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Planning Ahead – 5 PCS Tips you can do now

By Leanne Kocsis,

Educate yourself and then Start Saving! Do you know about your PCS Allowances and Entitlements? Find out what they are and what you need to do to get the maximum reimbursement for your move. Dislocation Allowance, Move-In Housing Allowance, Monetary Allowance in lieu of Transportation and much more! Learn more at PCS Allowances and Entitlements 

Now that you know what is going to be offered to you open up a savings account for your PCS! Because all these entitlements and allowances won’t cover it all: Housing (closing costs, security deposits), travel, new clothes (as an example, a PCS from Schofield, Hawaii to Fort Drum, New York; flip-flops to winter jackets), temporary-housing, eating-out while waiting for your household-goods and much more. By putting away just a small percentage each pay check you will help curb some of the stress of paying for your next PCS.

Get organized. Create a Move-Day Planner. You can buy a day-planner at your PX or just a simple three ring binder will do too! What will you need to get started? loose-paper, a zipper pouch or two, and some business card holders would be ideal. Print a checklist and place it in your binder. Grab a couple of pens and put them in one of your zipper pouches. You can plan on taping receipts to paper or placing them in a zipper pouch. If you get business cards (from the moving company, Transportation, or from other important pieces of the PCS puzzle) in the process of moving you can now easily store their phone number and contact information for instant recall.

Consider the digital route! Use your smart phone or iPad for planning purposes with a digital calendar. By planning on a digital device you can email your plan or schedule to yourself and have a copy stored in the “cloud”. This way you can share your calendar with family and friends when they call to see how they can help. (Google has a great calendar system for you to use:

Related Articles:'s PCS Central
If you can stay organized during your PCS you will feel so much more comfortable. Crisis can be averted. You can focus on the next step instead of worrying about what is going wrong, what you forgot.

Have a Garage Sale. About three months before you PCS take a week or a couple of weekends to start sorting. “Keep, Trash, Sell” If you plan ahead you can easily weed out clothes the kids have outgrown, nick-knacks shoved in a closet that you don’t use, broken pieces that were shoved in nooks and crannies. Put items that are broken right in the garbage. However, items that others might get use out of can stock a great garage sale!

No time for a garage sale? I understand! You still need to take the time to sort through your household goods but perhaps instead of selling them you can drop them off at your local Thrift Shop, Airman's Attic, or visit Goodwill. One man’s junk is another man’s treasure after all (and not going over your allotted weight limit after the moving van is all packed up will save you quite a bit of money!)

Taking care of Fido and Fluffy. Strange People, Strange Smells, Strange Surroundings. These are all things that make Fido and Fluffy head for the hills. Before the packers and movers show up at your house make reservations for them to stay in an area kennel or stay with a trusted friend for a couple of days. When it is time to bring them to their temporary home bring your own food, a favorite toy, their crate, and something that just ‘smells like home’. There will be a lot of change for your furry friend; keeping just a few things constant will help with their anxieties.

Another advantage of taking your faithful-friend somewhere ‘off-site’ while the movers are at the house is it will be one less thing for you to worry about! A move can be very stressful, worrying about Fido breaking off of his leash or Fluffy hiding in a box can easily be prevented knowing they are somewhere safe and loved.

Car Maintenance. Imagine driving down a highway, far from home. The trunk is packed to the brim, the kids are itching to get out of their car seats and you are just looking forward to getting out of the car and stretching your legs. All of a sudden you hear a large clunk and the car putters to a stop. Could this be prevented? Probably! Before you come into the final stretch of a PCS bring your vehicles to a trusted-professional mechanic. Have the oil changed, belts checked out, tires AND spare tire inflated.

A car running in smooth condition will help your wallet as well as give you peace of mind. Properly inflated tires help your miles-per-gallon. Windshield washer fluid can prevent an accident (tired eyes and a dirty windshield are not a good combination!). Important things like transmission fluid, oil and new belts help keep your engine in working order as you travel thousands of miles across the country. 

Also, pack some of your tools in the trunk. There are at least three benefits of packing your tools. 1) If your car breaks down you will have tools to work with. 2) By bringing your tools along you are saving weight on your moving truck. Tools take up a surprising amount of weight. 3) If you don’t bring your tools with you, they may be stuck in storage and inaccessible.

Lastly, keep in mind even with all the maintenance in the world some things can’t be foreseen or prevented. If you don’t already have it, consider roadside service through your auto insurance company.

We hope that you have a Safe and Stress-free (stress-free? Ok, minimally-stressed) PCS. A little planning and a lot of forethought will go a long way as you plan out the trip to your next duty-station. Enjoy the adventure!


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