Right now, I have no profound theoretical things to say about thrift because I'm busy trying to figure out the very practical problem of transporting myself, Sebastian, our stuff, and my cat from our (more or less) happy homes in Washington to our new, chillier homes in Boston in the next month. This is proving to be incredibly expensive.
I managed to find what looks like a decent apartment through a friend, which has saved me the hypothetical money and stress involved in flying out to Boston and scrambling to find a place and sign a lease within a few days, then paying a broker's fee for it. Sebastian, however, has not found a place, so I'm still flying out to Boston next week to help him look for one. Money not saved.
Then there is the problem of schlepping our stuff. I've done a long-distance move once before, from Chicago to Washington the summer after I finished college. That one was somewhat less complicated though thanks to my lack of worldly possessions and angry feline companion. This time, we have probably a small apartment's worth of furniture between us, and the cat can't fly on planes (IMPORTANT THRIFT ADVICE: Pets use up valuable resources and cause endless headaches. Don't get them until you are established and can be reasonably certain that you'll never move anywhere again.) Hiring movers and driving ourselves and the cat is one option, but last time Seb hired movers to move his stuff, they were expensive and lost so much of it that it was impossible to re-assemble half the furniture on arrival.
The other option is renting a large-ish truck and driving it the eight hours ourselves. We lean in this direction. So here is my question: What is the thriftiest way to move? Which truck rentals are the cheapest? Where can I get cheap boxes (that will hold heavy things--not the liquor store boxes mentioned earlier)? What is the best way to find an apartment in three days? Which furniture should I keep and which should I sell? How can I make this process as smooth as possible so that Sebastian and I don't kill each other before we even arrive? Any ideas?