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Frequent moves are a fact of life for military families. And while moving to different parts of the country and the world gives you amazing opportunities to experience new places and cultures, moving is undoubtedly stressful. It’s also expensive. Even though service members are reimbursed for many Permanent Change of Station-related expenses, you will always have some out-of-pocket costs. According to Military.com, those non-reimbursable costs add up to an average of $1,725.
Here are some tips for making your Permanent Change of Station (PCS) move less stressful and more financially manageable.
Save money and stress on your PCS move by first understanding your benefits. Know what costs will be covered by the military and what expenses you will be responsible for.
Understand your benefits
Service members are entitled to many moving benefits, which may include:
- Per diem reimbursements for meals and lodging en route to your new duty station
- Temporary lodging insurance
- Shipment of household goods
- Mileage allowances if you drive to new duty station
- Dislocation allowance (DLA) for miscellaneous moving costs
As soon as you get your PCS orders, visit your installation’s Transportation Office or Personal Property Office. Make sure you understand what costs will be covered by the military and what expenses you will be responsible for.
Consider a Personally Procured Move
You have an option to move yourself, rather than letting the government handle your move. This is called a Personally Procured Move (PPM), otherwise known to all of us as a Do-It-Yourself (DITY).
With a PPM, you manage your own moving arrangements and costs, but the government will still pay you up to 95% (amount varies by rank) of what they would have paid you if they had handled the move. If your move cost less than what the government gives you, the remaining money is yours to keep. Your installation’s Transportation Office or Personal Property Office can provide further information on this option.
Use your base resources
Every base has a support center that provides resources on relocating, budgeting, spouse employment and more. Take advantage of this free assistance.
Tap into online help
There are many online resources that offer a wealth of information. Two of the best are and Move.mil and Military OneSource.
Move.mil is the official Department of Defense Customer Moving Portal. It is your complete guide to moving featuring everything from entitlement and reimbursement information to PPM and weight estimator calculators.
Military OneSource is a Department of Defense-funded resource for all types of military-related issues, including military moves. Military OneSource has consultants who provide free, personalized support and can give you moving plans, relocation counseling, budgeting help and more.
Doing a PPM for your PCS? Storage units, shipping services, moving companies and hotels frequently have military discounts available. You can save money by choosing vendors that offer these types of special deals.
Look for military discounts
Storage units, shipping services, moving companies and hotels frequently offer military discounts. If you’re doing a PPM move, you can save a lot of money by choosing vendors that offer these types of special savings. Here are a few companies that honor the military with discounts:
Budget Truck Rental
10% off truck rental
CubeSmart Self Storage
10% discount in addition to any other specials or promotions
10% discount on storage
Oz Moving & Storage
10% discount on all moving and storage services for local moves and a 5% discount on all services for long distance moves
La Quinta Hotels
12% off best available rates
Start a designated PCS savings account
Any time is a good time to start a savings account earmarked for moving-related expenses. Open a savings account and begin putting away money now. Automate your savings so that a little bit of your paycheck goes into your fund on a regular basis. In time, you’ll have a substantial amount of money saved up which will help you avoid using credit cards for those expensive upfront or non-reimbursable costs. Even if you didn’t plan financially for your current PCS move, start planning now for your next one. Read more about the benefits of automatic savings plans.
Purge your possessions
Get rid of what you don’t need. Clothes and toys the kids have outgrown. Appliances you don’t use. Home décor that doesn’t fit your style anymore. Outfits you won’t need in your new location. Sell your items on Craigslist or eBay, through social media or have a garage sale. You’ll make some extra money you can put toward your move, plus you’ll have less stuff to ship which can help you stay within your weight allowance. Read these Omni blogs for some eBay selling tips and guidance on what you shouldn’t sell on the auction powerhouse.
Check your insurance
Speak with your relocation manager to find out what type of insurance is offered by the military and how your items will be insured. Understand your current insurance coverage and policies and consider whether you may need additional insurance for your move.
Also be sure to keep a paper or digital inventory of valuable items complete with serial numbers, photos and receipts with you, and not in the moving truck. In the event you need to make a claim, you’ll want the information easily accessible and not packed away in a box.
Need help for your PCS move?
If you are in the midst of a PCS move and need financial assistance, Omni Financial is here for you. Don’t let money worries cause added stress. We can provide extra funds for moving, shipping and travel expenses so that your move goes smoothly.
Relocations are standard for most members of the military. It’s part of the adventure that accompanies military life. And while it can be challenging at times, planning ahead and staying organized are the best ways to get through your move with flying colors. Before you know it, you’ll be making exciting memories in a new place called home.
This blog is for informational uses only. Military discounts generally require proof of military service. See individual websites for details, restrictions, expiration dates, and other information. Offers and discounts can change at any time. Omni Financial does not endorse, recommend or imply affiliation with the listed companies or organizations.