Five Tips to Avoid the Financial Stress of a PCS Move: Part 2

By Alecia D. Blair, Military Saves Communications Associate

Spring has sprung, and permanent change of station (PCS) season is in full swing! If you’re among the one-third of active servicemembers who receive PCS orders each year, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), then you are very aware of the financial costs of these moves that can stress even the most frugal of military families.

According to Ethan Ewing, Military.com, it is estimated that “servicemembers spend an average of $1,725 in non-reimbursable costs.” When you consider that most military members and their families PCS every two to four years, that adds up to a lot of money! Here are the final three tips to prepare, save and even make a little money during your next PCS move.

3. Know your entitlements, and stay within your budget!

When moving, you are entitled to certain benefits to help ease the financial burden of a PCS. As mentioned in the Military.com article by Ethan Ewing, travel reimbursement, Dislocation Allowance (DLA), permissive 10-day temporary duty (TDY or days off that are not counted as leave) and storage of your HHG are all benefits available to you when PCSing. Consult your installation’s moving office and DFAS to learn more.

To stay on budget when traveling, especially as a family, look for deals. Many restaurants offer ‘kids eat free nights.’ Always inquire about a military discount (you’ll be surprised how many establishments offer a discount but do not advertise). When possible, eat in, either in your hotel or in your new home. You can find lots of easy-to-prepare meals, coupons and specials at your installation commissary.

4. Spouses: Prepare for your next career move, temporary loss of income
A PCS move can mean a significant loss of income for a military family when a military spouse works outside of the home. Military spouses need to prepare themselves for a PCS move by preparing for their next career move: updating their resumes, networking and researching companies and open positions at the next duty station.

Military spouses may also be eligible for unemployment compensation and licensing accommodations when “trailing” a moving military member, according to the FINRA Investor Foundation.

Military families can prepare for a temporary loss of income by sticking to a budget, saving money well in advance and building up emergency and rainy day funds. Doing all of this will help lessen the sting of a job loss on a household budget.

5. Bolster PCS savings to cover housing expenses
Regardless of whether you decide to rent or buy a home at your next duty station, you will have to pay a significant amount of money up front. Renting a great home often requires first and last month’s rent, a pet fee (if applicable), rental insurance and extra money to get utilities up and running.

Buying a new home often requires many overlooked costs of homeownership, including a significant down payment or VA funding fee, closing costs, inspections and homeowners insurance, just to name a few.

So, having substantial savings dedicated to these types of housing costs is very important to make sure you don’t get in over your head in your new home, especially if you’ll be paying a mortgage.

Don’t let the dollars and cents of PCS season take you by surprise. Avoid the financial stresses of a PCS move, cut costs and actually save through PCS readiness. Set a goal. Make a plan. Save automatically.

Military Spouse Employment
Military Spouse Employment Partnership: https://msepjobs.militaryonesource.mil/
Military Spouse Corporate Career Network: http://www.msccn.org/
Military  Spouse Career Advancement Accounts (MyCAA): https://aiportal.acc.af.mil/mycaa/

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