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    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 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 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 everything you need and want to make your new house into a home you love.

    PCS Move Money-Saving Hacks Top Tips for Cutting Costs and Maximizing SavingsGet 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 receive, and follow up if payments aren’t made.

    If you move to a location with higher BAH, ensure the 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 special programs for military members. 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 find new uses for your old items. 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 can cover windows, or a small bookcase can be used as a bedside table.

    Sometimes, this involves crafty stuff, but often it is simply putting it in a new location and being able to embrace it.

    young woman refinishing an armoirePhoto 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 meant 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 set out for trash!

    Thrift Shops

    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!

    Also, if you are new to the military, check to see if your base has a free thrift shop for junior service members. These are great resources when you’re just starting out.

    Young man buying in second hand storePhoto 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 upfront, don’t buy it. This includes using other money to buy the furniture and then using 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.

    Borrow Smart

    If you must borrow money to set up a new home, compare your borrowing options. Unless they offer 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 service 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 a Dislocation Allowance, you want to be a smart spender. Saving a little bit in each area can really add up.

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    Kate Horrell


    Kate Horrell

    Kate Horrell is a military spouse and expert in the personal financial issues facing military families. During her husband's active duty service, they've bought several houses and been landlords for over 20 years. Her passion is helping military families make the most of their pay and benefits. Find more from Kate at her site, Kate Horrell: The Military Finance Coach.

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