Moving is a major life event that can turn your world upside-down. It indeed can be an exciting adventure, but between packing up and repairing your old home, re-stocking the pantry and buying furniture for your new home, as well as all the hotel, food and gas charges in between, it can also drain your bank accounts. While moving can be very expensive, there are some cost-saving measures you can implement to keep your stress down and your savings high. Follow along on our four-part series as we share tried-and-true strategies for preparing for, executing, and recovering from a long-distance move in an organized and budget-friendly fashion!
In Part 1 of the Saving While Moving Series, we covered ways to rack up a bunch of savings in the months, weeks and days before you move. In this part of the series, we’re chatting strategies to cut costs and save money while in transit from your old home to your new one!
Money-Saving Strategy: Eliminate Check-Out Costs
Once all of your belongings are packed up and moved out of the house, it becomes all too easy to set your sights on the new place and hit the road. However, if you don’t take the time and effort to do any required repairs or cleanings to your current place before you move out, you could be served a hefty check-out bill or even risk your security deposit all together. Check with your landlord or housing office to see what standards they require. Filling holes, painting walls, cleaning carpets, and restoring landscaping are common tasks that if not done, charges can add up quickly. When packing, be sure to leave out cleaning supplies and tools that you may need to ready your place for inspection. You’ll avoid having to go out and re-buy items you already have but are on the moving truck!
Money-Saving Strategy: Use Up Gift Cards
We discussed in Part 1 of this series the need to locate and/or cash out any gift cards, credit card points, gift certificates, frequent flyer miles/points, or vouchers you may have in the weeks leading up to a move. Once you’re on the road, use up this “free money” to buy gas and meals first before turning to your personal debit and credit cards.
Money-Saving Strategy: Get Your Car Serviced
If you have a long distance to travel by car, you can save money in the long run by doing some preemptive car maintenance. Ensure your tires, heating and cooling systems, windshield wipers, and oil levels are in good working condition to improve your gas mileage and decrease the likelihood of mid-trip emergency tows and car repairs. If you are hauling a load, make sure that it is properly hitched and secured to avoid accidents or hefty repair costs. Lastly, a consistent use of cruise control will not only improve your gas mileage, but will also help you avoid speeding tickets and traffic fines. Gas tank low? Use the GasBuddy App to find the best gas prices in your immediate area while you’re on the road.
Money-Saving Strategy: Look for Discounts
When booking airfare, hotel stays, tourist attractions, and even meal reservations, book as early as you can and always ask about any discounts you may qualify for. Common discounts include: Military, Government, Student, Senior, Child, and AAA. Use online booking sites that can bundle various reservations and ultimately save you money.
Make sure you’re a member of loyalty programs for any hotels and airlines you use. Even if you’re signing up for the first time, you’ll quickly get to take advantage of additional discounts and perks.
Lastly, don’t forget about the best discount of all: free! If possible, plan your trip route so that you can stay with friends and family along the way. Even saving just a night or two in hotel fees and meal costs can translate into substantial savings on your overall budget.
Money-Saving Strategy: Pack Savvy
Nothing is more frustrating than having to go out and buy something that you already own but you can’t access it because it is packed up in a box and on its way to your new home. Whether it’s cleaning supplies for your final clean out, a formal dress for an upcoming event, or pots and pans for a few primitive meals on the road, savvy packing can eliminate the need for emergency shopping trips, ultimately saving you money. Plan ahead, try to fully anticipate all your needs while you are in transit, and pack accordingly.
Money-Saving Strategy: Prepare for Tolls
If you’re driving to your new home, depending on the distance and your route, you may encounter a number of toll roads along the way. To save money, you can try to plan your route to avoid toll roads when possible. However, some toll roads aren’t easily avoidable. Determine if the states you’re passing through have EZPasses or FastTrak passes that can not only speed your time through booths and gain you access to higher speed roads, but may also reduce your toll fees. In the weeks before your trip, research your route and apply for any passes that might make your trip smoother. To quickly and easily calculate trip and toll costs, use can use the free TollSmart app.
Money-Saving Strategy: Prepare Your Own Food
Food is one of the biggest drains on a moving budget. Being without a kitchen and on the road often means eating out for almost every meal. To keep your food costs down, try to stay at hotels that offer free breakfasts or other food-related offerings. Pack a cooler with lunch fixings and healthy snacks to keep you satisfied on the road without having to stop for fast food.
Instead of buying bottled water over and over again, invest in a few refillable bottles that you can fill at water fountains wherever you stop. If passengers get tired of water, buy flavored drops or tablets you can add to water to change things up.
If you will be in some sort of temporary lodging for an extended period of time, pick a place that has a kitchen so you can buy some basic groceries and prepare your own meals instead of eating in restaurants. When possible, stock up on food and drinks in larger grocery stores (instead of gas stations or road-side marts) to take advantage of lower prices, coupons, frequent shopper discounts, and sales.
Airfares and hotel stays are expected costly travel expenses, but even smaller purchases like meals, gas, tolls and other incidentals can add up fast if you’re not money conscious. With some savvy preparations and simple thrifty practices, it is possible to keep your en route costs low as you move to your new place. Small cost saving measures along the way can mean big savings for your overall moving budget!
Be sure to join us in the next installment in this series: Save Money…Moving Into Your New Home!