Almost 70 percent of American high school graduates (a number that was well over 2 million in 2015) head to college for the first time each fall.
If you’re one of them and have never faced a solo move before, the prospect of packing and shipping everything may seem a bit overwhelming.
Moving to college is not only an emotional and physical challenge; it can also put a strain on your budget if you don’t plan carefully.
Here are some tips to help you plan a more streamlined and less stressful moving experience while saving money that you’ll need later for books or tuition.
1. Do the Packing Yourself
The most basic way to save money on packing is by avoiding professional packing expenses. Professional packers can save you a lot of time and stress, but if you’re on a tight budget, doing it yourself (ideally with the help of your family) can be worth the extra work. You can also reduce packing expenses by following these steps:
- Save any packing materials you get in the mail in the weeks before you start packing.
- Ask your shipping company for used boxes; it may let you have them for free.
- Use clothing and other soft items as padding for anything that needs protection.
- Fill storage containers (such as stackable drawers) with their intended contents before packing them to save space and time.
You’ve probably heard the advice, "just pack less stuff" more often than you’d like. Fortunately, packing less now doesn’t mean you can’t have a colorful new bedspread or cool dorm room decor later. Doing all your college shopping online allows you to have items shipped straight to campus, which is especially important if you don’t have a car. Many large department stores offer free shipping for large orders, eliminating shipping costs altogether for these items. If campus policy doesn’t allow for boxes arriving before move-in day, simply save all the items in your online shopping cart and strategically place your order a few days before move-in.
2. Choose Curbside Pickup
Full-service shipping and moving companies are willing to pick up boxes from inside your house, but you’re more likely to get a budget-friendly price if you agree to have everything waiting at the curb when they come by. Rope some family members or friends into helping you carry boxes and remember to lift correctly so you don’t strain your back. Try to schedule the pickup well in advance and, while you’re on the phone, ask if you can get a better price by booking a less-busy time or date for the pickup.
3. Get Started Early by Sending Boxes Ahead of Time
It may not be necessary to ship your boxes the exact same week you pack your suitcase and board the plane. In fact, you can ship them several weeks ahead of time if you have a friend or relative near campus who’s willing to store them or if your college allows you to send things to campus early. This is important because the earlier you send your boxes, the less shipping prices will be inflated by the thousands of other people who are also sending boxes to college. Only certain types of items should be sent early, though. For example, it’s a good idea to keep everything that you’ll need immediately (such as your bath towel, toiletries and sheets) in your personal luggage. You’ll also want to keep fragile and valuable items, like your laptop, with you at all times.
Moving away to college is an adventure that can combine excitement and stress in a variety of ways, but planning well can help you focus more on the exciting opportunities ahead of you rather than getting mired in moving chaos. Use these tips to help you achieve a smoother shipping and moving experience that stays within budget.
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Last update on 2019-02-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API