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Planning your PCS Move Early can Save You Money

If you’re like the 700,000 military servicemembers who are reassigned to new locations each year, you shell out an average of $1,725 for non-reimbursable expenses.

When you combine moving costs with the difficulty of uprooting your life every few years, relocations can take a big toll. While some moving hassles are unavoidable, you can ease the financial pain of PCSing with a little advance planning. Consider following this timeline for your next move:

What to do now: Avoid Budget Blues

Whether your move is days or weeks away, develop a moving budget in advance to keep your finances on track and avoid last-minute costs.

  1. Find out exactly what the military will cover, and what costs fall on you. You can visit your family center for more information.
  2. Budget for shipping charges, temporary housing expenses, and start-up fees for utilities.
  3. Make a list of things you’ll have to buy when you move in and estimate those costs.
  4. Use this budget to determine how much you should save for your next move.

What to do before you leave: Prevent Moving Mishaps

Some moving horror stories result from damaged or lost property. So it’s critical to have the right levels of insurance before you PCS. In the case of a moving mishap, insurance can mean the difference between disappointment and financial disaster.

  1. Find out how much of your personal property the government movers will insure. If it’s not enough to provide full protection, a temporary renters insurance policy could be an affordable way to cover the difference.
  2. If you’re shipping a vehicle, review your auto insurance policy to find out if moving-related damages are covered. If they’re not, ask your insurer about purchasing shipment coverage.

What to do after you arrive: Fine Tune Your Finances

Once you settle into your new place, consider fine-tuning your finances to make your next move easier. The stop-and-go that comes with a PCS — stopping everything and starting over again in a new area — can be a shock to your finances. Military members can find some relief by working with companies that “move with you” and serve your needs wherever you go.

  1. Consider using online banking so you don’t have to worry if there’s a branch bank near your new home. You can also set up automatic bill payments to make your life easier during future transitions.
  2. Choose an insurance company that offers coverage in all 50 states and abroad, so you don’t have to change providers with every move.
  3. Open a separate savings account and contribute enough each month to ease the cash crunch before your next move.
  4. Set up automatic transfers for investment accounts to ensure your savings habits won’t slip.

With the right preparations, your next PCS could be financially painless and leave a surplus in your cash flow instead of draining it.

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