Have you ever noticed that when you need to move, everything suddenly seems more expensive? There are supplies, moving companies, the cost of transit to your new home, and worst of all, paying up to replace or fix damaged items.
The average military family pays $1,725 out of pocket in a move, and that takes a big toll on your finances. Since military families are disproportionately affected by the costs of moving, here are some tips for you to save money on your move.
Once you get your PCS orders, it's time to start saving up and thinking about what kind of move makes sense for you, particularly if you're making a DITY move.
Ideally, if you are a military family, you'll put aside a dedicated sum every month for a potential move, long before you receive a PCS notice. You don't know when it's going to happen, but you do know that it will happen. Start your planning before you get your marching orders, and it'll give you peace of mind when you do have to uproot your lives again.
Make appointments with the Base Transportation Office and Finance Office in your current location. They'll be able to help you work out what the financial burden is of moving and inform you of what kind of entitlements and benefits your family is eligible for.
Always Ask For the Military Discount
If you're doing a DITY move, make sure your moving company knows that you're a military family. This goes for all aspects of your move: truck rentals, hotels, etc. They likely have discounts available to help you save money.
Move Your Utilities With You
If you are moving domestically, you may be able to move your utilities with you, particularly cable television or internet service. Call up your provider and let them know you're moving. Ask them if they are available in your new area, and if they are, make sure you don't have to pay activation fees in your new location. Don't forget to ask about the military discount.
Sell Your Stuff
Hold a sale or sell extra stuff on Craigslist or Sarge's List, classifieds geared towards military families.
Selling your stuff has two added bonuses: you'll have less to pack and lower your chances of going over your weight limit.
Get Things for Free
Craigslist and Freecycle are hotbeds of free stuff that people are happy to part with, and the truest form of the expression, "One man's garbage is another man's treasure."
Start with getting free moving boxes and supplies. Many people who have just moved are delighted to get rid of their moving boxes and give them to someone else who could use them.
Once you're at your new station, you can return your boxes back to the land of the free and outfit your home. You can even make requests. It's also likely people will be more than willing to help out if you mention you're a military family. For even more tips on moving cheaply, check out this article.
Fiona Lee is a personal finance writer for ReadyForZero, a website that helps people get out of debt faster on their own. She is a frugalista who loves discovering new ways to save money, especially in expensive cities. After living in New York and Beijing, she now makes her home in San Francisco. You can follow @ReadyForZero and @moderntime on Twitter.