To be in the active duty military is to live with not just the possibility of moving, but the probability. Indeed, according to Department of Defense figures obtained by the Rand Corporation, it’s estimated that 1 in 3 military service members experience a PCS move (permanent change of station) every single year. On one hand, the frequency of PCS moves affords service members and their military family members with the opportunity to experience the United States of America in its totality – the East, South, North and West. But on the other hand, if you’ve had a bad PCS move in the past, knowing that there will undoubtedly be another one may leave you with a sense of dread as to when the next one will come.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. With the following PCS move tips and suggestions, you can make moving upon receiving your PCS orders much more enjoyable and problem-free, whether your next duty station is located upstate or on the opposite side of the country.
- Know and fully leverage your moving military benefits
Voluntarily serving your country is a sacrifice, but it comes with a variety of perks that aren’t afforded to the average person. But these benefits go beyond retirement and health care – they also include relocation services. For example, depending on how far you’re traveling, you’ll need a place to sleep and eat, especially if you have young children. Per diem reimbursements – which you can obtain at your current installation’s transportation office – can offset these costs.
Prices at the pump are back on the rise, over $3.00 per gallon in much of the country after years of low prices. Gas and mileage allowances will help to offset how much your spending on fuel.
Perhaps you’re transporting certain bulky or boxy items that won’t fit on top of your car or in your truck’s flatbed. Instead, you can have the items shipped directly to your new duty station.
Again, visiting your installation’s transportation office will let you know what moving costs are covered, which you’re required to pay in full and which the military will pay off in part.
- Aim for minimization
Regardless of what duty station you’re moving to, the easiest moves are the ones where you don’t have all that much to transport. The relative frequency of PCS moves make this easier because you, your spouse and your military kids don’t have as much time to accumulate as much stuff. However, if it’s been a while since you relocated, try to pare down the items you own by tossing out what you no longer use or giving gently used household goods away to someone who needs them. This may include clothing, children’s toys, furniture or anything else that has seen better days. This not only makes the PCS move less labor intensive but will also free up your available weight allowance for the things that you know are coming with you.
- Take advantage of storage and shipping discounts (where available)
But maybe there are certain keepsakes, antiques or ancient treasures that you don’t actively use but can’t bear to part with. If that’s the case, join the club – everyone does. Don’t let the temporary relief of an easier PCS move rob you of a lifetime of enjoyment. There are a number of nationwide storage, trucking and shipping services companies that offer generous discounts to service members and their moving military family members. Here are a few of them:
- Budget Truck Rental
- Oz Moving & Storage
- ExtraSpace Storage
- CubeSmart Self Storage
Go to their respective websites to see what deals are available. If they don’t offer discounts, they may offer complimentary services – such as free packaging material (boxes, tape, bubble wrap, etc.) that can make moving to your new duty station hassle-free.
- Open up a PCS savings account
While it’s true that the military reimburses you for many of the moving expenses that you’ll incur, they don’t cover everything. In fact, according to Military.com, the typical military member spends approximately $1,725 in non-reimbursable funds for each PCS move. Just as a PCS move is an inevitability, so too are the costs. You’ll have them one way or the other.
You can get ahead of this by setting up a designated PCS savings account. By dedicating a certain percentage of your paycheck to this account, you’ll have the necessary funds to take care of whatever costs come your way when moving day arrives. You may also consider automation, which will automatically deduct however much you want so your PCS savings account accumulates on an ongoing basis.
- Leave it all to the transportation management office
If you’re someone who enjoys doing things yourself, a personally procured move may be a no brainer. But if you’d rather let the professionals handle it, then that’s what the transportation management office is there for. Going through your duty station’s transportation office means that they’ll run and manage all the details of the PCS move – from the logistics to the coordination to hiring the moving company that will perform all the heavy lifting.
Just be mindful of the fact that you’ll likely wind up spending more when you move through a moving company hired by the military. Personally procured moves allow you to recoup up to 95% of what it would cost the military to relocate your maximum authorized weight allowance. Those recouped costs include certain temporary lodging expense incidentals.
The further out you prepare for moving day, the easier it will be whenever that time to relocate to your new location arrives. If you know it’s around the corner and just don’t have the funds to get the job done, turn to Omni Financial. Whether you need the extra cash for the shipping, traveling, temporary quarters, new household goods or a combination of those things, a military loan is waiting for you to spend how you see fit. Contact us today to learn more or apply now.
This blog is for informational purposes only. It should not be considered legal or financial advice. You should consult with a financial professional to determine what may be best for your individual needs. Visit the individual websites for complete details including hours of operation and pricing information. Information can change at any time. Omni Financial does not endorse, recommend or imply affiliation with the listed companies, events or organizations.