The Penny Pincher’s Guide to Moving in and Around Northern California

EW - Article 1 - The Penny Pinchers Guide to Moving.jpgMoving in Northern California is expensive, and that’s a fact. Unless you’re swimming in money, it doesn’t make sense not to try to save money where you can. Though some of the costs of packing up and transferring everything you own are unavoidable, there are a lot of different ways that you can cut corners and avoid paying an arm and a leg to move.

The best way to save money is to make sure you’re organized from beginning to end. If you are like the average American with a three-bedroom home and a limited budget for moving, you’ll need to be creative in order to keep costs low. Spend your money intentionally, and have a plan in place.

Do You Really Need Movers?

Unless you’re physically incapable or far too busy, there’s no reason to hire a moving company to help you move. The average moving company will charge you several hundred dollars just to load and unload a truck. You can save that money and more by relying on friends and family to help you move.

Everyone in the home that is physically capable, above the age of four, and within physical proximity of the home should be pitching in to pack. There’s no reason that kids can’t pack their own rooms with a little guidance.

If you pack your belongings in advance and have everything ready to go by the front door, moving boxes to a truck only takes a few minutes. Heavy items, such as appliances and furniture, can usually be moved by two adults, slip pads, and a dolly. Doing the work yourself really saves time and money!

Boxes, Space Saver Bags, and Miscellaneous Items

Grocery stores get their deliveries at different times of the day. If you know you’ll need boxes, call neighborhood stores in your Northern California area a couple days in advance. Ask them when they expect to get their next delivery and what time of day would be best to stop by and pick up boxes. Other places to look for boxes include recycling centers or websites like Craigslist or OfferUp.

Packing tape, markers, newspaper, plenty of trash bags, and bubble wrap are invaluable tools when packing up your home. These items are inexpensive and save lots of frustration in the long run. It’s a good idea to have extra packing supplies on hand, as rolls of tape go missing and you can never have enough trash bags and bubble wrap.

Don’t forget about Space Saver bags, especially when it comes to packing comforters, blankets, sheets, towels, coats, and other fluffy materials. Nearly all fabrics can be compressed to fit into a smaller space by placing them into these specially designed bags. To save even more room, put the Space Saver bags into dresser drawers. It’s amazing how much you can fit into a moving truck when you pack smart. Though these bags are pricey, it’s a lot cheaper to buy them than to pay $.40 per mile and several hundred dollars per day on a moving truck when you can’t move your household in one trip. They’re worth the price.

Should You Get a Moving Truck or Something Else?

Moving trucks are expensive. First, there’s a base fee just to rent the truck. Even the smallest moving truck will cost around $500 before taxes, insurance, and mileage. Don’t forget about paying for gas. Most loaded moving trucks will get about 10 MPG.

Most companies will rent a truck to you and give you a certain number of miles to use. If you exceed the allotted number of miles, count on paying at least $.40 per mile. It’s amazing how fast the cost of moving can stack up to a big chunk of change.

One of the best ways to save money off of a moving truck rental is to put up an ad on Craigslist or local Facebook pages. Mention that you’re looking for an able-bodied person with a pickup and trailer to haul a load from your location to your new home. Offer to pay them $200 to $250 per day plus gas and meals to help you move. You will save hundreds of dollars while helping a local laborer put food on their table.

Other Ways to Save Money

When it comes to saving money on moving in Northern California, remember the 5 P’s: Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance. Look up gas prices or use a gas price tracking app to save at the pump. Keep in mind that packing your own meals and putting them in a cooler will save money off of fast food dining. If moving across the country, bring a tent and plan out places to camp instead of splurging on hotels.

There are lots of ways to pinch pennies and get the same results as expensive moving companies. Plan ahead, stay organized, and work smarter not harder.

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