How to save money on moving day

When budgeting to rent or buy your next home, you’ll need to think about the cost of moving house. On top of the first month’s legal fees, rent and/or deposit, there are additional costs you’ll face, either directly or indirectly (in the form of wastage or breakages).

Here are some tips for how you can move house and save some cash.

1. Streamline your belongings

If you own a lot of stuff, the more time it’s going to take to load it all into the removal truck. A removals company can give you an estimate of costs based on the overall size of your house (e.g. they might have a standard price for moving the contents of a 4-bed house), but if you have more belongings than average, you’ll face extra costs for the job.

To get a fairly accurate figure for how much you need to move out, reduce the number of belongings you have, and then ask for a removal survey.

2. Think about what to do with larger pieces of furniture

Most removals firms will charge to disassemble larger items such as wardrobes. Be ready for this, and decide which items you’ll have the time, skill and energy to disassemble (and reassemble in your new home) yourself.

3. Get quotes!

When you’re sure that all you have in your house is what you’re going to take to your new home, ask at least three removals companies to come to give you a survey. This will generate a quote, rather than an estimate, and you’ll know exactly how much you’ll pay on the day.

4. Use up your food

The contents of your food cupboards, fridge+freezer, and bathroom cabinets need consideration. Frozen food will go off in the process of the move, so either eat it up or prepare to bin it before moving day. Use as many tinned foods in your cooking as possible - tins weigh a lot and take up valuable space in moving boxes!

5. Check your insurance coverage

Check that your chosen removals firm has adequate insurance (Goods in Transit, Public Liability and vehicular) and decide if you need additional coverage for expensive items. You can get separate removals insurance, but it’s worth checking whether your existing household contents insurance covers it anyway.

6. Be careful not to pack too much!

If you’re moving out of a house you own, take care not to take things with you that your buyers are expecting you to leave. You will have completed a form describing the property and contents and ticked which items are being left - usually, carpets and curtains are left behind, as are any items that are fixed to the property such as units, plants in the garden, and outbuildings. If you take anything that you were expected to leave, your buyers will expect compensation.

7. Save money on packaging

Most removals companies will offer to sell or rent packing crates and packaging materials to you. These will be purpose-built and designed to stack well, so you might decide they’re worth the cost.

If you’re trying to keep the cost of moving house to a minimum, though, there are several places you can find free cardboard moving boxes.

8. Have a Plan B in place

If the worst happens and your new home is not available on the agreed date, but you can’t stay in your existing home, make sure you have alternative storage in place. Do you have any friends or family who could store your belongings in a garage, basement or loft for a few days or weeks? Or could you rent a self-storage unit for your furniture until your new house is available? Could your removal company deliver to an alternative address if required? Where will you stay?

9. Check your meters

Take a minute to photograph your electricity, gas and water meters before you leave, and take photos of the meters in your new house. That way, you’ll only pay for the utilities you’ve used!

10. Send out your new address to your friends and family

It costs quite a lot of money for Royal Mail to redirect your post. Make sure you give your new address to everyone who might write to you - your bank, dentist, doctor, local authority, work/school etc. If you can speak with the people who will be living at your old house, ask if they’ll kindly forward any stray pieces of the post to you, then make sure you update your address with anyone you’ve overlooked.