In 2020, we received orders to move from Kansas to Virginia. But as we prepared to move, the Army announced the Personally Procured Moves (PPM) system would reimburse 100% of the cost of the weight of items moved in a PCS.
Within the PPM system, the service member figures out how to get their stuff to their new duty station. This can be “Do It Yourself “(DITY) where you do all the work–packing, loading, unloading, and unpacking. Or it can mean hiring your own movers or a combination. The responsibility is all on us, but we could end up with money left over.
At first, my husband resisted the hard work of a full DITY move. To reduce the workload, and the weight, I touched every piece of clothing, book, dish, pot, pan, literally everything, in my home to decide if I loved it. We called it “The Great Purge of 2020.” It was difficult, and sometimes emotional, but very satisfying to give away a lot of stuff.
Then came the new part of the move; I needed to learn the system. I contacted one of my friends who always does DITY moves. She is a minimalist and very organized. I asked her to explain what I needed to know to make it work for us. After our discussion, I created a spreadsheet.
The cost of supplies purchased like tape, paper, and some special boxes, needed to be recorded. We bought a dollie to help move the heavy furniture. I picked up boxes from people who recently arrived which did not cost us anything. We recorded everything we bought or acquired on my spreadsheet. We scanned receipts and then placed them into a special file, to be available at tax time.
We ordered a commercial trailer to be dropped off to load and my husband reserved a U-haul truck. The trailer loading was intimidating, but we had friends with teenagers who helped us carry everything out of our house. We got the trailer loaded and then filled up the U-haul. We weighed each vehicle, including our two cars. These weights were added to the spreadsheet and the receipts and weigh tickets were scanned and placed into the file.
Every hotel and meal receipt was added to the spreadsheet even though they were not reimbursed the same way. Tolls, mileage, and cost of gas were added to the spreadsheet, scanned, and placed into the file. I hope you see the formula for success.
At the end of our journey, we had to pay to store our trailer for 60 days as we waited for a house. We unloaded the U-haul into a short-term storage locker. Once we moved in, we paid a company to help us unload the trailer.
It was lots of work on our part, but when it was all said and done we banked over half of what the military gave us. A new way to PCS for us? We will see.