13 Tips for Your Next Move or PCS


(Information Courtesy of USAA)

Moving is a lot more than getting your stuff from point A to point B — it’s a major life event. USAA provides an extensive PCS Guide to help your relocation go as smoothly as possible. Here are some highlights:

Start saving. Even if the military or another employer covers some of the costs, moving can set you back thousands of dollars. Shipping charges, temporary housing and startup fees at your new residence add up. As soon as you receive your orders, set aside cash each month to cover out-of-pocket costs.

Track your expenses. Some moving expenses may be tax-deductible, such as those incurred through travel, a spouse’s job-hunting costs and mortgage points. Save receipts and other important paperwork for tax time.

Downsize. Clean out your home. Give away items you don’t need — keep donation receipts for tax purposes too — or have a garage sale. Put the extra cash toward moving expenses.

Find a place to live. Notify your landlord of your PCS orders and upcoming move or get your home ready to sell. Research real estate values in your current community and your new town to get the best deal on both ends. Talk to friends and family to find an experienced agent. If you’re living off the base, plan to spend only 85 percent of your Basic Allowance for Housing on rent or a mortgage payment. Save the rest for utilities and insurance.

Move Checklist

Look for a new job or school. Though you may have a career waiting for you, don’t assume that your spouse will. Visit job boards and reach out to personal contacts ASAP. Research the enrollment deadlines and requirements for any family members attending new schools. Pick up education records or have them forwarded.

Decide between DIY or hiring help. Military folks can usually choose between a moving company and doing it on their own. Remember, the government pays an incentive to service members who move themselves. As soon as you receive orders, schedule an appointment with the transportation or personal property office to discuss your options. Summer months can be busy in many locations, so the earlier you schedule your move, the more likely you will get the dates you desire.

Insure your belongings. Create an inventory and photograph your valuables in case you need to file a claim. Store the list online with the Insurance Information Institute’s free Know Your Stuff® Home Inventory app. Have high value items appraised and consider adding protection. At least 24 hours before your move, contact your insurance company to confirm your possessions will be covered while in transit or storage. Pack items you simply can’t live without in your car or suitcase.

Get your car ready. Take care of auto maintenance and repairs before the trip. And don’t forget to notify your auto insurance company of your move.

Engage with your new community. Visit websites for your new city government, chamber of commerce, and convention and visitors bureau. Military personnel should ask about the Relocation Assistance Program, which offers detailed information about military communities worldwide.

Notify your bank. During a move, you may use debit or credit cards more than usual, possibly in an atypical location, so alert your bank. Smartphone or tablet apps your bank offers can help you manage your money while transitioning or searching for a new bank.

Update your info. Fill out an online change-of-address form through the U.S. Postal Service. Send your new address to friends and family, physicians, schools, magazine publishers and financial service providers.

Transfer utilities. Arrange disconnect dates with providers. Order services for your new address through the Utility Marketplace.

Take care of last minute cleaning. Properly dispose of flammables such as aerosol cans, cleaning fluids, paint, weed killer and solvents. Drain oil and gas from your lawn mower and other power equipment. Wipe down the refrigerator and freezer and open the doors to let them to dry out.


  • Plan for moving expenses
  • Hire movers, if necessary
  • Inventory and insure your belongings
  • Prepare your car, home and finances

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