How to Move on a Small Budget

When you’re on a tight budget and are low on options, moving can seem like an impossible task. To say the least, learning how to move with no money takes a little research.

Is such a feat possible? Juuust about. While you may need a little chump change, it is possible to move with virtually nothing on you.

Moving with no money often happens when you’re trying to navigate a natural disaster or difficult living situation. It’s ideal to give yourself time to save up and plan out, but sometimes you just don’t have the ability. We’re going to explore how to move with (virtually) no money so you can get yourself in a better spot.

But first, check out these helpful articles.

  • Best Interstate Movers – The moving industry is full of shady players. With so much at stake, it’s worth hiring a top-rated long-distance mover with verified customer reviews.
  • How much will your move cost? – Our moving cost calculator is a great resource. Just enter your move dates, origin and destination cities, and the estimated size of your move, and the magic algorithms will do the rest.
  • Consider moving containers – It’s simple. You load and unload, they drive, and you save big bucks. These are the best moving container companies.

Is It Possible to Move Out With No Money?

It’s important to get the basics out of the way: the less money you have, the more resourceful you’ll have to be. Your journey will be much more roundabout when you’re unable to pay for basic services such as transportation or packing.

Moving with no money is a little bit of an exaggeration. You should at least scrounge in your couch cushions for a little spare change to get you on public transport or grab something to eat along the way. It’s also possible to put some money toward your move by selling unwanted items, which we’ll explore more below.

Having literally zero dollars is going to put you in the difficult position of having to plot out every last minor detail of your move. Such a narrow choice means a curveball could easily knock you off-course and be difficult to recover from.

Since moving to a new home is a complex situation at the best of times, you’re better off saving up at least a few hundred dollars beforehand.

Can I Move to Another State Without Money?

It’s one thing to move from one block to the next with no money. Moving to another state is clearly going to be more expensive, as you need a resource to move from point A to point B.

There are several very cost-effective ways to move your furniture and knick-knacks out of the state. We’ll list a few below so you can start exploring your options.

Rent a Freight Trailer

Moving with no money is much easier when you only have a room or two to your name. If you have a larger move on your hands, moving on $20 is going to be very slow and very arduous.

A freight trailer is your best bet for saving money while moving a large volume of belongings. Just make sure you’re in the mood to pack and transport. This is the classic ‘you move, they drive’ choice: all you have to do is load up your trailer within three days. Upon arrival, you have another three days to unload.

Nice and simple, right? Depending on the amount of your belongings and the distance, you could spend a few hundred dollars to a thousand.

Ship by Greyhound Bus

This option is fantastically cheap and very effective for smaller moves. Several bus systems, such as Greyhound, use their extra space to help people move their boxes.

Are you planning to move out of state and have little to no furniture? Shipping by bus is the most affordable option on your list. All bus systems will have weight limits: Greyhound has a limit of 250 lbs, which is common elsewhere.

Be mindful that buses don’t offer the smoothest transport, so you may have some bent or dented boxes upon arrival. You should also plan in advance for delays, so make sure you have a reliable place to sleep (and a backup plan).

What Options Do I Have for Moving With No Money?

It’s time to get clever and start reaching out to your network. You have options available to you, but you’ll have to stay on top of every detail if you want to pull this off.

Use Your Car

Clearly, this option won’t be possible if you don’t have a vehicle. If you do have a car or a truck, consider shipping your furniture with a moving service and taking the rest of your belongings in your trunk.

This moving option means you’ll have to primarily spend money on:

  • Gas
  • Food
  • Oil change
  • Tire check
  • A moving container for furniture

Sell Any and All Unwanted Belongings

This is the best way to not move with no money…because you can make extra money selling unwanted belongings!

Downsizing serves two purposes: putting extra cash in your pocket and giving you less items to transport. Promote your garage sale or yard sale a few weeks in advance to give you time to sell what you don’t want.

If you can’t sell everything, donate unwanted items to a non-profit organization.

Ask a Friend (or Two) for Help

Do you have good friends ready and able to help you out? Ask them if they could spend a weekend or two helping you pack, transport, and ship your items.

Obviously, this isn’t a solution for everyone. Some movers don’t have a close support system, while others have friends who are too busy with work or school. If you have a few friends able to help out, make sure you commit to a tight schedule to keep things from going off track.

Try Couchsurfing or a Cheap AirBNB

Again, this solution only works if you have several friends in the right places. If you have someone to bunk with in-between your move, you can save a lot of money.

Even the cheapest motel will still charge $40 or $50 per night, while hotels tend to charge between $75 to $150. AirBnB is a useful alternative for movers who don’t mind living with the basics until they’re able to settle in. Just make sure to carefully read customer reviews and avoid any place that seems sketchy.

You can also put these moving expenses on a credit card if you don’t mind a little debt later.

Rent a Moving Container to Double as Storage

Got a few hundred on you? Consider renting a moving container to ship your items to your destination. Even better, this moving container doubles as a storage unit.

Small moves – such as a studio or a one-bedroom apartment – will be just fine with a standard seven-foot moving container. Multiple bedroom homes are better off with a 12-foot or a 16-foot moving container. Choose from a variety of moving container services like U-Pack or Zippy Shell.

Be sure to double-check and see how long you can use the moving container as a storage unit. Many businesses offer at least a few weeks – sometimes a few months – to give you wiggle room to unpack.

You don’t have to break the bank searching for an appropriate option, either. Moving containers regularly make our ‘most affordable lists’ for their low cost, discounts, and flexible features.

How to Find Free Moving Supplies

Don’t go broke just to find fancy moving supplies! There are a ton of useful packing materials you can find in your day-to-day life.

Plenty of Establishments Have Moving Boxes

You’d be stunned at how many places offer easy access to moving boxes. Americans are filled with wanderlust at the best of times, which reflects in our business practices and day-to-day life.

A short list of local businesses you can contact to gain free (or very cheap) moving boxes are:

  • Grocery stores
  • Restaurants and bars
  • Home improvement stores
  • Bookstores
  • Craigslist
  • Schools
  • Recycling centers

Make sure the boxes aren’t wet, filled with holes, or crumpled in. You might deal with damaged boxes with your shipping container or bus ship options.

Stock Up on Bags

Need bags to fill up with clothes, toys, or magazines? You’re better off finding hardy trash bags that can hold up to a little wear-and-tear.

While plastic bags are plentiful, these are best for smaller items such as:

  • Toiletries
  • Make-up
  • Pillows
  • Towels
  • Snacks

Use Plenty of Packing Tape

No move should be without good packing tape. This simple tool is how you keep your moving boxes properly secured.

Duct tape should be used for heavier boxes, while painter’s tape can be used for small boxes and for labeling.

Don’t Forget Permanent Markers

Save yourself some trouble and label your boxes and bags. A permanent marker is the only option here, as you could lose valuable information if someone rubs your labels off.

Conclusion

Moving with no money is a bit of an exaggeration. Most movers will still need a few hundred dollars to use basic services or buy food on their way to a new home.

That said, moving with no money is far from impossible. You’ll need to reach out to local businesses for supplies and have a reliable support system to help you with moving, packing, and disassembling. This feat is also easier if you already have a car or aren’t moving out of state into a new city.

Budget as soon as you can and don’t be afraid to ask for help. You can do it!
When you’re on a tight budget and are low on options, moving can seem like an impossible task. To say the least, learning how to move with no money takes a little research.

Is such a feat possible? Juuust about. While you may need a little chump change, it is possible to move with virtually nothing on you.

Moving with no money often happens when you’re trying to navigate a natural disaster or difficult living situation. It’s ideal to give yourself time to save up and plan out, but sometimes you just don’t have the ability. We’re going to explore how to move with (virtually) no money so you can get yourself in a better spot.

But first, check out these helpful articles.

  • Best Interstate Movers – The moving industry is full of shady players. With so much at stake, it’s worth hiring a top-rated long-distance mover with verified customer reviews.
  • How much will your move cost? – Our moving cost calculator is a great resource. Just enter your move dates, origin and destination cities, and the estimated size of your move, and the magic algorithms will do the rest.
  • Consider moving containers – It’s simple. You load and unload, they drive, and you save big bucks. These are the best moving container companies.

Is It Possible to Move Out With No Money?

It’s important to get the basics out of the way: the less money you have, the more resourceful you’ll have to be. Your journey will be much more roundabout when you’re unable to pay for basic services such as transportation or packing.

Moving with no money is a little bit of an exaggeration. You should at least scrounge in your couch cushions for a little spare change to get you on public transport or grab something to eat along the way. It’s also possible to put some money toward your move by selling unwanted items, which we’ll explore more below.

Having literally zero dollars is going to put you in the difficult position of having to plot out every last minor detail of your move. Such a narrow choice means a curveball could easily knock you off-course and be difficult to recover from.

Since moving to a new home is a complex situation at the best of times, you’re better off saving up at least a few hundred dollars beforehand.

Can I Move to Another State Without Money?

It’s one thing to move from one block to the next with no money. Moving to another state is clearly going to be more expensive, as you need a resource to move from point A to point B.

There are several very cost-effective ways to move your furniture and knick-knacks out of the state. We’ll list a few below so you can start exploring your options.

Rent a Freight Trailer

Moving with no money is much easier when you only have a room or two to your name. If you have a larger move on your hands, moving on $20 is going to be very slow and very arduous.

A freight trailer is your best bet for saving money while moving a large volume of belongings. Just make sure you’re in the mood to pack and transport. This is the classic ‘you move, they drive’ choice: all you have to do is load up your trailer within three days. Upon arrival, you have another three days to unload.

Nice and simple, right? Depending on the amount of your belongings and the distance, you could spend a few hundred dollars to a thousand.

Ship by Greyhound Bus

This option is fantastically cheap and very effective for smaller moves. Several bus systems, such as Greyhound, use their extra space to help people move their boxes.

Are you planning to move out of state and have little to no furniture? Shipping by bus is the most affordable option on your list. All bus systems will have weight limits: Greyhound has a limit of 250 lbs, which is common elsewhere.

Be mindful that buses don’t offer the smoothest transport, so you may have some bent or dented boxes upon arrival. You should also plan in advance for delays, so make sure you have a reliable place to sleep (and a backup plan).

What Options Do I Have for Moving With No Money?

It’s time to get clever and start reaching out to your network. You have options available to you, but you’ll have to stay on top of every detail if you want to pull this off.

Use Your Car

Clearly, this option won’t be possible if you don’t have a vehicle. If you do have a car or a truck, consider shipping your furniture with a moving service and taking the rest of your belongings in your trunk.

This moving option means you’ll have to primarily spend money on:

  • Gas
  • Food
  • Oil change
  • Tire check
  • A moving container for furniture

Sell Any and All Unwanted Belongings

This is the best way to not move with no money…because you can make extra money selling unwanted belongings!

Downsizing serves two purposes: putting extra cash in your pocket and giving you less items to transport. Promote your garage sale or yard sale a few weeks in advance to give you time to sell what you don’t want.

If you can’t sell everything, donate unwanted items to a non-profit organization.

Ask a Friend (or Two) for Help

Do you have good friends ready and able to help you out? Ask them if they could spend a weekend or two helping you pack, transport, and ship your items.

Obviously, this isn’t a solution for everyone. Some movers don’t have a close support system, while others have friends who are too busy with work or school. If you have a few friends able to help out, make sure you commit to a tight schedule to keep things from going off track.

Try Couchsurfing or a Cheap AirBNB

Again, this solution only works if you have several friends in the right places. If you have someone to bunk with in-between your move, you can save a lot of money.

Even the cheapest motel will still charge $40 or $50 per night, while hotels tend to charge between $75 to $150. AirBnB is a useful alternative for movers who don’t mind living with the basics until they’re able to settle in. Just make sure to carefully read customer reviews and avoid any place that seems sketchy.

You can also put these moving expenses on a credit card if you don’t mind a little debt later.

Rent a Moving Container to Double as Storage

Got a few hundred on you? Consider renting a moving container to ship your items to your destination. Even better, this moving container doubles as a storage unit.

Small moves – such as a studio or a one-bedroom apartment – will be just fine with a standard seven-foot moving container. Multiple bedroom homes are better off with a 12-foot or a 16-foot moving container. Choose from a variety of moving container services like U-Pack or Zippy Shell.

Be sure to double-check and see how long you can use the moving container as a storage unit. Many businesses offer at least a few weeks – sometimes a few months – to give you wiggle room to unpack.

You don’t have to break the bank searching for an appropriate option, either. Moving containers regularly make our ‘most affordable lists’ for their low cost, discounts, and flexible features.

How to Find Free Moving Supplies

Don’t go broke just to find fancy moving supplies! There are a ton of useful packing materials you can find in your day-to-day life.

Plenty of Establishments Have Moving Boxes

You’d be stunned at how many places offer easy access to moving boxes. Americans are filled with wanderlust at the best of times, which reflects in our business practices and day-to-day life.

A short list of local businesses you can contact to gain free (or very cheap) moving boxes are:

  • Grocery stores
  • Restaurants and bars
  • Home improvement stores
  • Bookstores
  • Craigslist
  • Schools
  • Recycling centers

Make sure the boxes aren’t wet, filled with holes, or crumpled in. You might deal with damaged boxes with your shipping container or bus ship options.

Stock Up on Bags

Need bags to fill up with clothes, toys, or magazines? You’re better off finding hardy trash bags that can hold up to a little wear-and-tear.

While plastic bags are plentiful, these are best for smaller items such as:

  • Toiletries
  • Make-up
  • Pillows
  • Towels
  • Snacks

Use Plenty of Packing Tape

No move should be without good packing tape. This simple tool is how you keep your moving boxes properly secured.

Duct tape should be used for heavier boxes, while painter’s tape can be used for small boxes and for labeling.

Don’t Forget Permanent Markers

Save yourself some trouble and label your boxes and bags. A permanent marker is the only option here, as you could lose valuable information if someone rubs your labels off.

Conclusion

Moving with no money is a bit of an exaggeration. Most movers will still need a few hundred dollars to use basic services or buy food on their way to a new home.

That said, moving with no money is far from impossible. You’ll need to reach out to local businesses for supplies and have a reliable support system to help you with moving, packing, and disassembling. This feat is also easier if you already have a car or aren’t moving out of state into a new city.

Budget as soon as you can and don’t be afraid to ask for help. You can do it!

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