Tips for moving on a budget

In many major cities across the U.S., particularly those with more than a few colleges within their borders, late August through early September means that moving season is in full swing. The weeks leading up to that month-to-month transition are just as hectic in their own way, particularly for those somewhat strapped for cash. But it's entirely possible to slay the dragon of move-in season without breaking the bank - you just need to plan carefully in advance and limit your spending.

Make a real, detailed budget

This might seem overly obvious, but it's easy to mistake a title like "moving on a budget" to simply mean "moving cheaply" and not actually plan out your finances. You need a bona fide (and comprehensive) plan for your expenses.

The Spruce recommended evaluating actual moving costs - packing supplies, a rental vehicle, gas mileage - as well as necessary expenditures for right after you move. These could include cleaning supplies, furniture, activation fees for certain utilities, initial renters insurance payments and more. Plot these out chronologically and stick to them.

Additionally, Unpakt noted the wisdom of paying off any lingering debts you possibly can before moving. This might not be feasible, but if it is, it'll take a weight off your shoulders that would otherwise linger after moving.

Avoid professional movers if possible

Moving is stressful, and no one takes joy in its physical or mental burdens, so the impulse to hire movers is understandable. But if you're weighing the cost of a UHAUL or Budget truck, boxes and gas against any reputable pro moving service, the former is almost invariably less expensive.

If you can afford professional movers, pay attention to fees added onto the base price, like carrying, linehaul or specialty charges, according to The Spruce. Most only apply in specific circumstances, like for people moving a piano, but make sure you've checked for any you might need to pay.

See what your employer may cover

This only applies if moving at the behest of the business you work for, but that's a fairly common reason for doing so: The National Endowment for Financial Education recommended looking into what your employer will reimburse you for. Such repayments could solely be for transportation and shipping costs and travel expenses, or include temporary housing, realtor fees and any charges levied by a landlord for breaking a lease early (if applicable).

Check for tax write-offs

If moving out of state, you'll need to file two separate state tax returns, and should account for the costs this may incur. That said, you may also qualify for a variety of deductions if you moved for work. Determine exactly what these will be and incorporate them into your plan, as it might allow you to spend more than you thought you could if moving close to tax season.