Moving is stressful. Moving every couple of years because of a new duty station is very stressful. There are options for moving too, and the rules feel like they often change — even though that’s not really the case.
This week’s question is about moving! (in case you couldn’t tell)
“We are PCSing to Bragg in a couple of months. Should we do a DITY move or have the Army move us?”
Before we get into the answer to that question, which will vary based on your Family, we need to unpack the acronyms in the question. “PCS” means permanent change of station ie. a move to a new location. “DITY” means do-it-yourself, a type of move that you can decide to do if you or your spouse is in the military. It is also known as a personally procured move.
There are a few different ways that you can move if you are in the Army, and they can all have different financial implications for you. Note that these are for continental United States moves. Overseas moves are handled a little bit differently.
DITY or PPM
The PPM can be stressful because you are packing your house and moving everything yourself, which could potentially be across the country. If you have two cars, you’ll probably have to tow one behind the moving truck.
A PPM move could mean more stress in terms of packing things up, but you’ll have all of your household goods when you get to where you are going, and if things are broken, well, you’re the one to blame for it and you won’t have to chase down an insurance claim.
You get an allowance for a PPM, 95 percent of what it would have cost the military to move you. You also get travel allowances. If your PPM costs you less than that 95 percent, you get to keep what you don’t spend.
So there is also the pro of maybe making a little bit of money out of the deal. The hardest part of this is keeping track of your receipts and expenses because you have to turn all of those in to the finance office to be reimbursed for your move.
Partial DITY
The partial DITY move means that the military movers will pack up some of your stuff and you’ll pack up and move the rest. This is the way I’ve moved every time we’ve had to head to a new duty station.
I like having some of the things that I know I’ll need with me right away, and I don’t mind waiting for the rest if it means I don’t have to pack it all up myself. If you go this route, invest in a good air mattress.
The partial DITY means you get reimbursed for some travel and moving expenses while still getting the bulk of your items moved.
It could mean waiting for awhile for your household goods. Coming from Campbell to Bragg, I waited about four weeks for my HHG. But I had a comfortable air mattress, my computer and books, so I felt like I was good to go.
Just like with the PPM, you have to keep track of your expenses. I had to weigh my car before I loaded it up with what I had planned on taking and then weighed it after. This helped the finance office determine how much it would cost me to move, and it was part of the reimbursement packet that my husband turned into the finance office when it was all said and done.
Movers
The last option is to have the Army movers move everything you own. You’ll get travel allowances, but won’t get any other money for the move. But the bonus here is that you don’t have to worry about a thing; they’ll take care of everything.
If you are having movers pack up anything of yours, whether they are the military movers or maybe even movers you pay for yourself, make sure you document the condition of high ticket items.
Pay attention to the movers and how they handle your HHG. If they are going to be there for a long period of time, feed them! Have water bottles on hand to give out to the movers.
We have several months until the PCS “season” is upon us, but it is never too early to begin to prepare for your next big move.