Packing & Moving Household Goods/Minimizing Moving Costs
Don't cheap out! edit
You won't save money by renting the cheapest, smallest moving truck because you'll probably have some kind of unexpected cost increasing trouble with it like having to make an extra trip or having to leave some things behind because they won't fit on the truck!
You won't save money by being cheap with your free help. Provide some refreshments for your volunteer friends / relatives because otherwise they'll just want to leave early or they won't come at all. Pizzas or cold cut sandwiches are inexpensive and filling. Save alcoholic beverages until after all the moving is done and the truck is returned.
Don't rush the moving crew edit
You won't save money by rushing your moving crew because this will make them nervous and lead to damages or personal injuries. If you have free volunteer labor then why rush them? That's not going to save you anything. Instead just relax and enjoy their company and be thankful for any help at all that you get from them even if they're slow as molasses. You can always jump in and help the slowpokes to speed up their tasks. Keep in mind the movers are professional and have a duty of care not to damage your goods. It is worth a move taking 30 minutes longer over all to have your favorite chair in one piece.
If you're using professional movers who are charging by the hour let them work at their own pace. If you think they're moving too slowly complain to the management after the move is over and ask for a refund of some of your labor costs. Rushing a professional moving crew while they're doing your job will only backfire on you because they'll resent an amateur like yourself telling them what to do. And if they are slow then do not tip them even if they pressure you to do so. Make sure that they have a written guarantee of service. Insurance does not cover accidental damage, and lets face it you cant prove to an insurance company it was deliberate!
Save your complaints for management and pay by credit card only. If they don't make things right then dispute the charge with your credit card company. You may also complain to the Better Business Bureau and to your local State Commerce Commission and to your local State Movers and Warehouseman's Association and to any other mover's watchdog agency that you can find. You can also take the company to Small Claims Court where most judges side with the mover's customer and you'll probably get reimbursed much more than the mover wants to give you!
How to actually save money edit
You will save money by renting the appropriate moving equipment to make the job easier. Rent dollies and enough pads to cover all of your furniture so you don't have costly scratch damages. And get plenty of good mover's tape for packing to securing the blanket wrappings to the furniture.
You will save money by obtaining free used boxes wherever you can but don't go insane looking for them. If you run out of time before you have enough boxes then you'll have to buy some, so start collecting them early. Bond paper boxes from your office are great for books and paper files.
You will save money using regular newspapers for packing but you will spend extra time and aggravation hand washing everything you pack in them because newsprint ink won't come off in the dishwasher. And be aware that if you wrap porous items like clay pots or lampshades or rough finish computers in them you'll never get the newsprint ink out.
Also be aware that if your being moved by a volunteer moving crew and no one gets injured and nothing gets broken during your move they have saved you from 60% to 75% of what you would have paid a professional moving company to move you! That's where most of the cost savings occur in do it yourself moving.