How to Offset the Expense of Moving


Moving, for even the most frugal among us, is expensive. Even outside of the cost of a down payment on a new home or the first, last, and security deposit costs associated with renting, there are a bunch of little (and not so little) expenses that quickly add up.

Most of us already know how to plan for and reduce the basic costs of moving. For example, the experts at North American Van Lines recommend hiring just one moving company to oversee all aspects of the move–even those with many components (like moving antiques, automobiles or special equipment).

You probably also know about techniques for smoothing out your moving process to help ease the inevitable stress that comes from relocating. What we want to focus on in this post are those surprise costs that add up far more quickly than one might expect, and what you can do to offset them.


Look–not even the most perfect among us wants to cook a full meal after packing or unpacking all day. It’s totally normal to want to just pile into the car and head to the nearest restaurant or drive through. Depending on the size and length of your move, however, the costs of those meals adds up really quickly!  Here are some things that you can do to offset those costs.

Take time to snack. One of the reasons going out seems so appealing is that we often put off activities like eating until we feel like our project has come to a natural spot to take a break. Try to avoid this. Make yourself take regular breaks and during those breaks, chow down on small and healthy snacks. This will reduce the urge to eat everything in sight at the end of the day, so that mealtimes feel more manageable.

If you must go out, opt for a grocery store with a seating area instead of a restaurant. Many grocery stores like New Seasons and Whole Foods have “hot food” bars that charge you based on the weight of your meal. Alternatively you can create “grocery picnics” where you buy the supplies for sandwiches and then assemble and eat them on site. This is cheaper and healthier than a drive thru!

Manage Your Expectations

We all get to that point when packing becomes overwhelming and we decide to just start tossing stuff out (or donating it). “I can buy more paper, it isn’t expensive” and “I don’t need all this cookware, I can always replace it” are common things to say. Here’s the thing: replacing all that stuff costs money.

You likely already know that decluttering is a fantastic way to offset the cost of a move (you can sell the items you’re shedding to help pay for the process of moving). This is a good plan, but it is important to be realistic as you go through this project.

For example, yes you can buy another box of printer paper after you move, but how soon will you need that box of paper to be purchased? Is it easier to simply pack some office supplies into the not-quite full box instead, to save money? Apply this same logic to the rest of your home. Sure inexpensive stuff seems easy to replace, but a lot of inexpensive replacements add up to large expensive purchases.

Reduce Reuse Recycle

Most of us know that getting boxes from grocery and retail shops is much cheaper than buying them. This is not the only packing material on which you can save money. Instead of investing in expensive packing padding materials like bubble wrap, etc., use your clothes and older bedding to protect your breakables and valuable furniture pieces. You’ll reduce the number of packing containers you need and save a ton of money in the process.

The fact is that, if you’re willing to be simultaneously pragmatic and creative (this is not as oxymoronic as you might think) there are a lot of ways to reduce the cost of moving. Use these hints to help you get started!