15 Cheapest Places to Buy Boxes for Moving on a Budget

by Erin Schollaert

Updated

The average person in the United States moves almost 12 times in their life. 

Changing locations can be expensive, and many struggle to find the cheapest place to buy boxes for moving: it’s worth the price to protect a lifetime of belongings, though.

This list will help you find the best place to buy boxes for moving based on your needs, including some options that could get you free moving materials!

1. Craigslist

The average cost for a medium-sized box: free

Types of moving material available: depends on the current listings, generally, have any kind of moving material available, including tape, trucks, etc.

Craigslist is possibly the most popular place to find moving materials when on a budget, thanks to its numerous listings and affordable individual pricing. 

It’s easier to find packaging materials around the middle of the month when most people are finished moving into new places.

2. Dumpster Diving

The average cost for a medium-sized box: free

Types of moving material available: only boxes.

The cheapest moving boxes are free. If you’re on a tight budget and want a large array of box sizes, talk to local stores that sell anything from furniture to clothing, and ask if you can take boxes out of their dumpster. 

Free moving boxes is one money-saving step you can take when moving out with no money.

It’s vital that you ask before you take boxes to avoid legal issues.

dumpster-diving-pros-and-cons

3. NextDoor

The average cost for a medium-sized box: free

Types of moving material available: depends on the current listings, generally, have any kind of moving material available, including tape, trucks, etc.

Like Craigslist, NextDoor allows you to look through listings in your area and find people giving away or selling boxes. 

If someone sells boxes, they’re generally the more expensive ones, but don’t pay more than fifty cents to a dollar per box, or you’re paying too much.

This is a good way to get boxes when looking to save money on shipping for a small business, too. 

4. Facebook Marketplace

free-boxes-facebook-marketplace

The average cost for a medium-sized box: free

Types of moving material available: depends on the current listings, generally, have any kind of moving material available, including tape, trucks, etc.

This is awesome for finding free or cheap used boxes. Make sure to check the packages’ quality before paying for them. 

You can also find shipped boxes on Facebook Marketplace, but it’s better to go local.

Tactic for Success

Don’t be afraid to barter. If someone has a massive number of boxes and is trying to piece them out by each individual box on Facebook Marketplace, offer them a set price for the full lot. They’ll often accept less than you’d have to pay going box by box.

5. Lowes

The average cost for a medium-sized box: is $1.80 (Lowes.com)

Types of moving material available: everything from tape to dollies, scissors, cleaning supplies, and more.

Lowes is awesome in person or online. 

Since this is a general home-repair store, you can find a huge range of things that will help your move, including supplies that will allow you to clean up your apartment or home before you move out or into it.

Trend on the Rise

Lowe’s stock continues to fall, down 4% in mid-2022, which is starting to be reflected in the prices of its products. Not only has lumber dropped more than 50% this year, but other goods have also dropped in price.

6. Home Depot

moving-boxes-home-depot

The average cost for a medium-sized box: is $1.98 (HomeDepot.com)

Types of moving material available: everything from tape to dollies, scissors, cleaning supplies, and more.

Like Lowes, Home Depot has a huge selection of times that will help you on every step of your move. 

This store is slightly more expensive but has a larger selection and is more likely to have everything in stock when you need it. 

Home Depot also pairs with U-Haul, having their trucks on the lot so you can move items easier, which is great.

7. OfferUp

The average cost for a medium-sized box: free

Types of moving material available: depends on the current listings; generally have any kind of moving material available, including tape, trucks, etc.

Another local listing and ads site, you can use OfferUp to meet locals and take boxes off their hands. If you have to buy boxes they never go over a dollar each. 

You can also find labor, hiring people to help you move your belongings.

Tactic for Success

Most people are active around noon and seven pm, which makes these the best times to check for box listings or make one of your own. Not only will this give you a better chance of seeing as many listings as possible, but you’ll also be more likely to get a fast reply.

8. Liquor Stores

The average cost for a medium-sized box: free

Types of moving material available: boxes. 

The best place to go in person for sturdy boxes is liquor stores. 

Not only are they generally free, but they’re always durable and strong, so you can be sure that your glasses and valuables won’t shatter during the move.

9. Office Depot

The average cost for a medium-sized box: is $3.89 (OfficeDepot.com)

Types of moving material available: everything from tape to dollies, scissors, cleaning supplies, and more.

Although most of the packaging material at Office Depot is for shipping, there’s a lot of material that’s awesome for moving. 

There’s a lot of packaging and protective material that will ensure you don’t break, scratch, or crush any of your belongings. 

10. U-Haul

The average cost for a medium-sized box: is $1.63 (UHaul.com)

Types of moving material available: boxes, tape, trucks, filler.

U-Haul is a great place to get a huge assortment of boxes for moving. 

This company offers packages specific to how big of a space you need to pack, including bubble wrap and tape, that can make your move so much easier. Plus trucks to physically move your items!

Check out our ultimate guide for the cheapest way to rent a truck to stay in your moving budget.

11. eBay

Average cost for a medium-sized box: $1 to $3 (eBay.com)

Types of moving material available: everything from tape to dollies, scissors, cleaning supplies, and more.

Whether you want to meet in person or get your boxes shipped from ten states away: eBay is a fantastic and affordable option! 

Not only can you find unused cheap boxes, but you can also find locally used boxes for even less. 

This is a great resource since you can buy almost anything you need for a move on eBay.

avoiding-scams-on-ebay

How to Avoid Getting Scammed:

  • Only Talk On eBayif someone tries to talk via email or phone, report them.
  • Avoid Too Good to Be True – if someone’s offering you the moon and back for $1, it’s likely a scam.
  • Don’t Give Out Personal Info – although they’ll need information like your address and name, don’t give out information like your card or log-in details to anyone but eBay itself.
  • Don’t Accept Checks – a scam is to send you a check for too much and ask you to send them the extra. The check will bounce: and you’ll be out the money.
  • Plan Ahead as Much as Possible – if you’re buying on eBay and they have to ship, it could be weeks before your boxes arrive. Plan ahead.

12. Walmart

Average cost for a medium-sized box: $1 to $2 (Walmart.com)

Types of moving material available: everything from tape to dollies, scissors, cleaning supplies, and more.

Everyone knows and has purchased from Walmart at some point. This company offers a low price, allowing you to buy online or purchase in person.

13. Amazon

Average cost for a medium-sized box: $1 to $2 (Amazon.com)

Types of moving material available: everything from tape to dollies, scissors, cleaning supplies, and more.

With fast shipping and a huge assortment of retailers (including some on this list), Amazon is a fantastic place to buy boxes.

14. UPS

ups-drop-box

Average cost for a medium-sized box: $3 + shipping (TheUPSStore.com)

Types of moving material available: boxes, tape, and filler.

Although most of UPS’s packaging is aimed at mailing, it is great for moving smaller items you want to be careful with. 

Of course, after you move, you can still use these materials to ship anything you want. 

15. Ace Hardware

The average cost for a medium-sized box: is $2.59 (AceHardware.com)

Types of moving material available: everything from tape to dollies, scissors, cleaning supplies, and more.

Ace is a more expensive place to purchase shipping materials, but it’s a fantastic destination if you want heavy-duty goods. 

Not only are their boxes sturdy, but they also have tools that can make a move easier, like power washers and paint.

Wrapping Up

Whether you’re moving a street over or to another country, moving should be affordable and easy. Consider some of these resources when picking where to get your moving boxes!

About the Author

Photo of author
Erin is a business teacher and mother of three. When she’s not in the classroom or fulfilling her obligations as an A+ hockey and lacrosse mom, she’s working on her latest article.