Skip to main content

How to Save Money on Packing Supplies

4 minute read

By Heather Fishel

Moving is no easy task – and it isn’t cheap either. When you’re preparing to move, you not only have to get your finances in order, but you also need to purchase packing supplies. From cardboard boxes to packing papers and bubble wrap to packing tape, simply boxing up your belongings can cost hundreds of dollars.

If you’re hoping to avoid the high costs of packing up and moving, you need to know the right tips and tricks. The cost of packing supplies can add up quickly, but there are ways to save.

mervas / Shutterstock

Here’s how you can save money on packing supplies ahead of your next move.

1. Shop Local Moving Companies Instead of Office Supply Stores

Most people head to their local office supply store when shopping for packing supplies. However, while these stores offer everything you need, they could blow your moving budget.

Office supply stores – including those online – often mark up the cost of packing supplies. Instead of shopping at these office retailers, you should shop at local moving companies.

Moving companies offer packing materials as well as the trucks and other equipment you need to move. And typically, as HGTV notes, moving companies will sell packing materials at much cheaper prices¹.

For example, Office Depot offers rolls of packing paper for $19.99². But if you shop UHaul’s packing supplies online, you’ll find that the national moving company sells packing papers for just $6.95 or $9.95³. Buying packing paper from UHaul could save you 50 percent or more!

To find the lowest prices, you’ll want to visit moving companies in your area. You can also shop online and check out big-name moving companies. Compare their prices to office supply stores and see if you can save money.

2. Rent Boxes Instead of Buying

When you think about packing supplies, cardboard boxes are likely at the top of the list. Boxes are the most-needed packing essential, and they’re quite expensive. Even worse, moving requires you to spend a lot of money on cardboard boxes – which you then recycle once you’ve unpacked. It’s like throwing money right into your recycling bin.

A smart way to reduce the amount of money you have to spend on cardboard moving boxes is to rent instead of buy.

That’s right: you can actually rent cardboard boxes just for your next move. Certain moving and packing supply companies offer box rentals, like BungoBox⁴ which rents cardboard boxes and UHaul⁵ which rents plastic boxes. According to, choosing to rent boxes can save you an average of 50 percent on packing supplies⁶.

3. Stockpile Boxes Before You Plan to Move

If you’re hoping to slash your moving and packing costs by as much as possible, you’ll want to pay close attention to all of the packages you receive. As you order items online and they’re delivered, you can save any box that isn’t damaged.

With so many of us shopping online today, boxes are delivered to our homes on a regular basis. Instead of recycling those boxes immediately after opening them, why not save them and reuse them? You can then pack your belongings in these perfectly good boxes when you’re preparing to move.

While you still might need some boxes of different sizes, saving and reusing cardboard boxes from your deliveries can reduce the total amount you spend on packing supplies.

4. Ask Local Retailers for Free Boxes and Packing Supplies

Cardboard boxes are pretty common packaging. If you aren’t able to save enough boxes on your own and don’t want to pay the high cost of purchasing brand-new moving boxes, there is another way to get them for free. All you have to do is ask.

If you need cardboard boxes, try asking different businesses in your local area. You can ask grocery stores, markets, and even restaurants if they have cardboard boxes they’re willing to part with. It’s common for warehouse retailers, like Sam’s Club, Costco, and BJ’s to even keep cardboard boxes in store for customers to take.

Try calling different stores in your town and ask if you can pick up boxes when they get their next inventory shipments or deliveries. If they say yes, the only money you have to spend is on material to keep the items inside safe and free from breakage.

5. Use an Online Calculator Before Buying Supplies

If you’ve exhausted your resources and need to purchase packing supplies, there is one last way you can save money. Before you shop, use an online calculator to determine how much you’ll need.

An online calculator, like the one available at, will help you get a solid estimate of the amount of packing supplies you’ll need for your move⁷. It will help you use the number of bedrooms in your current living space and your packing experience to calculate how much you’ll need. This can help you purchase items in bulk, which may be a way to save. Or, it can ensure you don’t overspend and buy too much.

Ahead of your next move, give the packing supplies tips mentioned here a try. By looking for packing supplies in new ways and unconventional places, you may be able to score significant savings. You may even be able to find some packing materials, like cardboard boxes, for free.

The key is planning and preparing ahead of time. If you search for different discounts, places to purchase packing supplies, and alternative options, you can find ways to slim down your spending.

Heather Fishel