Moving can be an exciting opportunity to begin a new chapter in your life. But the financial burden and stress of coordinating a move can curb one's enthusiasm for welcoming this kind of change.

While the costs of moving can be daunting, with the proper knowledge of your available options and some strategic planning, it's entirely possible to move without breaking the bank. It pays to plan ahead - so if you're looking to cut costs and alleviate moving strains, consider these tips for improving and simplifying your experience.

1. Determine How Much You Want to Spend

Prior to taking the leap and setting your journey in motion, it's important to assess what you'd like to spend and then budget your move accordingly. Moving-related expenses can accumulate rapidly, so be sure to spend some time researching and evaluating how much you'd like to specifically allocate toward various needs.

If you plan to use the services of a professional moving company, shop around and compare rates. However, when receiving estimates, it's important to realize you shouldn't blindly trust the lowest estimate you are given. "Binding estimates" don't safeguard you from the possibility of companies inflating their moving costs once all your possessions are loaded into their truck, forcing you to pay the difference or watch all your belongings ditched on the curb.

Do thorough research and demand total clarity to receive estimates in line with the expectations of your budgeting.

Even with detailed analysis and planning, it's highly probable that your desired spending will not fully align with the final bill, so consider overestimating on your budget for a buffer to help account for unexpected costs.

2. Declutter and Get Rid of Unnecessary Possessions

Before packing, decide which belongings you'd like to keep and which you'd be fine getting rid of. Moving presents you with an excellent opportunity to review your possessions and declutter wherever it's possible.

Not only is the vast majority of what you own likely replaceable, but the cost of moving what you own may be comparable to the cost of simply buying something similar or better once you're settled into your new home. Efforts can also be made to sell unwanted belongings, earning you additional money to offset some of your moving expenses.

When reviewing items to keep, if you're considering whether or not to bring bulky appliances or furniture, be sure to first check the measurements of your new home to see if there's space.

3. Consider Moving Yourself Instead of Paying for Professional Services

As an alternative to hiring a professional moving company, weigh the costs of renting a vehicle to move yourself. While a self-coordinated move can help alleviate costs when it's done well, there are also several factors you'll need to consider.

Will you need any additional labor? There's always a possibility that family and friends would be willing to assist, but you may want to offer them some compensation - like cash, free meals or future favors.

Will you need any equipment? Professional moving companies have resources at their disposal to load and unload materials more effectively. Carrying heavy boxes or furniture will quickly become strenuous work for you and others without the right equipment, so consider renting carts, dollies or jacks to assist you while moving. These are items you'll only need once, so don't waste money buying them for yourself.

How far are you traveling? If you plan to rent a vehicle, you will have to pay for additional fuel costs and mileage, which is expensive for longer trips.

4. Look for Ways to Acquire Boxes for Free

Boxes play a crucial role in relocating your possessions. While they may seem relatively inexpensive, the cost of boxes and packing supplies can add up quickly.

But with that said, why spend money on boxes and packing supplies when there could be many free options available to you?

There are many places to look for free moving supplies, such as Craigslist, Freecycle, local stores,, offices and so forth - and oftentimes all it takes is simply asking. Family and friends may even have some spare boxes sitting around.

The main point is that the boxes you pick up should be sturdy enough to carry your stuff. If they're free, you may have to wonder about their durability. As for cheaper alternatives to packing paper, consider using old newspapers (or towels if ink stains are a concern).

5. Pack Carefully and Ship All the Belongings You Can

You don't have to move everything at once. Upon doing some research, you may discover that shipping certain items would be cheaper, easier and more convenient than moving them yourself.

This process can streamline your efforts to pack and move, allowing you to smoothly relocate items like books or clothes.

One downside to shipping your belongings is the likelihood that your boxes could be treated roughly. If you're looking to transport anything expensive, fragile or sentimental, it would be best to keep those items close to you.

Remember to Enjoy the Journey

Although moving is far from an easy endeavor, the costs associated with this life-altering event can be minimized by budgeting and sticking to carefully planned strategies, providing you with clarity of mind to focus on the exciting joys of beginning a new adventure.

Scott Huntington is a writer from central Pennsylvania. He enjoys working on his home and garden with his wife and 2 kids. Follow him on Twitter @SMHuntington