With a little help from my friends…


Cost:  Only slightly less than hiring a mover
Success: 1/5 for cost, 4/5 for loving care of valuables

Most of the money-saving experiments I write about are successful or moderately successful. I know that gets boring after a while. People don’t watch American Idol just to see the good singers, and they don’t read the paper for the stories about kittens that were saved from trees.

Getting your friends to help you move seems like a really good way to save money, but in practice it only saves money if you’re a total cheap-ass, or if you have inhumanly generous friends.

It started when someone at my church offered to help me move. I was really happy about this. He helped me load up the church bus that Friday. I got him a gift card for Mr. Lube, because I knew he was due for an oil change. He tried to politely decline it, but I insisted he take it.

The next day three other people came to load the rest of my stuff into the bus and a van and my car, then move it into my new place. Each of them dedicated a good part of their day and they were ambitious and careful and really helpful.

So after a long day, everyone was hungry. And I’d be a jerk not to buy them food, right? So I did.

But food is a pretty measly thank you for people who have just given up their Saturday to help me, right? So I got them gift cards as well. The gift cards had to be worth the same amount as the one I gave to the first person who helped me.

I wanted to reimburse the gas that the church bus had used, because it’s a big diesel bus and it doesn’t run cheap. So I made a donation to cover that.

In the end, the cost was not too far off from what a mover would charge.


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