By Kathleen Spain
Special to GUIDON
It’s that time of the year when new orders are being issued and the Permanent Change of Station office will begin to see more activity.
Making a PCS as smooth as possible requires some planning and preparation. Financially speaking, there will be costs that are incurred you may or may not have considered.
Once you have been notified of your next duty assignment, it is time to plan. Do your homework and research the area to which you will be moving.
Housing costs and basic living expenses can be extremely different from one duty location to another. The cost of deposits on housing and utilities can add up fast.
Make sure you close out your local utilities and any other services before moving. There may be a deposit coming back to you, which could be useful at your next duty station.
The loss of spouse income during the transition will require budgeting and planning. Auto insurance rates and home owner insurance or rental insurance premiums will most likely change, as they are partly based on the location of your residence. Call your insurance company and ask for quotes based on your new duty location.
There are miscellaneous costs to consider, such as auto repairs to ensure your car is mechanically sound before moving across country.
If you are a pet owner, make sure you budget for pet deposits. Other types of expenses to consider are household items. You may want new curtains, pictures or rugs. These items can add up quickly and deduct from your budget. Look for retailers that offer military discounts to make the best plan of action.
After planning, you must start preparing to ensure a smooth transition. I recommend keeping all your important legal documents, such as recent tax returns, current pay-stubs, birth certificates and Social Security cards, in a safe place so you can hand-carry them.
In addition, you will want access to all your banking and creditors information.
In the middle of a move, paperwork can be easily misplaced, lost, or unavailable.
It would be difficult to obtain copies of documentation that is packed away in household goods. It is important to ensure you’re tracking payments to your creditors during this time. One late payment can lower your credit score by 60 to 110 points.
The planning and preparation can be overwhelming, but there are many resources available to help prepare for a move.
Whether this is your first or tenth PCS move, consider using the resources available to you at Army Community Services. The classes can offer additional support for your spouse and family with budgeting and other resources available.
The “Money on the Move” class is offered the first Wednesday of each month at Bldg. 486. Please call to schedule. Contact ACS for more information on Financial Readiness classes at 573.596.0212.
(Editor’s Note: Spain is an Army Emergency Relief Specialist.)