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How to Cut Moving Costs

The new tax law could make relocating more expensive.

Summer is peak season for moving, and this year, there's a new wrinkle: The tax law that took effect January 1 scrapped the deduction for a work-related move, unless you're active-duty military with an order to relocate. That means it's more important than ever to look for ways to lower your costs.

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Plan ahead. Try to book a mover at least six weeks in advance, and aim for midweek, when rates probably will be lower than on the weekend, or mid month, when they'll be lower than at the end of the month. Ideally, schedule your move for September or later, when rates are lower and movers may offer more-flexible scheduling, says the American Moving and Storage Association.

Downsize. Because your cost will depend partly on the weight of your belongings (along with time and distance), dispose of anything you no longer need or want. Then get three written estimates from movers who visit your home.

Protect yourself from fraud. Avoid movers who provide a verbal or lowball estimate. Those are signs of rogue operators who may hold your goods hostage until you pay more. Don't hire movers who demand cash or ask you to sign blank documents. For more tips, see www.protectyourmove.gov.

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