Frugal Flitting: Trying to save money while moving house


Moving house is a pretty expensive undertaking, as well as being one of the most stressful experiences you can put yourself through.  For the frugal, moving house isn’t something to undertake lightly as it will eat up a chunk of money.  If the reason for yearning to relocate can be fixed by building a garage or a shed, fitting a new kitchen or changing the layout of your rooms then it is always worth considering that first.  But once you’ve decided that moving home is the only way to go how do you do this within a budget?

We made the decision to move from our Salford flat to somewhere more tranquil earlier this year; only closing all the roads would make Salford quieter, so finding a new place to live became the only option.  Moving house wasn’t something we had budgeted for when we retired in 2017, we thought we would be in Salford until the end of our days but being comfortable where we live is important and fortunately we had the flexibility within our finances to spend the money we needed to.

We had always built in some contingency to our early retirement planning but mostly we were only able to afford a move because we had continued to live frugally in our retirement and because we had earnings from my travel writing.  With two years experience of our spending in our retired life, we gave the savings we had left a good hard look, made a spreadsheet and planned what we could afford to spend on moving house.  Our Morecambe home cost a tad more than our Salford flat and on top of this the process of moving home cost us £4,761.  There isn’t much slack in our savings now [we can’t move again!] but we have retained that contingency fund and feel comfortable.

Below is where we managed to shave a bit off the cost of moving house.

Solicitors – £1,711

We are members of Unison and this gives us a discount with BBH Legal Services Ltd.  There are cheaper conveyancing solicitors out there but cheap does not always mean the most efficient and helpful.  During the process of selling our flat our chain was held up on more than one occasion due to the incompetence of a solicitors that offered a cheap online service and had clearly taken on more work than he could manage.  Having a proficient solicitor is important in keeping the stress levels down during a move and in our experience BBH were always available and realistic and gave an excellent service at a reasonable cost.

Packing – £53

We saved money by doing the packing ourselves and also saved 75p per box by buying used cardboard boxes from a Manchester storage company.  We don’t have lots of delicate trinkets but we have china plates, bowls and mugs.  It turned out that large rolls of plastic bubble wrap were not necessary to protect these precious items.  We bought 100 sheets of tissue paper from the storage company for £4 which was plenty and nothing got broken between Salford and Morecambe.  After we had moved we advertised the boxes as being available online.  Someone asked for them almost immediately and gave us wine and chocolates when we delivered the now third-hand boxes!

Removal firm – £662

Last time we moved house we hired a van and moved ourselves but this move was further and would have needed two trips as we now owned two sofas [so much for minimalism] so we decided to pay for the professionals.  We shopped around for a good removal firm, asked for recommendations on local Facebook groups and eventually choosing a small firm in Morecambe.  They were not only excellent, compared to Manchester-based companies, they were about £300 cheaper.  They were also around £500 cheaper than the one large national firm we received a quote from.  Every member of the company, from arranging a quote, to setting the date and moving our furniture, were friendly and efficient.  Buying local and outside metropolitan areas can be cost saving.

Estate Agent – £2,040

Last time we moved house we didn’t use an estate agent but sold it ourselves, just paying a small fee to have the house advertised on the relevant websites.  We did this because of the local market and we put a lot of work in ourselves leafleting locally and showing people around.  Our flat was a different place to sell and we knew this time we needed the help of an estate agent.  We considered three estate agents and did hire the most expensive of those three because they were local and we felt they knew the development we lived in best and would sell it to prospective buyers.  We hoped this would lead to a successful quick sale of our flat.  We saved £200 by refusing the premium listing cost they offered for better photographs and a highlighted listing online.  The flat sold in just a few weeks but how much that was down to how we presented it [we worked hard to ensure it looked its best] and how much to the Estate Agent’s work is a bit of an unknown.  Maybe it was team work!

Energy Performance Certificate – £45

We had to have one of these completed for our flat and we shopped around ourselves, rather than paying for one through the Estate Agent, saving ourselves £30.

Stamp Duty – £250

This is a fixed cost that relates to the price of the property you are buying.

I am sure we could have done this cheaper … have you?










Author: Back on the Road Again Blog

I write two blogs, one about my travels in our campervan and living well and frugally and the second about the stories behind the people commemorated in memorial benches.

15 thoughts on “Frugal Flitting: Trying to save money while moving house”

  1. Thanks for sharing this! Although we are in Canada, and costs are different, it’s a great reminder to the other costs of moving, not just the cost of the next home. I dread the day when we will need to pack up all of the stuff that we accumulated over the 20 years we had lived in our current house.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Interesting breakdown & thanks for this, as daughter will be going though a similar process soon (fingers crossed…). Am all for recycling packaging & the DIY approach too – maybe harder work but offset against cost/environmental considerations, it’s worth it!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Bob and Merlin hope you and Anthony will be very happy in Morecambe. I worked as a removal lorry driver for a while in the 1970’s, one of the most interesting and varied jobs I’ve had.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Bob and Merlin. I can imagine it is an interesting job. We used a big national firm in the 1980s for one move and the guys were very miserable and unhelpful. We had a tiny baby and two cats and were frazzled!


  4. thanks for the post – it’s something that’s been in my mind about any future move that we have to do. The cost and inconvenience of the move makes me think that we’d be better to keep our place and just take extended holidays where we might like to move to and only sell up and move if we are certain.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. Certainly being sure about a move is important. Taking extended holidays to get a feel for places is a good idea. At first we thought we might move to the countryside but when we gave it deeper consideration, rather than just a superficial ‘that would be nice’ thought, we realised we wanted to be in a small town with shops and services so we are not dependent on a vehicle.


      1. now owning a car / only renting one when you need it would probably save the average family £3000 a year.
        Good luck with the move and embracing a car-free life (you’ll not miss getting mad about traffic, parking or petrol costs I’m sure)

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Of course, we do own a campervan so that doesn’t really count as car-free! But otherwise we haven’t owned a car for about 30 years and the ‘van is a bit thirsty so we don’t use it for shopping and day to day chores just for holidays.


  5. The importance of a detailed plan right at the start makes the job so much easier. we use a checklist and then cost out each stage using quotes from key professionals. its important to work out a budget as so many Buyers drop out of a transaction because the upfront costs mount up. Did you use a conveyancing comparison website to find your Solicitor? We set ours up a few years ago and have helped so many people. What could your Solicitor have done that would have made your life easier?
    Great article and got me thinking


Leave a Reply to GentlemansFamilyFinances Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: