Moving house the cheapskate way

How to save money when moving house!

My property manager is on my case right now about renewing our lease. If there’s anything to make you hark back to the horror of moving house, it’s the prospect of, well, moving house. We’re planning to stay here for at least the rest of the year, but beyond that, who knows?

I have moved house many times in the seven years I’ve lived on my own (holy shit, has it really been that long?). Moving can be an expensive exercise, but I’ve pared down on many of these things because I am a cheapskate.

Double rent

The most potential to save comes in being strategic (and lucky) enough to perfectly align your move out and move in dates. I think I’ve only paid double rent once (WOOT) and one week of double rent is not too bad (rent is usually paid weekly in NZ). This may lead to a bit of a mad scramble to move in the space of an afternoon or a day or two, but it’s worth it IMO to save the moolah.

Moving costs

I’ll admit I have a burly dude on call, and not only does T willingly lend his muscle, he also manages to provide boxes from his workplace. During our early moves, we utilised the vans/utes of people we knew. More recently, I’ve borrowed a company van after hours, and twice used James Blond to hire a truck ($75 for two hours), which I would definitely recommend. In these seven years, I’m pretty sure that $150 is all I’ve spent on moving.

Property fees

Property managers take their initial cut from renters – a week’s rent plus GST – and because hardly anyone wants to manage their own rental houses these days, these fees are getting harder to avoid. I’ve always sought out private rentals in an effort to get around agency fees, but haven’t always been successful. Boo.

Cleaning up

Upon emptying your old place of all your crap, you will invariably notice weird spots, stains, scratches. This will result in a panicked trip to procure all kinds of products to clean up the mess. There might even be a visit to the supermarket to borrow a Rug Doctor. Or, if it’s a big house, you might just give in and pay for a pro to come give it a proper once-over scrub. And all those blown lightbulbs you never bothered replacing? It’s time. Prevention is better than cure. Don’t slack off on maintenance like me.


I was talking to a friend once about how out of reach home purchases are for Aucklanders today. She said something about tacking on another $20k for furnishings when considering the cost. I nearly choked.

In moving from smaller places to bigger ones back to smaller ones then upsizing again, we’ve done plenty of both purging and acquiring. My bed is one of the few items of furniture I paid for. Our TV was originally nabbed for a few bucks from someone T knew as it wasn’t working (he fixed it, and voila, a nice flatscreen). Our lounge furniture is all free – donated by friends and family, and once, picked up off the kerbside during inorganics. My desk, I admit, was pinched from the first flat I ever lived in. And I’ve never owned a dresser in my life, though I’d like one when we eventually own our own place.

Key cutting

One of those costs that really grates, but one you can’t avoid. Even if you live alone, you’re gonna need a spare set (funny how they never hand over more than one set; surely the previous tenants also had multiple copies?).

How do you keep costs down while moving?  

2 thoughts on “Moving house the cheapskate way

  • Reply Caitlin July 17, 2012 at 06:26

    I hear you about the pains of a move. I usually give myself about two weeks to move (it has worked out without requiring me to pay double rent so far somehow) but at the end of this month I will only have 3 days or so, which has me freaking out. I will hire movers because I find that pros are so much quicker and cost as much as renting a van at an hourly rate and buying drinks and dinners for my friends cost. But I will definitely be referring to this post for other ways to cut costs. Thanks for the tips!

  • Reply Allison July 25, 2012 at 16:53

    I hate moving. These are great tips, but the key cutting part made me laugh a little because the people we bought our condo from had 6 sets of keys! SIX! for 2 people! It was nice not to have to make more, but with each of us having a set and keeping sets at work, even when someone has a set to take care of the chinchillas, there’s STILL another set.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *