How to Cut Costs While Moving

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By the author of What School Should Have Taught You: 75 Skills You’ll Actually Use in Life

This is the time of year that the real estate market tends to kick into full gear. Nobody likes moving when there’s snow on the ground and ice on the roads, so people wait until spring and summer.

Let’s say this is where you’re at. You are moving but don’t really have a lot of money just laying aside for the process. What are some ways that you can still get yourself to your new place without dropping a mint in the process?

Here are a few ideas that may help.

Liquor stores will often give you free boxes

These are the heavy-duty stuff too. Boxes aren’t the most expensive thing in the world to buy, but if you’re going to move a house, you’re going to need a lot of them. Spending a chunk of money on cardboard is doable.

Walk into your local liquor store though and tell them that you’re moving and were wondering if they had any boxes they were throwing away and they will likely say yes. It saves whoever is working behind the counter from having to break all these down, so they’ll likely appreciate somebody stepping in who is going to save them quite a bit of work.

You’ll look like a raging alcoholic when you move (“Look at all that Captain Morgain.”) but you’ll get free boxes.

Tetris your moving boxes

The more trips you have to take from Point A to Point B, the more time and gas money you’re going to be spending. Anytime you’re packing, you really need to channel your inner 1980s kid and bring Tetris into real life. Stuff every nook and cranny with boxes and stuff.

If you were to hire a professional moving service, this is exactly what these guys would be doing. If you are renting a U-Haul and have to spend extra days with your rental because you didn’t Tetris it up, guess who’s going to pay for that?

Bring the friends

This is how you actually find out if you have any. Moving is hardcore, heavy-duty work that takes hours. It’s because of this that hiring a moving service can be pretty expensive. Those guys don’t come to your house and struggle with your mahogany desk for free.

Having your friends swing by can not only save you the moving fees but if you’re just moving across town, can help you to save on gas and time as well. What would take you six hours of driving can easily be whittled down to 30 minutes if you have enough of your friends show up to help you out.

Note: Do make sure you have food and water for these people. They’re not robots – they’re still human beings – and they’re going to need both of these things if you want to keep them running full steam and happy. A couple of Little Caeser pizzas and a big carton of water really do go a long way. Plus, it’s a small way to show you’re thankful.

Also, if you don’t already have as much of your stuff packed away in boxes as possible before these people show up, you’re a lazy bum. Do the work.

Somebody needs to have a truck

If you’re going to have your friends come and help you move, somebody really needs to have a truck. This is the only way you’re going to get mattresses, bookcases, tables, and couches out of there.

This person is also going to need straps to tie everything down as well. You can easily pick these up for a couple of bucks at Harbor Freight. Yes, you do need them. Spending $20 on straps is much less expensive than giving tens of thousands to the man who you almost killed with a flying couch.

U-Haul moving trucks or vans

At some point, you may have to consider this as an option. If you’re moving such a long way away that to ask people to assist by driving all that way would be rude and ridiculous on your part, then get the U-Haul.

Yeah, it costs money, but if you sincerely have no other options, well, then this is just a part of the cost of life and you’re going to have to figure it out.

But you can do it. You’re smart. After all, you read The Frugalite.

Hurting yourself is expensive

You do have to consider the price point of your health here to some extent. If you cannot lift something by yourself or with your friends, then you’re only going to hurt yourself if you try.

  1. You only get one back. I’ve met a lot of people who have spent a small fortune trying to get their back back.
  2. Because of this, you also need to think about how hurting yourself is going to impact your ability to work the next couple of days, how it is going to make the unloading process go, and if you’ll be able to suffer through the drive while injured.

You can’t think in terms of dollar signs about everything. If you need to hire somebody, good grief, just do it.

Not everything in life can be free

If you’re thinking that you’re going to be able to get through a moving process without spending a dime, you’re most likely mistaken. Boxes, tape, gas, rentals, and food are all some of the things you’re probably going to have to purchase to make this all happen. But there are ways to do this without breaking the bank, and that’s the point I wanted to make here today.

What are your thoughts on all this, though? How do you cut costs on moving? Are there other inexpensive tips for moving you’ve found to be effective? I’m particularly interested to know if there are ways to save on U-Hauls. Let us know what you’re thinking in the comment section.

About Aden

Aden Tate is a regular contributor to and Aden runs a micro-farm where he raises dairy goats, a pig, honeybees, meat chickens, laying chickens, tomatoes, mushrooms, and greens. Aden has four published books, What School Should Have Taught You, The Faithful Prepper An Arm and a Leg, The Prepper’s Guide to Post-Disaster Communications, and Zombie Choices. You can find his podcast The Last American on Preppers’ Broadcasting Network.

Aden Tate

Aden Tate

About the Author Aden Tate has a master’s in public health and is a regular contributor to,,,,, and Along with being a freelance writer he also works part-time as a locksmith. Aden has an LLC for his micro-farm where he raises dairy goats, a pig, honeybees, meat chickens, laying chickens, tomatoes, mushrooms, and greens. Aden has two published books, The Faithful Prepper and Zombie Choices. You can find his podcast The Last American at Preppers’ Broadcasting Network.

6 thoughts on “Here’s How to Cut Costs While Moving”

  1. Fantastic tips! This is usually the time when I’ve decided whether or not I really needed some of my stuff. Bonus points if you can sell any of it. The less stuff you have, the less you have to move, and I’ve moved way too many times for my own liking. Do as much in early morning as you can, it is better for traffic. Also, budget more time than you think you will need. You aren’t kidding about a long job! For cheap moving help, I’ve heard people talk about asking at a local high school or college for any jocks who might want a few extra bucks. I’ve never done that myself but I suppose it could work.

  2. If you’re moving an actual houseful of furniture and stuff, and you plan to move anywhere out of the immediate area, get an actual moving company. You’re not going to move a house in a U-Haul, unless in said immediate area, and with several trips.

    Your tips are fine for some guy changing apartments, but not for families. It gets far more complicated.

    You mention having only one back. That’s why you call movers.

    1. Not everyone has the money to hire a moving company. I moved myself, and my 5 children using most of the above tips across town and across country. As stated, if moving across country get rid of as much as possible. Big furniture items can be replaced fairly inexpensive secondhand. Also, orange and apple produce boxes are wonderful! Ask your local produce person.

  3. i have self moved across the country too many times and am looking at one more. I rent a box truck and trailer for my car. i have a two wheeled dolly, that can work in a vertical or horizontal configuration. I don’t have large furniture or appliances. i buy extra strong boxes by the bundle ( usually 10) ( a tape gun and marker) at lowes, home depot, whatever. i have discovered extra small , extra strong boxes for heavy stuff, books , cans. medium size for less heavy etc. most of my library is in plastic milk cartons. you can buy these in various venues; i have been collecting these since college days. the beauty in these are stackability both in the truck and can quickly turn a wall into a shelf unit with a board between rows at your new crib.I have 6 of those wheeled furniture dollys that i’ve put boards on so i have a solid rolling platform. i guess the motto of my moving philosophy is not lifting and carrying. Stairs are another story.
    One last hard learned lesson: all my moves have been by myself, i finish loading the truck at some point in the day and leave. 3-4 hours down the road i experience a HUGE energy crash. PLAN FOR THAT !! The second day get up early and hit it.

  4. My biggest recommendation with moving is to GET RID OF STUFF. Seriously. In some cases, depending on the distance of the move, it is easier and cheaper to get rid of clutter and used furniture than to haul it. Then buy “new” (used) furniture from Salvation Army/Consignment when you arrive in your new home. Keep only the most sentimental or expensive to replace items.

  5. I just moved from Oregon to New Mexico this past week. I had a friend (who does this for supplemental retirement income) sell most of my furniture (she keeps a percentage). I rented one ubox and had everything that mattered to me, my books, everything kitchen, personal items and mementos along with the couple of pieces of furniture that I wanted to keep, shipped. It was a serious game of Tetris but we got so much stuff in that single ubox it was unbelievable. Part of that was process was taping off a section of my living room to the exact dimensions of the ubox. $1500 plus the cost of a three day drive (and I inexpensively Airbnb’d it and packed food for most of my meals).

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