Our Overseas PCS Budget – Where are We Moving? What do We Need to Save?

A few of weeks ago, I shared How to Budget for a PCS (military move), which included a FREE budget form for your PCS. Today, I am sharing our initial Overseas PCS Budget. We have approximately 6 months before we will be moving from England and back to the United States. Are we excited? Of course! Is it a little bitter sweet for this “adventure” to be ending? Definitely!

I was planning on waiting until my husband received “official orders” before sharing where we will be moving. However, it is always a hurry up and wait game when it comes to the military. We have jumped through all the hoops and are just waiting on paperwork.

For those of us who have to financially prepare for an overseas move. We need at least six months to get our finances prepared. I also thought it might be “fun” “interesting” to follow how we prepare our finances. See them change a million times and then finally successfully (fingers-crossed) complete an overseas military move.

Where are We Moving?

I know, I know hurry up and tell us already. Right? Unfortunately, we are not moving “home” where our mortgage house is located. We were quite bummed, but knew it was a long shot from the get go. We will seriously consider selling this home within the next year. Don’t worry, we still plan on paying off the mortgage as quickly as possible!

Okay, so on to the good news. We were only disappointed for about 90 seconds after hearing/reading the news where we will be headed this summer. This place, where we will call home by the end of the year has an extremely high cost of living! There are beaches, palm trees, and lots of sunshine… and it’s NOT California… We are “island hopping”… we will soon be calling HAWAII home!!!

Yes, we know! We are EXTREMELY lucky, blessed, the military gods love us, and all the above. We have actually been keeping it quiet from a lot of our extended family, friends, and acquaintances. I’m not sure if it’s out of fear of jinxing the opportunity or avoiding the “envy” and/or opinions about living on an island. lol. So, if you know us in “real life” and hadn’t heard the news… SURPRISE! lol.

What Does this Mean for Our Family?

Although, I have been saying for the past month or two that we are moving back to the United States. The military views Hawaii as an “overseas” or OCONUS (outside continental U.S.) move. This means we get to jump through extra hoops and lots of appointments before we get there. Hasn’t been too fun being “very” pregnant and my husband being swamped with work, but we’ve managed. 🙂

OCONUS locations are “controlled tours” which means my husband works there for a set number of years. This does benefit us in that we can plan to stay put and know an approximate date of our next move. This is beneficial to our finances because we can establish financial goals for the next 3-4 years without worrying about another move messing up our plans. We also know our approximate income and expenses.

Our Overseas PCS Budget

2016 Overseas PCS Budget

Assets, Refunds & Extra Income

PCS Fund                       ___$0___

Savings                           _$6000.00_
* We will be using $5000 of our $20,000 Emergency Fund for our PCS fund. Our mortgage will be within months of being paid off, so we feel comfortable with a smaller EF. We expect to have a minimum of $1000 left from our car repair/maintenance fund (currently $1700+). 

Selling Your Car(s)  _$1000.00_
*We have estimated low. We should be able to get $1200-$1500 for our car.

Selling Your Home   ___$0___

Yard Sale                        __$200.00__
*We have a few household items we will sell (2 smart phones, GPS, vacuum, iron, fans, transformer, etc.)

Deposit Refunds         _$2200.00__
Our deposit refunds will depend on the currency exchange rate. We expect go get $2100-$2400 from our rental house deposit. We should also have small ~$100 refunds from our Road Tax and electricity/gas bill. So we are under-estimating to be safe.

Extra Income                  ___$0____

Total Assets:   _$9400.00_

Expenses at Current Location

Medical/Dental Procedures     ___$0____

Moving Expenses                           _$50.00_
* There will be a couple of items we ship via the U.S. Post Office to our new location. Basically a few baby items that won’t fit in our suitcases and we don’t want to spend 3+ months living without. 

Child Care                                          ___$0____

Cleaning Your Home                     _$100.00___
*We plan on buying paint and will need to repair a few very minor things. We will also rent hedgers to get the garden in tip top shape.

Selling Your Car(s)                        ___$0____

Rental Car                                       __$300.00_
*I have looked up local rental car rates. We should be able to rent a car for a month for just under $300. 

Hotel/TLF                                         __$200.00_
*There may be an overlap of us paying rent for a day or two while actually living in a hotel. This is to cover that possibility. 

Restaurants/Food                         __$0_____
*We have already secured a place with a kitchen to live in, between moving out of our home and our actual departure date. We should be able to cash flow our food expenses with our regular monthly budget.


Travel Expenses

Transportation Expenses               __$100.00__
*Our bus or taxi to the London airport will be put on my husband’s GTC (Government issued Travel Card). We shouldn’t have to pay the GTC bill until he receives reimbursement. This $100 is to cover a taxi if needed once we arrive in Hawaii. 

Hotel                                                           ___$0____
*The travel time between England and Hawaii is ridiculous and would definitely qualify for a hotel stay. However, we plan on making a pit stop in Washington for a week or so.

Food Expenses                                         __$40.00__
*We may need to buy a meal or two in the airport. We prefer to pack our own food to eat healthier, but we will see if it’s feasible. 

Transportation of Your Vehicle(s) ___$0____

Vacationing or Visiting Family         __$800.00_
*We will be visiting family/friends in WA state for a week or so. It appears we will have to pay the difference in airline tickets, because although we own real estate and are residents of WA it is not the “home of record” for my husband. My family will pick us up from the airport and we will be staying with them the entire time.

Expenses at New Location

Rental Deposit & First Month’s Rent  _$5000.00_
*Use this BAH calculator for your budget. We have browsed Craigslist to determine what we can expect to pay in rent. Our best guess: $2100-$2500. We have used the top-end of the budget to determine this PCS expense.

Utility Deposits                                            __   $0____
*We plan on cash flowing this expense with our monthly budget.

Car(s)                                                                  _$9000.00_
*We have looked at Craigslist. We plan to get two vehicles around $4000 each. The “extra” in this estimate is to pay for taxes/tests/registration and to give us a little buffer. 

Rental Car                                                         __$250.00_
*I have looked into cost of a rental car in Hawaii. This should pay for a one-week rental. Hopefully, we can find a car to purchase within the first week. 

Hotel/TLF                                                          _  $400.00_
*We should not have to pay for this out of pocket. But you never now, sometimes there is a delay in paperwork/funds. So this is just to ease our minds “just in case” type of scenarios.

Restaurant/Convenience Foods             __$300.00_
*Who knows how long we will be in Hawaii without our household items. Washington to England took just under 2 months for our Unaccompanied Baggage AKA “fast shipment” (where we pack most of our kitchen items). So we are assuming it will take longer than 2 months. We may be eating restaurant foods and sandwiches for quite sometime. 🙁 

Phones                                                                __$300.00_
*We have Iphone 4’s in the U.K. We could bring them to the U.S. and cross our fingers we can find a network that will be compatible. Although, our plan for now is to sell them and most likely sign up with Republic Wireless. We will have to pay for our phones, but then their monthly plans are extremely affordable!

House Supplies                                              __$200.00_
*We will have to buy a few small appliances (microwave, toaster) because we have 220v appliances here in the U.K. Fortunately, we have a 110v vacuum, coffee maker, and a few other kitchen appliances.

Re-Stock Kitchen                                          __$300.00_

Professional Licenses/Certifications     ___$0____
*My national certification is $65, which I will renew next month (good for 3 years). I will need to get a Hawaii state license. The fee is $85 and it appears they start taking applications in October for the following year, which is the soonest I will return to work. So, we will just budget for this at that time.

Clothes                                                               ___$0____
*Our wardrobes will definitely need to be “updated” coming from England where we only have a couple weeks of summer. We have “summer clothes” from when we lived in WA that can make do for a while. We plan on cash flowing this expense and just slowly building up an “island” wardrobe.

Other: (Brother’s Wedding)                      _$1400.00_
*My husband’s brother is getting married in October. We will need to purchase airline tickets shortly after arriving in Hawaii, so we have made this part of our PCS expenses.

Total Expenses:     __$18,740.00__


Assets  $9400.00 Expenses $18,740.00 =   $9,340.00 (Amount We Need to Save)

We NEED to SAVE just over $9,000!!!

This is definitely an amount that I am glad we have time on our side! Currently, on an average month we have an “extra” ~$2500 in our budget. We will comfortably be able save $1500 and still pay extra on our mortgage every month. Our plan for now is to save $1500/month between February and July.

As we get closer to our departure date, we will have a better idea of our expenses and income. We will most likely need to readjust our savings over the next few months. Remember budgets are flexible and every changing. This is only our initial and very approximate budget. The only purpose is to give us an idea of how much we need to save in the next 6 months.

Is Your Family Moving this Year?
Do You have a PCS/Moving Budget?


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Should We Pay for Our Child’s College Education?

Parents tend to have a strong opinion on whether or not they should pay for their child’s college education. So it should have not been a surprise that my husband and I had vastly different opinions on this topic.  

It is no secret around here that my husband and I are huge supporters of the Dave Ramsey plan. We have implemented it in our life over the past four years. In Dave Ramsey’s “Baby Steps,” saving for college is baby step number five, between saving 15% for retirement and paying off the mortgage early. These three baby steps are tackled simultaneously.

We have been on these baby steps for THREE YEARS!!! Throughout the majority of this time we had no intentions of saving for college for our maybe, someday child. However, we definitely had many “what if” discussions.

Should We Pay for Our Child's College Education

Difference of Opinions: Should We Pay for Our Child’s College?

My husband believed the child should pave his/her own way and earn/work hard for everything they receive, including a college education.

I wasn’t so sure. That weight of having nearly $50,000 of student loan debt hanging around my neck. You know the one we just paid off six months previous. Was still very fresh in my mind. I knew I wanted something better, something different for my child.

Our differing viewpoints made sense from where our young adult lives had led us. My husband joined the military at 18 years of age and started with literally nothing, financially speaking. He has worked and paid for absolutely everything in his entire adult life.

I on the other hand entered college at the ripe age of 18 years. I received many academic scholarships and grants to help pay for college. As well as savings, summer jobs, and a part-time job during college. My parents did help financially by covering my car and health insurance. My dad had an unfortunate work-related accident my freshman year of college, leaving him permanently unable to work. Meaning my parents were in no position to help pay for my college expenses.

I completed my Bachelor’s degree owing less than $10,000 in student loans. However, I immediately began graduate school and racked up $50,000 of student loans!!! Could have I lived more frugally and came out with less student loans? Absolutely! However, I could have also lived irresponsibly and easily ended up with $80,000+ too!  

Changing of Opinions

I agreed with my husband’s view that children should work and earn things they receive. However, I also believed that I had worked for and earned my degrees. However, I did so by also accumulating debt. A burden I would not wish on anybody, especially my own child.

Over many conversations during the next few years our opinions became closer to the same. I frequently reminded my husband of the student loan debt that burdened our first year of marriage. He frequently reminded me that things are appreciated more when it is earned.

I emphasized that a good portion of my college was paid by grants and scholarships that required a “financial need.” A criteria that our child will definitely not meet considering our incomes and assets. I also shared that the cost of a bachelor’s degree is predicted to be $100,000+ by the time our child is college age.

We slowly over many months and discussions, agreed on a middle ground. We would expect our children to save for college and work part time and summer jobs while attending college. We would cover the “big” expenses, such as tuition and rent. Our child would be responsible for books and all other living expenses (utilities, food, car, etc.). Of course we will set guidelines and expectations in order for us to continue to help financially.

Yes, eighteen years is a long way down the road, but at least we have a plan. We will not wake up on his 16th birthday and say “oh no, he is serious about attending college. How are we ever going to pay for it?”

College Savings Options

Now that we are committed to paying for some of our child’s college education expenses. What are our options and what option is best for our situation?

Education Savings Account (ESA)

An ESA is a tax advantaged savings account for education expenses. Meaning you do not pay taxes on the earnings of the account as long as the funds are used for educational expenses.


  • More variety in investment options
  • More control over those investment options
  • Can be used on educational expenses from kindergarten to college
  • Can be transferred to a family member


  • Contributions limited to $2000/year
  • Income Limitations for Contributors ($110,000 single, $190,000 married (2016))
  • Must be used before beneficiary is 30 years of age
  • A 10% Tax Fee + Income Taxes on earnings if not used on qualified educational expenses

529 Plans

A 529 Plan is also a tax advantaged savings for educational expenses. There are several different types of 529’s so you need to be diligent and fully research the 529 plan you select. They range from pre-paid tuition to investment options similar to an ESA.


  • No income restrictions for contributors
  • No time limitations for beneficiary to use funds
  • The maximum yearly contributions is much higher than an ESA
  • Some have state income tax advantages


  • 529 plans vary significantly in investments, fees, and rules. You must completely understand the 529 you are purchasing.
  • Limited control over investments
  • Can only be used for college expenses
  • Excessive contributions can have gift tax implications

Roth IRA

A Roth IRA (Individual Retirement Arrangement) is a tax advantaged investment account generally used for retirement savings. You contribute after tax dollars and do not pay taxes on distributions. An account that was established 5 or more years ago would be eligible to use contributions (not earnings) for educational expenses. Or if you are 59 ½ years of age you can use the distributions as you please.


  • If your child does not attend college or does not need assistance with paying for college. You can continue to invest this money for retirement.
  • No age or time limitations to use for educational expenses
  • Roth IRAs are not included as an asset on the FASA application.


  • Only what you contribute can be used for educational expenses, not earnings from your investments.
  • A Roth IRA can be a significant instrument to retirement investing and you are “unplugging” this investment. This could hurt you at retirement time, BIG TIME!
  • Income limitations for contributors ($117,000 single, $184,000 married)

GI Bill for Military Families

There are two different GI Bills that are transferable to children, the Montgomery GI Bill and the Post 9/11 GI Bill. Under the Montgomery, full-time students currently (2015/2016 school year) receive $1789/month for all college expenses. Under the Post 9/11, full-time students currently (2015/2016 school year) receive 100% tuition coverage at eligible schools (or a set maximum for expensive private schools), basic allowance for housing (BAH)(E-5 with dependents at school’s zip code), and a yearly books and supplies stipend (up to $1000).


  • Could potentially cover all educational expenses of a 4-year degree with the 36 months of benefits
  • Can be partially used by different family members
  • You do not pay (monetarily) for this benefit. Leaving more money in your budget for retirement investing.


  • This is a military benefit which may be altered or taken away from service members in the future. There is already talk of eliminating the transferability of the Post 9/11 GI Bill (in particular the BAH) to spouse/children possibly in 2017. If you plan on using this method to pay for school. Your best bet is to get a partial benefit transferred NOW! In hopes that the government will at the very least allow those already enrolled to be grandfathered into the current benefits.
  • Children must use the benefit by the age of 26 years (Post 9/11) or 10 years after the service member leaves active duty (Montgomery).
  • Service member must commit to 4 more years of service to transfer benefit (Post 9/11).


Our Plan

Our initial plan was to use an ESA for college savings. However, thanks to Jen over at Pay Yourself First and the VA representative at the Bundles for Babies class I attended earlier this month. I was encouraged to research further into the benefits of the Post 9/11 GI Bill. My husband currently had the Montgomery GI Bill.  

After research and several questions it became quite obvious that we were better off transferring my husband’s Montgomery GI Bill to a Post 9/11 GI Bill. My husband already was committing to another 4 years of service because it was required for him to accept his next assignment after England. So, once our baby boy is born. My husband will transfer partial benefits to baby to make him eligible for future transfers of educational benefits.

There are of course the “what if’s.” What if my husband needs his GI Bill benefit to finish his own education? What if the government takes away some of the benefit? What is our plan B?

We have a couple of ideas.

Our first thought is to focus on retirement. If we heavily invest for retirement over the next 18 years. It will not be a big deal to dramatically decrease our retirement contributions for 4 years while we cash flow a portion of our child’s college education.

We have also thought about investing into an ESA. If we have more than one child or my husband needs to use his GI Bill benefits. We will need some type of investment college savings plan.

There would be a penalty for not using this money for educational expenses, but it is not too horrible. Say we invested $36,000 which resulted in $40,000 of investment growth for a total of $76,000. The tax fee is 10% of the earnings, being $4000 with this example. The $40,000 would also be held for income tax. So let’s say our son pays 25% income tax when he distributes the ESA. That would be an additional $10,000. So, he would still end up with $62,000. Sounds like a great down payment on a house to me!

OR if our son has children or a spouse before the age of 30 he could transfer the ESA into their name. They could use it for college expenses and not be required to pay the taxes and 10% tax fee. How great would that be? Paying for our grandchildren’s college educations! Sounds like we just might change that family tree after all! 🙂   

The good news. We have plenty of options and we have a plan.

What do You Think?

Do you plan on paying for your child’s college education?
How will you pay for your child’s college expenses?


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Budget for a Military PCS (Permanent Change of Station)

Is your family among the thousands of military families moving this year? Then you may be thinking about how you are going to financially pull off, yet another military move. If you are similar to my family, who will PCS this summer. The good news is you are thinking about your budget for a military PCS, six months before your actual move date.

However, you may not know where your family is being relocated. This makes nailing down a PCS budget difficult, but not impossible. Most likely you have an idea of your chances of moving overseas or state side and perhaps even know the five or so most likely locations of your new home.

The best advice, start saving NOW! You can always calculate more of an exact budget after you know the details. Before you start saving blindly, try to determine an estimated PCS Budget. This way, you know approximately how much you need to save each month to hit your target.

Budget for a Military PCS

Budget for a Military PCS

Savings or PCS Fund

Do you already have an established PCS Fund? Some military families who move often choose to always have a PCS Fund, because they never know when the next move will occur. If you already have a PCS Fund, you are way ahead of the game! Well done! Now it’s time to determine if it will be enough to cover your upcoming move.

Do you have extra in your savings account? Larger than needed Emergency Fund? How much can be used for your upcoming PCS expenses?

If you do not have extra in savings or an establish PCS fund. Do not panic. You still have time to save.

Expenses to Consider

Please keep in mind each military branch handles certain expenses and reimbursements differently. For some military families, a few of these expenses may be directly paid by the military or will be paid with a GTC (Government Issued Travel Card). However, some families will choose to do a DITY (Do It Yourself) Move and have even more expenses than listed below.

Please consider the following list a starting point and not a list of every possible expense.

Expenses at Current Location

  • Medical/Dental Procedures – Appointments or procedures that need to be completed before your PCS.
  • Pet Expenses – Will your pet need to visit the vet or get vaccines before moving?
  • Moving Expenses – Do you need to rent a trailer or truck to move? Mailing things to your next location? Will your household goods be over the weight limit? If so, prepare to pay the overage fee.
  • Child Care – You may need to hire someone to watch your children while the movers are in your home, while you are deep cleaning your home, or during required PCS appointments/meetings/classes.
  • Cleaning Your Home – Whether you are hiring someone, need to rent a carpet cleaner or just buying extra cleaning supplies. You may also need to consider expenses to paint and perform small repairs.
  • Selling Your Car(s) – Your car may need repairs or detailed before you sell it.
  • Selling Your Home – If you currently own your home, but plan on selling before you PCS. Do not forget to budget the expenses (repairs, paint, cleaning, etc.) to prepare your home for the market and closing costs. If you owe more on your home than it is currently worth, you will also need to factor in this expense.
  • Rental Car – Will you be selling and/or shipping all your vehicles before you travel to your next location? Estimate how many days/weeks you will need a rental car and the associated expenses.
  • Hotel or Temporary Living Facility (TLF) – Will there will be a gap between when you need to move out of our current home and when you actually travel to your next location?
  • Restaurants – Your household items may be in boxes for days if not months (overseas moves). Budget to eat at restaurants and purchasing convenience foods.
  • Passports/Visas – If you are moving overseas you will need to pay for this expense months before your travel dates.

Travel Expenses

  • Transportation Expenses – Airline tickets, gasoline, bus/train tickets, taxi, parking, etc.
  • Hotel – If your travel is going to take more than one day.
  • Food Expenses – Your family will most likely be eating at restaurants during your travel day(s).
  • Pets – Will your pet need to travel by airlines? Need a special crate? Once you arrive, will you need to hire a company to transport your pet from the airport? Does your pet need to be quarantined (overseas)? Will you need to pay for boarding until you secure pet-friendly housing?
  • Transportation of Your Vehicle(s) – Are you driving your vehicles? Pulling one on a trailer? Shipping it?
  • Vacationing or Visiting Family on the Way? – Many military families take the opportunity to take a vacation or a quick trip to see family on the way to their new location. Do not forget to budget for these travel and entertainment expenses.  

Expenses at New Location

  • Rental Deposit & First Month’s Rent – If you live in military housing, chances are you will not have to worry about this expense. However, if you do not. This expense could be quite large. It could be as low as $1000 total. However, some overseas locations can be as high as $6000 or more!!!
  • Utility Deposits – Some utility companies (electricity, gas, water, garbage, etc.) require a deposit. This could be a small fee or up to ~$100 for some companies.
  • Car(s) – Do you plan on purchasing a car(s) at your next location? How much do you plan on spending? Do your research to ensure you will be able to buy a vehicle at your budgeted price. Include taxes, registration, and any safety/emissions tests that are required.
    If you plan on bringing your car(s). You will need to consider registration, license plates, and safety/emission test expenses. If overseas, you may also be required to pay for modifications to your vehicle.   
  • Rental Car – If you are purchasing or shipping a vehicle, you will need to rent a car until your shipped vehicle arrives or until you purchase a vehicle.
  • Hotel or Temporary Living Facility (TLF) – Would it not be great to show up to your new location and have a home ready for you? You know the reality. It may take days, weeks and in some situations months to find a home. The good news, you will not be paying rent. Therefore, your housing allowance could off-set this expense.
  • Restaurant/Convenience Meals – You may be living without your kitchen items for days, weeks, or months. This makes food prep difficult and chances are you will spend more than usual on food while waiting for your household goods to show up.
  • Phones – If you are moving to a location where your current mobile provider does not operate you will need to consider the expense of purchasing phones and/or possible fees associated with contracts.
  • House Supplies – There always seems to be house supplies that need to be purchased when moving into a new home. Shower Curtains, Garbage Cans, Cleaning Supplies, Curtains, Storage Units/Containers. If you are moving overseas, you may need to purchase small appliances because 240 voltage is used in many foreign countries (microwave, toaster, coffee maker, iron, vacuum, hair dryer etc.).
  • Re-Stock Kitchen – It always amazes me how expensive those first few trips to the grocery store are after each move. You will need to buy all your staples (flour, sugar, rice, pasta, beans, olive oil, etc), condiments, spices, paper goods (toilet paper, paper towels, trash bags, aluminum foil and plastic wrap), personal hygiene products, plus everything you need to prepare your meals for the week.
  • Professional Licenses/Certifications – If the non-military spouse has a career where he/she needs a specific state license or certification to be employed in your new state or country, do not forget to include these expenses.
  • School Supplies – If you are moving mid-school year, your children may need completely different school supplies. Or if you are moving in the summer, back to school expenses will be right around the corner when you arrive at your new location.
  • Clothes – If your new location has vastly different temperatures or climate than your previous location you may need to budget for clothing.

Selling Assets, Refunds & Extra Income

Do you have assets you will sell or extra income you will earn before your move? Can this extra money be used for PCS expenses?

  • Selling Your Car(s)
  • Selling Your Home
  • Yard Sale – Selling household goods you will not need at next location.
  • Deposit Refunds – Rental and utility deposits that will be returned upon vacating your current home.
  • Extra “Income” – Perhaps the non-military spouse has saved up PTO (Paid Time Off) at his/her current job. Expecting a tax refund before you PCS? Perhaps a “bonus”?

How Much to Save for Your PCS?

Now that you have thought about your possible expenses, savings, and assets. It is time to determine how much money you need to save before your PCS. Simply, add your savings and assets and then subtract your estimated expenses. Use this FREE PCS Budget (Google Doc).

(Savings + Assets) – PCS Expenses = Amount You Need to Save

How much do you need to save each month? Let’s say you need to save $7200 and you PCS in 6 months. This means you need to save $1200 each month!

Can You Save Enough?

If you do not have $1200 of “wiggle room” in your budget each month. You may be thinking “yeah, right” throw up your hands and give up on budgeting for your PCS.

But wait! There is still hope. You can do this!

Back-up Plan

Budgets are extremely flexible! With some hard work and sacrifices we can do much, MUCH better financially than if we had not budgeted at all for our PCS.

Where Do I Find the Extra Money?

  • Decrease Your Expenses – The first step is to look over your PCS expenses. Where can you cut back? You could plan on buying a cheaper car or be a one car household until you save more at your new location. You could try to rent a less expensive home at your new location. This would lower your rental deposit, your first month’s rent and allow you to save more each month once you are moved. Can you reduce your hotel/restaurant expenses by staying with friends/family? Instead of renting a car, do you know someone who will allow you to borrow their car for a few days?   
  • Extra Income – Can either you or your spouse pick up extra jobs (child care, lawn care services, shoveling snow, sewing services, delivering pizzas, waiting tables, etc.) over the next ~6 months to boost your PCS fund?
  • Sell More Items – Do you have more assets you could sell? Do you have a vehicle with a high monthly payment that you could sell and purchase something more affordable?
  • Seek Help – There are programs that are offered to military families to help with the burden of PCS expenses. Visit your military installation’s family resource center and inquire about these programs. Many of these programs will be discussed during your PCS briefings.

The military also offers “advanced pay” of up to 3 months of your basic pay. It could be viewed as an interest free loan to pay for PCS expenses that are non-reimbursable. However, if you do choose the advanced pay option. PLEASE be aware that your paychecks will automatically be decreased over the next 12 months to pay back this “loan.” Meaning, if your family has very little extra income with your current pay. This decreased income will make it extremely difficult to make ends meet over the next 12 months.  

Reimbursement for Expenses

If this is not your first PCS, you know many of these expenses are reimbursed. There are also several one-time (per PCS) reimbursements that help cover those non-reimbursable expenses. Please read this Military.com article for more details.

Our family chooses not to factor in these reimbursements with our PCS. The reason being, you do not receive the reimbursement until a month or more after you PCS. Much later than when these expenses need to be paid. We prefer to save up a PCS fund so we can pay these expenses as they occur. Preventing the accumulation of debt. Once we are reimbursed, then we use this “extra” money to replenish our savings or apply it to financial goals we have put on hold while saving for our PCS.

What Do You Think?

How Does Your Family Prepare Financially for a PCS?
What PCS Expenses did I Forget?
Are You PCS-ing this Year? Where?


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40+ Veterans Day Freebies and Discounts

40+ Veterans DayDiscounts & Freebies

I would like to take a moment to thank all veterans for selflessly and honorably serving our country. I would also like to thank those companies who are honoring our veterans this Veterans Day! THANK YOU!

40+ Best Veterans Day Freebies and Discounts for 2015!

If I missed your favorite, be sure to let me know in the comments!

  • All deals were verified with company’s website or social media.
  • Please call your local store/restaurant to be certain they are participating.
  • Please click on the links provided for further information for each deal.


Red Robin Logo

Restaurant Freebies

Red RobinFREE Red’s Tavern Double Burger with Bottomless Steak Fries (Nov. 11) Veterans & Active Duty.
***Red Robin is also honoring its military Red Robin Royalty members with a 20% discount at participating restaurants throughout the holiday season (Nov. 12-Dec. 31).

Chili’sFREE entree from Veterans Day Menu (Nov. 11) Veterans & Active Duty.

ApplebeesFREE entree from Veterans Day Menu (Nov. 11) Veterans & Active Duty.

Olive GardenFREE entree from Veterans Day Menu (Nov. 11) Veterans & Active Duty.
***Family Members dining with Military Member receive 10% discount on meal.

Texas RoadhouseFREE lunch from Veterans Day Menu (Nov. 11th (llam-2pm)) Veterans & Active Duty.
*** Includes Free Beverage (soda, tea, or coffee)

On the BorderFREE Choose 2 or 3 “Create Your Own Combo” (Nov 11) Veterans & Active Duty.

IHOPFREE Red, White & Blue Pancakes (Nov 11) Veterans & Active Duty.

Golden CorralFREE dinner (Nov. 11th (5pm-9pm) Veterans, National Guard, Reserves, Active Duty.

California Pizza KitchenFREE entree from Veterans Day Menu (Nov 11) Proof of Service.

Denny’sFREE Build Your Own Grand Slam (Nov 11 (5am-Noon)) Veterans & Military Members.

HootersFREE entree from Veterans Day Menu with beverage purchase (Nov 11) Military ID.

BJs Restaurant & Brew HouseFREE entree (up to $12.95 value) (Nov 11) Military ID.

Cheeseburger in ParadiseFree Veterans Burger & Fries with beverage purchase (Nov 11) Military ID.

Claim JumperFREE Meal from Veterans Day Menu (Nov 11)

Little Caesars PizzaFREE $5 Hot-N-Ready Lunch Combo (Nov 11 (11am-2pm) Veterans & Active Duty

Outback SteakhouseFREE Bloomin’ Onion & Beverage (Nov 11) Veterans & Military Personnel
***If you are deployed, sign up HERE to get a rain check on your FREE Bloomin’ Onion.
***15% discount to military personnel & their families (Nov. 12th- Dec. 31st)

StarbucksFREE Tall Hot Brewed Coffee (Nov 11) Veterans, Service Members, Spouses.

Tony Roma’sFREE Half Rack of Baby Back Ribs (Nov 11) Veterans & Active Duty.

TGI FridaysFREE lunch (Nov 11 (11am-2pm)) Veterans & Active Duty.

Buffalo Wild WingsFREE small order of wings (traditional or boneless) & fries (Nov 11) Veterans & Active Duty.

IKEAFREE entree (Nov 8th-11th) Active, Reserved, or Retired Service Members

Krispy KremeFREE doughnut & small coffee (Nov. 11) Veterans & Active Duty.

Ruby TuesdayFREE appetizer (Nov 11)

Black Angus SteakhouseFREE Bacon Cheeseburger & Fries (Nov 11) Veterans & Active Duty.

Retailer Freebies

Great ClipsFREE Hair Cut or FREE Hair Cut Card to gift to your favorite veteran. (redeemed by Dec. 31st)

Sports ClipsFREE Hair Cut (Nov 11) Veterans & Active Duty.

7-ElevenFREE Car Wash (Nov 11) Veterans & Military Personnel.

MeinekeFREE basic oil change (Nov. 11) Veterans.

Alfred AngeloFREE Wedding Gown (must have appointment schedule on Nov. 11th)


Retailer Discounts

FTD20% Discount + 5% donation of proceeds to the USO (up to $10,000). Offer good for anyone.

Dollar General11% Discount in store and online (Nov 11) Veterans, Active Duty & Family Members.

World Market20% Discount on entire purchase (Nov 11) Active Duty, DOD, Reserves, Guard, Retirees, Veterans and Military Spouses.

Bed Bath & Beyond20% Discount on entire purchase (Nov 7th-11th) Active Duty, DOD, Reserves, Guard, Retirees, Veterans and Military Spouses.

Lowes & Home Depot – Extend the 10% Discount to all Veterans (Nov 11)

Travel Discounts

Red Roof Inn15% Discount (Month of November) Valid Military ID.
*** Cyber Monday Deal: (Nov. 30th 12AM EST) 30% Discount for everyone.

Knott’s Berry FarmFREE Admission + 1 Guest + 6 Discounted Tickets (Nov 1st – Dec 20th) Veterans, Retired, Active Duty.

LEGOLAND FloridaFREE Admission + 6 Discounted 50% off Tickets (Nov 1st – Nov 22nd) Veterans.

Westgate ResortsFREE 3-day, 2-night vacation (Nov 11) First 2,500 veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom and The War on Terror to complete the form on Nov. 11th 9am EST.

National ParksFREE admission to over 100 National Parks (Nov 11)

Mount Vernon FREE admission (Nov 11) Active, Former, or Retired Military Personnel.

Harley Davidson MuseumFREE admission (Nov 11) Veterans, Active Duty & their Families.

Birmingham ZooFREE admission (Nov 9th -11th) Veterans, Retired, Active Duty & their Dependents.


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