Ways to prepare when your orders aren’t here yet

By Kate Horrell,

It’s frustrating when you know, or think, that you are moving soon, but you don’t have actual orders.  Permanent Change of Station (PCS) orders don’t always show up when we want them.  Rather than stewing and stressing, put that energy to good use doing things that will help you out regardless of the outcome.

Purge, Organize, and Inventory

Pre-PCS is the perfect time to go through your entire house and simplify.  Get rid of things you don’t need, getting receipts if you’ll be able to deduct their value on your income tax return. A pre-move purge can save you money because it decreases the chances you’ll go over the amount you are permitted to move.

Organize the things you’re keeping, but don’t buy specific organizational stuff unless you are absolutely positive it will work in any house.  Even then, see if you can make do with something else to save money during the pre-move time.

Make an inventory of your household goods – it will come in handy if you have a loss during the move.

Deal With Your Food

Most of us have more than an adequate stash of food in our houses.  Now is the time to eat down your pantry, trying to avoid buying new things until you absolutely must.  You can move food to some locations, but it isn’t ideal. There are a lot of things that can go wrong. In a perfect world, you’ll make your last sandwich with the last of the mustard, the last slice of cheese, and two heels of bread just as you walk out the door.

While you are at it, make a few meals that you can freeze for using during the really busy time right before the actual move.  If you make casseroles in foil pans, you can eat well during the pack-out without making more dishes.  Chicken enchiladas, pans of pulled pork, baked pasta and chili are favorites at our house.

Work On Your Budget

Slashing your grocery bill will help with the next step:  facing your finances.  Moving is expensive!  The military has a generous array of allowances to help with moving, but they don’t cover everything and some items are reimbursed later.  Sometimes a lot later.  Plus, you want to start your time in your new home with a solid financial plan.

Track your money, pay down debt, and build up your PCS savings account.  It will make your move so much smoother!

Of course, there are a million other productive things you can do to plan and prepare for a move. I’ve just focused on the three biggest things that relate to money. Doing these will make your move smoother and fill your time while you wait for those orders to arrive.

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