Why You Should Budget with Your Next Military Move in Mind

DITY Military Move
Moving Truck image from TheMuuj via CC by 2.0.

“We’re not staying here.” We have all said that more than once I’m sure! And depending on your new place of residency you either say that with some sort of excitement because you can’t wait to get the heck outta there; or, you’re saying it with disappointment because you actually like where you’re stationed for once.

It all comes down to the fact that we know that where we live is not permanent until we are out of the military.

In so many conversations I have had with other military families I can’t even count how many times I have heard, “we don’t have the money for a security deposit and first month’s rent!” or, “I hope we get our DLA soon so we can afford to rent a moving truck.” I also hear, “I hope we make our weight on this DITY move so we can pocket the rest of the money.” In fact, that one may have even slipped out of my own mouth before.

Knowing our home is temporary is a powerful piece of knowledge! Use it to your advantage to avoid seeing red in your bank account with military move and be prepared!

What the Military Accidentally Giveth, They Taketh Away…and Fast, Even Military Moving Allowances

“But I’ll have the extra money from the military so we’ll be fine. I don’t have to save.” Sure. Have you ever been overpaid before? The military takes that money back faster than you can blink!

When it comes to the military owing you money, they aren’t so fast. There is no guarantee that you will have your DLA (military move acronym decoder: Dislocation Allowance), an advance of half of your DITY (military move acronym decoder: Do It Yourself Move or Self-Procured) move allowance, and any other moving related funds the military may owe you.

When it comes to paying you, the military moves slower than molasses. Something always seems to get caught up with the paperwork:

– You’re missing a signature;

– The person who processes it is out of the office for the next month;

-It gets lost; or

– A unicorn jumped through the window and took only your paperwork and no one can find it because you can’t chase a unicorn.

You just cannot depend on money that you do not have!

Tips for Managing Your Money With a PCS (Military Move) In Mind

Moving is stressful. The best thing you can do to make the transition a little less hectic is by being prepared ahead of time. After all, it’s just temporary and you’ll be onto the next station before you know it.

Pre-PCS Money Preparation

  • Have a separate savings account from your regular accounts to save specifically for your military move
  • Take your security deposit you received back from your last place to use towards your next place
  • Start cutting back on expenses (like groceries) before your move and place that extra money in your military moving account (since you can’t bring your stockpile of food with you!)
  • If you do receive extra money from the military for your move, take 20% for yourself to spend and place the remaining amount in your moving savings (guess what – you’ll move again before you know it)

Expenses Related to Setting Up Your New Home

  • Restocking the pantry
  • Cleaning supplies to clean where you are leaving and where you’re going
  • Purchasing new window coverings
  • Purchasing new furniture because yours doesn’t fit at the new place
  • Deposit on new utility set-ups
  • New vehicle registration/tags and driver’s license (Military Spouse Residency Relief Act does not always get you out of that)
  • Something going wrong (it always happens)

Expenses Related to an OCONUS (Overseas) Move

  • Pet quarantine
  • Shipping a second vehicle
  • Pet quarantine and shipping
  • Passport (Traveler’s passports are different than issued passports)
  • Various taxes other countries have
  • Just living while you wait several months for your stuff to arrive

For more information about moving entitlements, check out the Defense Travel Management Office’s Allowances Tables.





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