Paycheck Chronicles

A Few Hidden Costs of a PCS

woman with full grocery cart
(Courtesy Photo/DVIDS)

Things are frantic here - two days until the main packers come, and the bills are already piling up. Now, you might be thinking, "but the Navy pays to move you."  True statement.  However, there are always surprising expenses that aren't covered by the military, and aren't tax-deductible, either.

This move, for example, is turning out to be awfully expensive.  Because we have six people, and we're moving about 26 hours away but our things aren't estimated to arrive for 60 days, we've dropped about $1000 for a huge hard top roof carrier.  It seems the only way to get six people and two months worth of stuff to our new home.  At least we will have a really nice roof carrier after the move.  We absolutely could have made other choices, like mailing a ton of stuff, or living in the same five outfits for two months, but given our details (my husband's uniforms, and four girls going to camp mid-PCS, and the fact that we have a ball to go to shortly after attending), we chose to buy the roof carrier.  I'm certainly not complaining, but it is one of those things that you don't consider until it happens.

I'm sure we're not the only ones who have had to buy luggage to PCS.  Every time we move overseas, we are faced with potentially months without our household goods.  The desire for more and bigger luggage is fierce.  And gosh darn it, despite all the guarantees, luggage just doesn't last like they promise.  (Except Lands' End, but I can never convince myself to spend that much!)

Also on this move's shopping list:  supplies to carry a cat during a five day drive.  We've never done this - heck, I'm not even sure we CAN do this.  Today we purchased doggies housebreaking pads, and a harness, and a leash, and catnip treats.  I really, really hope this works.

And today's grocery shop?  All convenience food, which is not cheap.  I don't usually allow such junk in my house, but we've got frozen family dinners and frozen breakfast items, and things that make the children say, "Yeah!"  My kids love it when we PCS, because I let them eat Bagel Bites and Pop-Tarts and all sorts of other awful foodstuffs.  For the next week, my primary concern is that the eat and it doesn't take any time out of my day.  So junk it is.  (Plus, it allows me to put them off the other 23 months of every two years.  "You can have that next time we move" is my standard way of saying, "No, I'm not going to buy that."

What other unexpected expenses have you encountered during a PCS move? I'm curious what sort of things will show up on the list.

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