I was having a conversation with fellow military spouses about PCSing and noticed that the topic of finances was a recurring concern.
We discussed the unique financial situations of military families and how those should be taken into account during a PCS.
I shared that my husband and I are fans of Dave Ramsey’s financial counsel, and thus have worked ourselves out of debt and into a secure and comfortable financial situation. Financial stability and transparency can improve your marriage ten-fold, and has helped our marriage immensely. That’s what prompted me to write this post.
I’ll be sharing some advice that will help you prepare and organize your finances for your PCS move. Of course, there is much more information than I’m covering here, but I think these tips are a solid starting point. This way, you can worry less about money and focus more on exploring your new duty station!
Save ahead of time.
As a military family, you know you are going to be moving, so why not plan ahead? Instead of waiting until you receive orders, start setting aside funds for your move beforehand to avoid unnecessary stress. Saving between $1000 on the low end to around $3000 on the high end for your move is a good target. This way, you can make sure you have enough money to cover any expenses that may pop up. If you have leftover funds, even better to allocate wherever you wish!
Know your credit score.
Everyone should know their credit score. It’s especially important to know when you’re moving as it can affect so many aspects of your PCS move including your eligibility for loans, what you can rent, and rates for vehicles and mortgages. If you know what your score is, it’ll be so much easier to negotiate and find the best interest rates possible, and to know how much you may need to increase your credit score to get those rates.
Learn to live on less.
If you’re a spouse who is working, plan on learning to live on a single income. It’s well known that finding a new job takes time, so plan to live wisely on a single income for a few months, just to be on the safe side. Save wherever you can. Use coupons, trade in a new car for a more affordable used car (which is just as good as a new one, btw), eat more meals at home, pack your lunches, and if you’re not living in military housing, rent a home instead of buying.
If you don’t have a budget now, it’s the perfect time to formulate one. I recommend using everydollar.com as it’s free and really simple to use. If you already have a budget, make sure you adjust it to cover the costs you will need for your move. Figure out what is covered by the military and what you have to pay out of pocket. This is also a good time to determine if a Personally Procured Move (PPM) is right for you. Also, make sure to revisit your budget. As your financial situations change, your budget should too.
Consider online banking.
This makes accessing your cash and paying bills much simpler, no matter where you’re stationed in the country. Depending on your bank, you may also be able to utilize these services if you’re moving OCONUS.