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6 tips to make your move a money-saving success

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No need to recruit friends with free pizza: Read on for tips to move on a budget.

It’s your first real move: You’ve got furniture and a TV and maybe even a pet that’ll be joining you in your new digs. Whether you’re heading to a new city for your first job or getting your first place of your own and leaving your roommates (or parents) behind, this move won’t be like when you took your suitcases and a minifridge to a postcollege apartment.

Moving as an adult is a significant expense. On the low end, it can cost around $200 for a small local move, and on the high end it can be $9,000—or more.1

After all the care you’ve taken to find an apartment or house in your budget, you don’t want to blow all your savings to get your stuff there. So check out six ways to make moving easier on your wallet.

Tip 1: Set a budget…and stick to it

Repeat to yourself: “If it’s free, it’s for me!” Your wallet will thank you. Seek out free moving boxes from local bookstores, grocery stores, office supply stores—or even your local networks and friends. More likely than not, people will be happy you’re taking boxes off their hands.

If you’re considering a rental truck or moving service, don’t be satisfied with just one quote. Comparison shop by getting price estimates from several companies and leveraging the lowest one. You can expect to pay between $488 and $1,363 if you hire pros to shift your stuff, according to HomeAdvisor. The more stuff you move, and the farther you go, the more it could cost.1

Tip 2: Read the fine print

Be aware of any additional costs at your new place, such as fees for parking or your pets. You may think you can’t put a price on Fido, but your new landlord will. A furry companion may set you back $100-500—or more—in pet deposits or fees, depending on Fido’s size and breed. Some places even charge monthly pet rent.2

Tip 3: Let someone else pay

Moving for a new job or to relocate for your current employer? Be sure to ask what relocation expenses your employer will cover. Companies of all sizes often do, according to an annual Atlas Van Lines survey.3 The surveyed employers cover costs you might not have considered, like home-finding trips before you move, packing services, fees to move car or temporary housing, all of which could save you money.

Tip 4: Keep your receipts

Even though the 2018 tax law could limit the expenses you can deduct for a job-related move going forward, you can still claim move-related mileage. 4 Depending on how far you’re going, that can add up quickly.

Pro tip: Keep good records of your mileage, along with any security or installation deposits you pay for your new place and for utilities, like water and electricity. When you move again, ask for the money back.

Tip 5: Lighten your load

Do you really need all those old college textbooks that you haven’t opened since graduation? The less you take, the cheaper and easier the move will be.

Donate to local thrift stores—some will even pick up the items right from your doorstep. Or, try selling more valuable items on Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace or at a yard sale.

Tip 6: Get covered

What would you do if you came home one day to a broken window and a missing laptop? Only 37% of renters have renters insurance, but it’s not worth skipping and putting your personal items at risk.5 Renters insurance is an inexpensive way—on average, less than $20 per month—to protect your items from being stolen, destroyed or damaged.