Moving tips for active duty service members and vets [classic article]

As first seen in GI Money magazine

There are many things you can do when going to your Permanent Change of Station to save money. Active duty troops and veterans each have their own financial considerations when moving and we have tips for both.

Active Duty

USAA has a page that outlines the various types of military housing allowances. If you’re renting off-base housing, sometimes the cost of living can be extraordinary, even with adjusted allowances. This can be especially true for Navy deployments, as ports are often adjacent to pricey waterfront civilian properties.  Along with traditional living arrangements, consider house sitting (local college professors on sabbatical give you long-term options), renting a room in a larger home (often in chic neighborhoods), as well as roommate situations. Don’t forget to ask – if you’re still active duty – for a clause in your lease that lets you terminal your rental arrangement in case of quick deployment.

United Van Lines knows how to coordinate moves for active duty military. It knows about Federal travel requirements and employee benefits, so you’re sure to have help filling out reimbursement paperwork.

Military Movers specializes in the needs of active duty military, working with people from the rank of Sergeant to General. They comply with the Surface Deployment and Distribution Command (SDDC).

Did you know that if you’re arranging your own moving, you can get reimbursed for such expenses as tape and boxes? Other expenses on the move are generally not reimbursable – such as overnight stays and food. The Army has a comprehensive guide also applicable to the other branches of service HERE.

Are you aware of the military “loan closet”? According to Military One Source, “Many basic household items are available to borrow while your personal property is en route to your new destination. Available items typically include pots and pans, dishes, silverware, irons, ironing boards, port-a-cribs, high chairs, and infant/toddler car seats. Generally, towels and bed linens are not available, so these should be packed in your hold baggage.”


Once you leave the service, you have to make your own moving arrangements. Veterans have lots of choices available to them when arranging a PCS and should take note of the various discounts offered in honor of their service to our country. Members of Veterans Advantage can receive up to 50% off the services of American and Allied Van Lines. Members of the American Legion get discounts with those companies, as well as Atlas Van Lines and Budget Truck Rental.

Veterans who lose their homes from a short sale or deed in lieu of foreclosure can now get up to $1,500 in relocation assistance, to help defray moving costs.

Are you transitioning from active duty to retirement? Or perhaps you’re taking a nice retirement trip before settling down to your PCS. There are actually lots of reasons why people would use PODS. You may have already seen the giant boxes on a curb in your neighborhood and wondered what they were all about. You get PODS delivered to your home and pack it just the way you like, at your own convenience. The PODS can then be delivered to a storage facility and/or directly to your PCS. So, you don’t have to have your PCS immediately set up when it’s moving time. PODS wants you to know that if you’re in the service, the first step is: every DITY / PPM move requires visiting your Traffic Management Office (TMO) or Joint Personal Property Shipping Office (JPPSO). You estimate the weight of your household goods and they will assign you a Personal Property Entitlement, which is like a budget. They offer discounts for both active duty military and vets.

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