Free boxes, van sharing and affinity deals
Craigslist and some moving-van companies have online ride boards where people moving to the same college or city can connect with one another and share vans.
"If two people can split the cost of one rental instead of having one rental each, that will absolutely be cheaper," Howell says.
Do-it-yourself movers also should ask rental companies about affinity discounts. Budget Truck Rental offers a particularly extensive set of such breaks, with special discounts for students, military personnel, teachers, police officers, firefighters, AAA and AARP members and more.
Some rental companies even have cross-promotions with firms that offer special deals on goods and services for your move or your new home. For instance, Penske Truck Rental customers can get discounts on everything from hotels to mortgages.
Looking for free or discounted boxes? People planning moves have long asked local grocery stores for leftover boxes, while U-Haul stores have "swap" areas where customers can drop off or pick up used boxes for free. U-Haul also has an online box exchange that lets customers sell or give away packing material they no longer need.