By D’Antrese McNeil
PCSing can be one of the most stressful, unnerving, and sometimes even fun experiences a military family can go through. But one thing’s for sure, they always cost you real money. For the most part, the expenses associated with moving are supposed to be “covered”, but we all know it doesn’t always work out that way. Our last TWO PCSes had me in constant face palm emoji states of emotion.
In the fall of 2012, we got orders to Seoul, South Korea. Dream come true! We were excited!
But, before we PCSed, my husband had a mandatory month-long C school in San Diego. When he arrived, there were no barracks available, so he had to go off base…15 miles…to the nearest hotel. He also had to figure out transportation for the month to and from class. AND it added up! Cha Ching!
We still had our expenses to pay back home such as rent, utilities, car note, and insurance. You get my drift. So, under the advisement that we would get reimbursed, my husband took an advance on his pay. Turns out, this was not accurate information.
Ok, we swallowed that bitter pill and headed to Korea. We hoped that once we got there and turned in all of our receipts, our dislocation allowance would offset the amount of said loan. Somehow, and we’re still not sure how, the Navy decided we were OVERPAID and still owed $516.29! We were floored, as we had expected a reimbursement, not another bill! There was nothing we could do at that point. We were still tired and jet lagged so we chalked it up to a lesson learned, one that we wouldn’t have to be taught again.
The Move Back
Fast forward two years to the fall of 2014. We are headed out of Korea on our way to the next duty station, Patuxent River, MD. Somehow, we once again ended up in debt!
It took forever to get the DLA/TLA. We were authorized a car rental, but for only 1 day! We needed it for much longer as our own car had not reached us yet.
Then, there was mix-up with his pay. Checks for as little as $500 per pay period were deposited. We had to take out loans just to pay our bills! It eventually got straightened out, but we are still waiting on the reimbursement.
Now almost 3 years later, we are prepping for our next PCS in November. We are finally on a good financial track and our heads are above water. We did this by reducing our expenses where we could, and by paying off the loans as quickly as possible.
Our family also made a conscious decision to start a savings account specifically for PCSing. Best decision ever. We don’t have to rely on the Navy to get it right, this way we are covered.
My best advice, start saving as soon as you get to your next duty station. It doesn’t take much in savings to give yourself a real sense of security. Small amounts can add up to big amounts quickly. This military life is so amazing, but errors happen and mistakes are made. Do yourself the favor of having your own safety cushion.
Check out my tips on how to start saving for your next PCS here!
Author: D’Antrese McNeil is a proud Mil Spouse whose husband is currently in his 8th year of naval service. She is a stay at home mom, as well as a photographer and vlogger/blogger. She is also the Pax River Military Spouse of the Year 2017! Her Facebook followers are often entertained with her tales from military life to life in general. D’Antrese is a proud Houston, Texas Native. She enjoys Hip Hop, R and B and country music and is a big Foodie! Check her out on YouTube: D’Antrese Le’Chelle and FaceBook: D’Antrese Le’Chelle.