Whether you are doing a Do-It-Yourself/Personally Procured Move (DITY/PPM) or a government move, there are many ways you can save money when preparing for your next Personal Change in Sanity, er, I mean, Permanent Change of Station. If you have orders for six months from now, preparing now will save you time, energy, and money.
Figure out the budget you want to stick within, and stick to it. The best way to make a budget is to be informed. If you are moving, call around to multiple companies that offer storage and shipment – ABF U-Pack, UHaul, PODs, and PackRat. These companies offer different-sized storage units to ship your items. They each offer calculators on their websites to help you estimate the size storage crate you need to pack up the goodies of your home so you can make an informed budget. Don’t forget to account for packing materials and boxes in your budget. Moving companies also can get you quotes on moving help for moving the heavy furniture.
Borrow equipment like a dolly to move boxes. Borrow people if a neighbor offers to help you move boxes for an hour.
While not strictly borrowing, keep your eyes peeled for boxes being put up for curb alert. Gather boxes of all sizes not just for packing your own things, but also for creating walls in the packing unit to create stability. Boxes can be used for protecting items like frames or pictures, even if you are not moving. Check with local grocery stores for large boxes they may be recycling. It’s technically borrowing if you use them for your move, and then put them up for curb alert at the next duty station.
Use what you have in your home for packing. Using what you have saves money and time. Use towels or blankets to provide padding around dishes in addition to paper. Use small boxes you have on hand to pack up small items or breakables to make sure they are protected while shipping. Repurpose the small plastic shoebox containers to pack up small toys to keep them together. Wrapping paper also makes great paper for wrapping items that are being shipped to your next duty station. Regular packing paper is best for wrapping items that need to be stored long-term, but making do with what you have for items that go direct from shipping point A to point B.
Whether you are doing a Personally Procured Move (PPM) or Government Move, know what reimbursements you rate. Temporary Lodging Expenses (TLE) is an allowance covering lodging and meal expenses while occupying temporary lodging as part of the PCS. Moving CONUS to CONUS, 10 days of TLE is rated while to and from OCONUS moves rate 5 days of TLE. Other reimbursements like per diem and house hunting may be authorized. Check out the Defense Travel Management Office website to check out the reimbursements, rates, and what you may rate for your move.
The military is having you move, do not be afraid to ask for the military rate at the hotels you may stay at before, across your move, and after. Don’t forget about military hotels on base! They may even have larger temporary lodging with large kitchens to cook a homecooked meal and a washer and dryer for laundry – a cheap rate plus the ability to refresh your suitcase is a win!