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Student Moves 101: Budget-Friendly Strategies for an Affordable Relocation


Mick Pacholli
Mick Pachollihttps://tagg.com.au
Mick created TAGG - The Alternative Gig Guide in 1979 with Helmut Katterl, the world's first real Street Magazine. He had been involved with his father's publishing business, Toorak Times and associated publications since 1972.  Mick was also involved in Melbourne's music scene for a number of years opening venues, discovering and managing bands and providing information and support for the industry.        

Moving to a new place can be an exciting chapter in your life, especially as a student gearing up for the next academic adventure. 

However, the prospect of relocation brings with it the challenge of managing the move without breaking the bank. As you navigate this transition, understanding how to streamline your moving process and cut costs can turn what may seem like a daunting task into an achievable one.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through everything there is to know about moving on a budget so you can save money and make your next move stress-free.

Pre-Move Planning

When planning a move on a budget, it’s crucial to manage your finances carefully, find cost-effective housing, and reduce your belongings to lower moving expenses.

Crafting Your Moving Budget

To create your moving budget, account for all potential expenses (there will be more than you think):

  • Moving Supplies: Boxes, tape, bubble wrap
  • Transport: Truck hire or professional movers’ fees
  • Utilities: Setting up electricity, gas, water, and internet
  • Rental Bond: Often four weeks’ rent
  • Contents Insurance: To protect your belongings

Layout your expenses in a table to easily track your spending against your income and savings.

Organising Belongings and Packing

Sort through your belongings and declutter to reduce what you need to pack. Create an inventory list categorised by room, which will help in unpacking at your new accommodation. Pack non-essential items first and leave essentials for the last. Make sure you securely pack important documents related to uni, the lease, and utilities such as electricity, gas, water, and internet.

  • Inventory: Group by type (clothing, books, kitchenware, etc.)

  • Decluttering: Donate or sell items you no longer need.

  • Packing Tips:

    • Label each box clearly with contents and room destination.
    • Keep a box or suitcase with essentials you’ll need immediately.
    • Use clothing and linens to cushion fragile items.

In organising your belongings, consider what will fit in your new space. Make arrangements to store or sell any excess furniture. Keep all cleaning supplies handy for both your old and new accommodation, and ensure you have a basic toolkit for assembling furniture at your new house.

Finding Affordable Accommodation

To save on rent, consider the following:

  • Smaller or older properties which tend to be cheaper
  • Locations further from the city or uni can offer better rates
  • Sharing with flatmates to split the cost of rent and bills

Always compare rental prices online and inspect properties to ensure they meet your needs and budget.

Decluttering and Selling Unwanted Items

Items you no longer need can be sold via online marketplaces or a garage sale. This can help:

  • Reduce moving load and potential transport costs
  • Earn extra money to supplement your moving budget

List your items with clear photos and descriptions to attract buyers and secure sales.

Understanding Your New Costs

Get a clear picture of your recurring expenses, such as:

  • Utility bills: Electricity, water, and gas
  • Ongoing rent
  • Internet and other subscription services

Contact service providers for estimates of these costs in your new area. Knowing these expenses in advance helps you adjust your budget and avoid unexpected bills post-move.

Moving Day Strategies

When you’re moving on a budget, selecting cost-effective transport and minimising expenses without compromising on the safety of your belongings are essential.

Choosing the Right Transport Option

The transport you choose must balance affordability with your needs. If you’re moving a few items, borrowing a mate’s car or hiring a van for the day could suffice. 

For larger moves, shopping around for a professional moving company that offers discounted rates can save money, especially if you book during off-peak times. Always confirm that the company is reputable to avoid potential damages.

Also, consider using a volume calculator to estimate how much space you will need for the move.

Packing and Supplies Tips

Packing supplies should be relatively inexpensive; you can often borrow boxes or buy them at discounted rates from grocery stores. Be sure to secure fragile items with bubble wrap or newspapers. Creating a checklist ensures you don’t buy redundant materials. Label each box clearly to expedite the unpacking process.

Minimising Moving Day Expenses

To keep costs low, enlist the help of friends or partners to reduce the reliance on a paid company’s services. Packing your own food and snacks cuts down on the day’s expenses compared to purchasing meals. 

Sticking to your budget is vital to prevent overspending; track every cost, from packing materials to gas. When using professional movers, book during non-peak hours for potential discounts.

(Featured Image – Unsplash Royalty Free)


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