Article by Julie Steed, Air Force Spouse
Either of those words alonebis enough to make me cringe. Put them together, and I’m likely to run back to my bed and stick my head under the covers for the duration. Who wants to write up a budget for a PCS? Who has time? My family is preparing for PCS Number 11, so
hear me out: There are numerous upfront costs you must consider, and be prepared for, before you ever pack the first box.
I’ve learned the best way to prepare financially for a move is to create a PCS budget before the moving truck arrives. Consider these costs, keeping in mind the fact that your spouse’s paycheck will be different from one post to the next based on BAH rates for each area.
Check military.com for current BAH rates. Here are some items you’ll want to include in your budget:
The high price of fuel in America makes the cost of driving your vehicle from one duty station to another an important one to consider. The easiest way to estimate your fuel costs is to calculate it online. Try gasbuddy.com for a calculator that customizes your costs based on your departure and destination cities, and the type of car you drive.
A PCS means you won’t have instant access to your kitchen for an extended time. If you’ll
be eating out every meal, the cost can add up quickly. Budget for the extra expense,
and consider packing nonperishable food to cut both cost of and desire to purchase snacks
at gas stations. Stay at hotels that offer complementary breakfast options, so the whole family can fuel up for free.
Include funds needed for lodging in your PCS budget. Consider additional fees you might need to pay if you require petfriendly accommodations or if you have a large family. Planning your route ahead of time gives you the opportunity to find special deals and military rates.
Utility companies often require deposits before connecting service. Sometimes deposits will be waived if you can supply proper paperwork. Ask the new utility companies if a letter of reference from your previous provider will substitute for a cash deposit, but be prepared to front the cost in case the answer is no.
Rental homes and off-base apartments require a deposit in addition to your first month’s rent. If you are leaving a rental home, the deposit you placed on that home will not be returned to you until the owner has cleared the property of damage and made any necessary repairs. Plan accordingly.
Kennel/Vet Fees and Pet Deposits
Moving with pets can add a significant cost to your PCS, and the cost of relocating your pet falls squarely on your shoulders. The earlier you can plan for kennel expenses, hotel fees and rental pet deposits, the better. If you’re moving overseas, do your research about traveling to a new country with an animal. Check vaccination requirements and airline rules and regulations
En-route Vacation and Sightseeing Opportunities
A cross-country drive to a new home provides opportunities to see parts of America you wouldn’t otherwise visit. Overseas moves also provide an opportunity for en-route travel. Plan for any sightseeing you’d like to do and include the cost of extra gas, food, lodging and attractions in your budget.
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