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Moving doesn’t have to be a nightmare.

Whatever your reasons for moving, it almost always costs more than you thought it would — or think it should.

According to an article in the Toronto Star, on average it can cost over $1,000 to move a one-bedroom apartment, and more than $2,000 for a three-bedroom house.

But there are ways to keep your moving expenses in check. These six tips can help:

  1. Before your move, decide exactly how much money you have in your budget: Then, look for housing options that can help you stick to that amount.

  2. Move during the off-season: Generally speaking, moving rates tend to be lower between September and May. Moving in the middle of the month, versus the end of the month, may also save you a few bucks.

  3. Get several estimates: Experts at Real Simple recommend getting three or four bids from reputable moving companies. To find a moving company, ask for referrals from family and friends. Once you have some names, you should check the Better Business Bureau database to look for any complaints that may have been filed against the companies. And don’t be afraid to negotiate. Some moving companies may be willing to drop their price if they know you are also looking into the competition. Check out these Basics of Finding a Mover from the Canadian Association of Movers.

  4. De-clutter before you move: One of the easiest ways to save on moving costs is to move less stuff. Anything you never unpacked from your last move or items that haven’t been used in a year or two are probably safe to toss. Also, instead of holding a time-consuming garage sale to get rid of old items, consider just donating your extra belongings to charity. It takes less time than organizing a garage sale, plus you may be able to get a tax

  5. Find your own boxes and packing materials: If you buy boxes and packing materials from a moving company, it will cost you. With some resourcefulness, you can avoid this expense. For example, round up boxes from family and friends. If you still need more, check with local grocery stores, restaurants and retail shops — many will give you unneeded boxes for free. Instead of buying bubble wrap and other types of packing materials, try lining boxes with towels, bed linens and even old clothing. It will keep your valuables from breaking, without breaking your budget.

  6. Pack items yourself: In addition to making sure your items are packed just the way you want them, you’ll also save money. Another DIY packing solution is to have a portable storage unit delivered to your home and load it up yourself. The moving company will drive it to your destination. Depending on how far you’re moving, this can save hundreds of dollars and is often cheaper than renting a truck to move your belongings long distances yourself.

Yes, moving can be expensive, but you can do some of these things to soften the financial blow and still have a successful moving experience.

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