Moving is a huge part of military families’ lives. Next to deployments, one might say it is one of the biggest hassles of our lifestyle. Get Orders, pack up, move, unpack. Rinse and repeat every 1 to 3 years.
PCSing can be extremely stressful on everyone in the family, and one of the reasons is some of the hidden costs of moving that no one really talks about but everyone experiences at some point. But over here at Military Spouse, we have collectively made approximately 893 billion PCS’s, and we have come up with 7 moving blunders that might cost you money if you aren’t careful.
7 Moving Blunders That Can Cost You Money as a Military Family
1. You believe that Orders won’t change.
HA! It’s the biggest blunder of them all, but for those of us with Type A personalities and who get our kicks from checking things off to-do lists, this can really cost us. We want to believe that the military wouldn’t be so cruel as to change Orders only few weeks before we are set to move, but it has been known to happen…like, always. So if you are anything like me and enroll kids in school or activities too early and pay registration fees, or put deposits down on a new house too early, you might end up losing money due to your last minute change of orders.
Pro-Tip: Wait until you have those paper Orders in hand before you make any real plans. If you are super Type A and just need to make a plan, make your list of things you need to do before you arrive at your next duty station including school registration and activity enrollments. Of course, sometimes there are things that can’t wait- like renting or buying a house- but if you can, try to wait to make any real payments until those Orders are real, physical Orders.
Pro-Tip 2: Use an app like My Ultimate PCS (www.myultimatepcs.com) to help you stay on top of your PCS to-do list and create a calendar of things you need to do before you leave your current duty station and when you get to your next one.
2. You rent/buy sight-unseen.
You can’t always visit your new duty station before you get there, so you end up looking online for housing and cross your fingers that the place looks as good in person as it does on your computer screen. Maybe you will be lucky enough to have a friend that is currently stationed there be able to go look at a home for you, but if not, you may be renting or buy totally sight-unseen. This can obviously cost you money in repairs, cleanings, or upgrades if the home is not up to your standards.
Pro-Tip: There are several different services you can use to help your move process go a little smoother. Millie offers PCS specialists in certain areas that can help you get to your new duty station with ease, including looking at potential properties for you. PSCGrades has real reviews from military families just like us, so you can see if a certain property manager or home-owner is legitimate.
3. You eat out at fancy places like Chipotle during the PCS road trip.
You finally hit the road. Your on your way to your new duty station and the car is packed with activities for the kids, music for you, and Rockstar Energy drinks for your husband. Even with the best laid plans, PCS road trips can cost some serious coin, especially if you stop to eat at fancy fast food places like Chipotle. Or even worse, if you actually stop at real restaurants to eat.
Pro-Tip: Pack a plethora of snacks before you hit the road. Our family likes to make snack bags for every day of travel for every child so snacks are easily accessible and dividable during the drive. You can also cut costs by stopping at convenience stores for snacks. Most of the little gas station stop on the side of the roads now have a healthy initiative section where you can get sandwiches, protein plates, yogurts, and fresh fruits as a healthier alternative to fast food.
4. You do a DITY.
Lord, help those that decide to do DITY moves by their own accord. They must be crazy. Amen.
Our family has done one DITY move, not by choice, and we can wholeheartedly say we will never do it again. I know some people love it and yes, you can make a large chunk of change back for your troubles, but I’m pretty sure my husband and I each lost about 5 years of life due to stress. Movers can be reckless and careless. Some of us have experienced moves from H-E-double hockey sticks. But I’d rather a truck full of broken stuff than a truck full of stuff I packed, loaded, and unloaded myself (but in full disclaimer: I actually do see why people do it, especially after reading some PCS horror stories).
Pro-Tip: Don’t do a DITY