Moving on a Dime: Save Money on Your Relocation

Saving Money on Moving Costs

16 Oct Moving on a Dime: Save Money on Your Relocation

Saving Money on Moving CostsMoving can be an awful expensive venture, no matter how you approach it. If you’re reading posts on this blog, you’re probably the type of person who likes to save money. Me too. When we moved from Wisconsin to Iowa, we wanted to save as much money as possible, too. Being an engineer, I had to run all the numbers and find the most economical solution for our move.

Getting Moving Quotes

The first thing I did was call around to a few moving companies. I also submitted some requests for quotes online. The initial response was quite positive. Over the phone, without looking at what we had for possessions, I received a few ballpark quotes of $5k. Not too bad, I thought. Considering all the trips I would have to make with my pickup and the trailer I had available, plus a rental truck and all the loading & unloading we would have to do, $5k sounded well worth it.

When we got the quotes over the phone, they asked for an estimated total weight. When we moved to Wisconsin from Oklahoma in 2005, we had 10,000 lbs. That was seven years ago and one less child. We figured we had accumulated a lot more stuff with the extra kid and years of staying in the same house. So I estimated 14,000 lbs. And the quotes were still only $5k. This might just work out!

Then we had them come in and actually do an on-site quote. The story changed a little. We had a lot of bulky stuff, fuel prices were changing, we were likely to move in the peak season, etc. The actual bids that came in averaged $7,200. Still not overly bad, but now we’re well above $5,000. We began to wonder if it was worth paying someone else.

Moving Before the Move

Since I was already living in Iowa and driving back and forth every few weeks to visit, we made the most of those extra trips. I borrowed my dad’s 8×10 trailer and packed it full of things we didn’t need for a while. That became a cold storage unit for us. Each trip I made back to Wisconsin, we packed my vehicle to the hilt with things that could be stored in the apartment. After a few trips we had made quite a dent in household stuff.

My wife then began cleaning out anything that wasn’t needed anymore. Old clothes, toys, books, or anything else she could find that we hadn’t touched in years went into the garage sale pile. We sold most of the stuff in a garage sale, then donated what was left. By the time she was done, we had a lot less stuff to move.

We originally figured with less stuff to move, we would save on what we paid the movers. But after we cleaned a lot of things out of the house, we realized we didn’t have that much left to move. At that point, we started thinking it wouldn’t be so bad to move ourselves. Complete crazy talk, but we went there anyway.

The Cost of Moving Yourself

So I crunched the numbers again. A 26-ft moving truck wasn’t too bad. I have a commercial driver’s license (CDL), so driving a truck doesn’t bother me a bit. My dad offered to help some too, so we had our pickup plus his pickup and his 8×10 trailer again.

I’ll admit it was a ton of work. We have a lot of stuff. And we were moving in August, so the weather wasn’t exactly cooperating. In fact, the weather stunk. Still, we were saving a lot of money and I kept reminding myself of that.

In order to save time (and chiropractor expenses), we hired my buddy Mike at Marchiando’s Moving Service. For a few hundred dollars and a couple hours of his time, his team loaded up all the heavy stuff and all the small stuff we had packed up. It still took us the rest of the day to pack and load everything else. But boy, did they save us a lot of lifting. I had used his services before and I would recommend them to anybody. They’re awesome.

We didn’t have movers help us unload but we did have a buddy from work and a few relatives help out. It’s a lot easier to unload heavy stuff than it is to load it. At least that’s what I told myself… Ok, so it wasn’t really that bad.

So when it was all said and done, here’s how the numbers turned out for savings:

Rented truck: $550

Hired crew to load truck: $250

Gas for three vehicles: $300

Extra trip with borrowed trailer: $150

Extra trip with van and truck: $300

Total cost: $1550

Cost to pay movers: $7,200.

Total Savings: $5,650. Minus our time and our friends’ time to help us move. We had budgeted over $5,000 and were prepared to spend it on movers. Instead we were able to spend the same money on a new couch, new recliner, new coffee table & side table, new fridge, and a 55 inch HDTV. Killer picture for watching football in the new living room!

Readers, have you saved money by moving yourselves? Was it worth it?

  • Thomas S. Moore
    Posted at 08:58h, 26 October

    Why to cut costs but most people wont have that frequent trip where they can haul things a few weeks ahead of time. Great job of using it to cost costs. Thats a lot of money saved and I know personally I prefer having movers. Just a lot of hassle which is why I hate moves in the first place.

    • Matt Wegner
      Posted at 11:54h, 26 October

      I hate moving too, and I also greatly prefer movers doing the work for me. But in this case it was well worth the hassle for us.

  • eemusings
    Posted at 05:48h, 28 October

    Cripes! Some big numbers there.

    I’ve never moved long distance, and never hired movers. I’ve always done it with begged and borrowed vehicles, and a couple of times with a cheap hired truck. Not moving far + not moving much stuff + limited budget dictated that choice.

  • Crystal @ Prairie Ecothrifter
    Posted at 15:06h, 28 October

    We moved ourselves a few times in and after college, but we did hire movers for the last two moves. We weren’t going nearly as far as you did either time, so we got better deals. I think it came to $300 from our apartment to the first house in 2007. Then it was $425 to go from our first house to our second one this month. Both times was about $75 an hour. We would have considered moving ourselves in a heart beat if we received a $1000 quote or more though. Way to go!

  • Pam@thesavingsblog
    Posted at 03:51h, 04 November

    Great tips, its also good to ask for friends and relatives to help with the moving.

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