Moving After Graduation? Here’s How to Save Some Money

After you graduate from college, you’ll have all sorts of new expenses, from the rent at your apartment to student loan payments. If you haven’t started working yet, chances are you might be a little strapped for cash — especially if you’re relocating cross-country — but there are plenty of ways to save money when moving.

Shop around for movers and alternatives

Elizabeth A. from California can tell you about saving money during a major move after college.

“After graduating from vet school, I moved from New York to California,” explains Elizabeth. “I got free quotes from practically every moving company in my area and ultimately figured out that it would be cheaper to just ship all my furniture in a storage pod. I had to load and unload it myself, but I had friends to help me out and ended up saving several hundred dollars.”

“I also collected so many boxes from work. They would get several large cardboard boxes full of deliveries each week, and my manager let me take them home. They were perfect for packing and saved me from having to buy any.”

Other places to score free boxes include local liquor and grocery stores, coffee shops, or even Craigslist. You can also save money on packing materials by cushioning dinnerware and glasses in socks or between towels and using crumpled newspaper instead of packing paper.

Saving with DIY

There are plenty of other ways to save money when moving, too. If you’re not moving a long distance, you can often enlist friends or relatives to help with a do-it-yourself move. Depending on how much furniture you have, you might even be able to get away with using someone’s pickup truck instead of a moving van — just keep in mind that you may have to make multiple trips.

Be sure to thank anyone who helps you move; after all, they just saved you quite a bit of money! It’s customary to buy pizza and drinks at the end of moving day, and you might also consider sending them a thank you note and a bottle of wine (or other small gift) to show your appreciation. And, of course, if they’re ever moving, make sure you offer to lend a hand.

Pack essential items separately

After a day of unpacking, there’s nothing worse than going to take a shower… and realizing you can’t. Take it from Deion O. “We spent hours unpacking our belongings in our un-air-conditioned apartment. At the end of the long, hot day, I went to take a shower and realized we didn’t have a shower curtain.”

Avoid a similar situation – and scouring for last-minute items – by securing the essentials before you move. Items you’ll want to have readily available for the first few days in your new home include:

  • A shower curtain
  • A few towels
  • Toilet paper and paper towels
  • Toiletries, including toothpaste and hand soap
  • Pillows and clean bedding
  • Your daily medications
  • A small tool kit
  • Cleaning supplies
  • A first-aid kit
  • Utensils and plates (use paper for a few days if easier)

Many people opt to pack these items in a designated “open first” box, which you can keep on-hand during your move. That way, you won’t have to dig through boxes to find towels or pillows after a long day of unpacking.

Preparedness is key! Keeping these small things in mind when planning your move will make the process smoother and save money in the long run.

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