While the military works to compensate families for moving expenses, it’s easy to lose track of spending and pay more than reimbursement amounts. Take a look at these six problem areas and plan for how you’ll tackle them before your next move.
BUDGET BUSTER #1: First Food Purchase
Try this: Leaving your old home means giving up half used bottles of ketchup, cooking oils, and other perishable items. Beginning four to six months out from an impending move, cut your losses and buy smaller containers of items you don’t use often. Avoid expensive oils that you’ll only use once. And collect coupons for the list of staples you’ll need to purchase upon arrival.
Extra tip: Don’t throw everything away! Package all allowable bottles, bags, and boxes to withstand the move so they can be
used at your new home.
BUDGET BUSTER #2: Pet Expenses
Try this: We sure do love our furry friends, but they can cost us an arm and a leg each time we move! Before signing a lease, define specific terms for the return of your pet deposit. Find out if a reference from a previous landlord can lower the deposit amount or ask that the amount be broken up into a pet fee (used for cleaning) and deposit (returned if no damage), so there is more chance of a portion being returned.
Extra tip: Boarding fees can break the bank. If you’re new in town, finding a trusted friend to handle the duty may be impossible. Both care.com and sittercity.com offer discounted memberships to help you find a local pet sitter that can come to your home.
BUDGET BUSTER #3: Utility Fees
Try this: Each move means a whole new round of start-up fees that can put a dent into your finances. Instead of pulling out the checkbook for each request, ask if you can
negotiate the deposits and fees based on having good credit or by signing a longer agreement. Verizon’s Home Phone Connect allows you to connect your existing home phone via a wireless network. For $19.99 a month, you can take your new “home phone” along with you as you move. Ask other military friends and neighbors about the best phone, Internet, and television in the area you’re moving to before committing to a service.
Extra tip: Don’t be passive about the fees on your bill. Ask what you are being charged for and if you can decrease your bill with any special packages or pricing. Always make sure you understand any penalty fees for breaking your contract due to a move.
BUDGET BUSTER #4:School Supplies
Try this: Mid-year changes or last minute moves can cause your school expenses to skyrocket. If you anticipate a mid-year move, explain to your child’s teacher your concern about cost and ask what supplies will carry her to when you move instead of purchasing the entire list. When you arrive at the new school, find out if registration or supply fees can be reduced due to arriving late.
Extra tip: If your new school requires uniforms, check out the local thrift store or keep an eye out for sales before you move. Many manufactures put uniforms on sale right after school starts. And ask moms at your old school if they want to buy your kids’ old uniforms for a discounted rate.
BUDGET BUSTER #5:Window Treatments
Try this: Curtains often don’t fit in your next home. Use what curtains you can, but
repurpose and sell the rest. Older sheers can be transformed into this year’s Halloween costume. Nursery curtains can be turned into a little dress. Contact the new renters to see if they’d be interested in purchasing some of your window treatments or post them for sale
on Craigslist.com, your current installation’s yard sale website, or put them in your post thrift shop with information on the housing where they fit. Don’t just throw
them into a bin with the hope that you’ll use them again.
Extra tip: If you know you can reuse your window treatments, wash or dry clean them before you move instead of waiting until arrival. Not only will this make it more likely you’ll reuse them, but it will prevent stains from setting in the heat of a truck. Store them in a way that the movers won’t damage or crush them when packed.
BUDGET BUSTER #6: Home Ownership
Try this: If you own a home, the time to start planning for your next move is now.
Don’t wait until you get orders or have only months to find a renter. Put a plan in place today for how you are going to market your home for sale or rent. Be sure to have a back-up plan. If you don’t have savings to keep you af loat in case you can’t sell or rent, start saving now. Learn what the usual moving cycle is for your installation. Although not ideal, consider putting your home on the market during an uptick in incoming units and move into temporary lodging or post housing if it sells earlier than
Extra tip: Put yourself in the shoes of any incoming military family who may want to own or rent your home. Put together a brochure of your home and what positives it has to offer incoming families. Consider including lawn maintenance in your rent. Create a listing of all of your favorite attractions and the best utilities/resources in town. These little extras may mean the difference between your house sitting empty and a renter willing to pay your mortgage each month.
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