When PCS orders come in there are going to be a lot of things on your mind, and money issues are definitely going to be in the foreground. From tying up loose ends at your current location to getting an entire household up and running halfway across the country, there are many ways that you can let your finances fall behind. In order to prevent that, and to have as free of stress move as possible, try following these money saving PCS tips.
- Always save for a PCS. PCS orders do not always come with a lot of advance notice, and when they do it is possible you will feel like the move is so far away that you don’t need to get started on it just yet. Resist that urge. As a military family you should keep a bit of money aside just in case things go wrong during a move, or you are moving when you don’t expect it. The amount that will make you feel secure is different for every family but try keeping enough to make deposits on your utilities and a rental apartment. This will keep you stress free in case you show up at your new home and find that there was a problem with your housing. Having enough to cover the cost of renting a truck can help you when your moving allowance takes a bit longer to come through than you expect.
- Consider a DITY. A do-it-yourself move may be considerably cheaper for your family, if you know what you are doing. Of course, it isn’t for everyone. Busy families that don’t have the spare time to pack and load their belongings may let the military move them. However, you can often move more belongings for the same cost if you do it yourself, or pocket some of the moving allowance to help get you started in your new home. If you choose to go this route make sure to place your rentals plenty of time in advance and look for hidden fees that might not make it as economical as it seems. For this reason a DITY should be considered, but not always done.
- Save your packing material. There is always another PCS on the horizon, so find a place in your new home where you can tuck away packing supplies to reuse the next time you move. This is especially important if you are going to do a DITY move. Remember that the first move is the most expensive, and each subsequent move should be slightly cheaper.
- Save all of your receipts. You can get reimbursed for quite a lot during the moving process, but not if you don’t have proof of purchase. Keep receipts organized and hang onto them until your next move to remind yourself of various costs. That being said, it is great to know what the military will cover before hand. Spend some time at the family services center to find out exactly what will be covered and plan accordingly.
- Stay within the limits. Based on the distance of your move and the number of family members moving with you there will be strict limits regarding how much stuff the military will move for you. If you go over these limits you can expect to pay large fees. Find out exactly what the limits are and plan ahead to make sure you are under them. If you are over, have a garage sale to clear out some of your clutter, help other families in need, and generate a little spending money for your move all at once.
- Do plenty of research. Know what kind of city you will be moving to. Will base housing be cheaper than renting privately? If you will have an off-base rental make sure you have a plan in place to give you plenty of time to look at different homes and make a wise renting decision without pressure. Research the cost of connecting utilities, general renting and insurance costs, as well as short-term housing for when you first arrive. Also, research the general cost-of-living in your new city and compare it to your current station to know whether you will have to tighten your budget or if you can relax your spending a bit.
A PCS move can be one of the most stressful repeating life events for military families. A lot of it, like making new friends, and what type of base housing is available, can not be controlled by you. For this reason it is particularly important that you control the financial aspects of the move. Planning ahead can reduce stress, and turn a PCS into a fun, positive experience for the entire family.