PCS Move Money-Saving Hacks: Top Tips for Cutting Costs and Maximizing Savings
It’s PCS season! Every summer, thousands of military families move to new homes. It’s a stressful, exciting, and busy time. So, so busy.
For many families, a PCS move is an opportunity to make some life changes and upgrades. Maybe you’ve been holding off on buying a new sofa, or really intend to be more organized this time. Or maybe you just want to get settled and comfortable in your new home.
Either way, these things usually cost money. Whether it is simple window coverings or a whole new set of appliances, things are rarely free. (But we’ll get to that.) However, there are many ways you can save money on all the things you need and want to make your new house into a home you love.
Get All Your Military Moving Allowances
This isn’t technically a money saving tip, but it is a money tip: Be sure that you are getting all the military moving allowances that you are entitled to receive. This includes temporary lodging allowances, PCS travel allowance, and Dislocation Allowance. Keep track of what you should be receiving, and follow up if payments aren’t made.
If you move to a location with higher BAH, be sure that new rate kicks in on time.
Ask for Military Discounts on Deposits
If you need to pay a security deposit for a home, utilities, or other services, inquire whether they offer any special programs for military. They may waive the deposit altogether, allow you to break it into a few monthly payments, or give you some other kind of reduced cost. It costs nothing to ask.
Repurpose and Recycle
Use your creativity to figure out how to use your old items in a new way. Or, if you have to buy something, don’t look for exactly what you need if there is a less expensive option. A dining room buffet can become a dresser, old sheets will cover windows, or a small bookcase can be used as a bedside table.
Sometimes this involves crafty stuff, but sometimes it is simply putting it in a new location and being able to embrace it.
Photo from iStock.com/simonapilolla
Buy Nothing or Freecycle Groups
Almost every location has groups where members offer unwanted items for free. You can find these groups at Buy Nothing or through social media. An active group can practically furnish your whole house.
Another option is to ask for things you want in social media groups. Not every group allows these kinds of requests, but many do. Often you will find someone who has been meaning to get rid of something but hasn’t gotten around to it.
In addition, you may have great luck simply driving around your new installation or neighborhood on trash day. You can find some great stuff in the trash!
Buying used is good for the planet and your budget. Most installations have thrift shops, and most civilian communities have them, too. Ask to see if they offer a military discount, too!
Also, if you are newer to the military, check to see if your base has a free thrift shop for junior service members. These are a great resource when you’re just starting out.
Photo from Shutterstock
Delay Purchases Until You Have The Money
This might be the biggest money saving tip in this post: Don’t buy things on credit unless you have no other choice. Interest on credit cards and loans will cost you more than whatever money you are saving elsewhere.
We all want that new living room set, but if you don’t have the money to pay for it up front, don’t buy it. This includes using other money to buy the furniture and then having to use credit or loans for something else.
What would be essential? A safe baby crib, a mattress for a younger child. A mattress for you if you’re too old to manage on an air mattress. A baby gate for the top of the stairs. The most basic kitchenware.
If you must borrow money to set up a new home, compare your borrowing options. Unless they are offering a promotion, most store financing is more expensive than other options. Check with your bank or credit union to see if your credit card or a small loan would have more favorable terms. In some cases, your branch’s relief society may be able to give you a loan for essential furnishings to get you started.
Moving into a new home can come with so many expenses. Even if you’re getting Dislocation Allowance, you want to be a smart spender. Saving a little bit in each area can really add up!