When you get word that it's time for a permanent change of station (PCS), you'll quickly find lists of things you need to know, do and remember. It can be overwhelming, and you may be tempted to ditch them all. However, when it comes to your finances, it's worth a few moments to look at this comprehensive list to avoid overspending during your move.
Before Your Move
In preparation for your move, you'll want to make sure you know what expenses to keep track of and who you need to notify of your move. For example, you'll need to talk to your lienholder if you have a car payment and you plan to ship your vehicle overseas. Here are some more things to do before you move.
Keep Track of Expenses
Start by making a budget, keeping in mind you're more likely to eat out during the move and make a large grocery shopping trip when you arrive at your new place. You'll also want to keep track of your expenses, both for reimbursement from the military and for tax deductions later.
Know What You Are Owed
A move usually means a change in pay, simply because of the basic allowance for housing. Additionally, some locations may have a cost-of-living adjustment. Another thing to keep in mind for military moves is that you are entitled to a dislocation allowance, which is designed to help you set up your new home. If you need additional cash for your move, a pay advance or relocation loan may be an option.
Find a New Financial Institution, if Needed
Finding a bank or credit union that does business in various locations can be a challenge, so you may want to find one you can trust that will move with you. Look for a financial institution that has 24/7 service, no international fees and generally understands the military community.
Make Sure You Aren't Wasting Money
When you know when you are set to move, make sure to schedule all utilities to turn off so you don't incur any unnecessary fees. You also want to give your landlord as much notice as possible, so you can get your deposit back. Pay attention to the dates and terms of contracts so you don't waste any money.
During Your Move
The days of packing and loading the truck, driving across the country, overseas flights and then unpacking in a new house go by in a flurry. When you're in these hectic days, do what you can to keep track of where your belongings are. Keep in touch with the moving company so you can schedule delivery as quickly as possible.
Make sure you let your bank or credit union, and your credit card company, know you are moving, so they don't put a hold on your account if they see abnormal activity. You may also consider traveling with cash, just in case.
After Your Move
When you arrive at your new location, you'll have to update your billing address on all your credit cards, bank accounts and all the things you use them for. This can be a chore, but your bank or financial institution may have a program to make this easier.
If you are now living overseas, you may need to purchase a vehicle, or a second vehicle if you shipped one to your new station. Finding an auto lender that does overseas loans can be an additional challenge, so you may want to consider a military-connected lender.
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