Military PCS Tips: How to Prepare and Maximize Your DITY, DLA, TLA, TLE, & More Military Money Manual Podcast Episode 71

Get a $695 credit card annual fee waived in my Ultimate Military Credit Cards Course
The Platinum Card® from American Express card is annual fee waived for military. Terms apply.

Military Money Manual has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Military Money Manual and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. Thank you for supporting my independent, veteran owned site.

Listen to The Military Money Manual Podcast on SpotifyApple PodcastsAmazon MusicAudible, YouTube, or Stitcher.

In this episode, Jamie and Spencer Reese discuss how to prepare for your next PCS.

Military Money Manual Podcast Episode #71 Links

Outline of Episode:

  • Jamie and Spencer’s personal experiences and tips for an upcoming PCS
  • Setting yourselves up for success to not be in debt when you show up to a new base
  • DLA- Dislocation Allowance
  • TLE- Temporary Lodging Expense
  • TLA- Temporary Lodging Allowance
  • Strategies for maximizing our credit card benefits around PCS time

Military Money Manual Podcast Episode 71 Transcript

[00:00:23] Jamie: Hello, podcast listeners. Welcome back to the Military Money Manual Podcast. I'm Jamie. Today we're going to be talking about how to prepare for your next PCS in the military. We're going to be talking about general PCS advice and benefits, as well as money-related tips to make your next PCS as easy as possible.

My family and I are heading back to Hawaii this summer. We're really happy about that, so this is really useful stuff for us to review as well. Today I'm happy to be here again with Spencer from the militarymoneymanual.com. Hey Spencer.

[00:00:50] Spencer: Hey Jamie. Thanks for the intro. Yeah, so I mean if people, PCS, at least on the officer side, it's usually every two to three years. So that means that you probably have anywhere between I'd say probably 20% to 33% of the entire US military moving every year. That's a lot of people. So hopefully yeah, it's a lot of money. Hopefully. Yeah, a lot of money. That's true. But yeah, so if you're listening to this and you're facing a PCS this summer, like Jamie and his family, first of all, good luck, but we thought it would be a good time to discuss what we have done in the past and what Jamie's about to do to get ready for PCS.

Before we get going though, thanks for all your continued positive reviews on Spotify, Apple Podcast, and wherever you listen, and you can always send us topic ideas, questions, or comments to podcast@militarymoneymanual.com or on Instagram @militarymoneymanual. Lots of people direct message us on there, and that's really fun and it's fun to be useful and helpful and point people in the right direction.

I will say 95% of the questions I get, I have an article on my website that answers it. So that's actually it means I'm doing something right because then I can just send them a link and I say, read this and then let me know if you have any questions. But when somebody sends me a question that I haven't answered on my site, then I think, aha, I need to answer that on my site.

Okay Jamie, so just a quick overview of my experience. So I was on active duty for almost 12 years. During that time we PCSd, let me think now, like four or five times. We did a partial DITY. We did a full DITY, that's do it yourself, DITY. You'll hear that expression. We put stuff into non-temporary storage or NTS, I think is what they call it when we PCSd overseas to an assignment where our housing was furnished.

So we didn't have to bring any of our tables and chairs and stuff. So we just put it into storage. Surprisingly enough, when it came out of storage, two years later, it was in pretty good shape. So they actually packed it pretty good, which is surprising for the military. One thing that we really doing is we did two CONUS PCSs.

So we, one time drove from Texas to Washington State and then we drove from Washington state to New Jersey and we took the opportunity to make a road trip out of it, which was pretty awesome. The Great American Road trip, we got to go to all kinds of weird places, like House in the Rock in Wisconsin, Roswell, New Mexico, and go to the International Center for alien visitations or whatever it's called out there.

We got to go to a couple of national parks, the Grand Canyon, Zion, Yellowstone, and Glacier, and those are opportunities that you're just not going to have all the time. It's basically like the military's giving you some free leave almost when they're giving you a CONUS to CONUS PCS. So take advantage of it and go visit family, go visit friends, go see some national parks and turn it into a road trip.

Couple of other things we did is we shipped a car overseas when I had that overseas assignment in the United Arab Emirates. So that went out of the port in Baltimore. That's a story maybe I'll tell later in the podcast. It was a pain in the butt. Then again, when we moved to Hawaii from Abu Dhabi, we shipped the car OCONUS to OCONUS, and we also did that PCS, OCONUS, OCONUS on that, PCS, and the one actually out to Abu Dhabi.

We did Circuitous Travel. I've got an article on my website about that, and I think we have a podcast episode. Is that true too?

[00:04:09] Jamie: We do. I'll mention the number later in the podcast. We have a little segment about that coming up.

[00:04:13] Spencer: Oh, great. Okay. Circuitous traveling. That's a great benefit. Not a lot of people know about it.

Not everybody's eligible for it, but if you are, I highly recommend that you take advantage of it. We got to stop by Switzerland, Austria, Italy, Scotland, and Canada, all on the way from Abu Dhabi to the United Arab Emirates, and I'd say about, I think about 80% of our airfare ended up getting reimbursed, so that was nice.

A pretty good deal there. Jamie, I would say my number one tip, getting into the meat and potatoes, if you will, here of the podcast episode, but my number one tip is downsizing. Downsizing and decluttering before you PCS. I don't know if you've ever read, I use this expression on a couple other podcasts.

Marie Condoing. Marie Condo is the Japanese guru who's all about basically only bringing things into your life that bring you joy and happiness.

[00:05:03] Jamie: Wait, I didn't know she had a book. I guess it makes sense, but I think most of us watched her Netflix special, but I heard the other day, just like a week or two ago, that she gave up when she had kids.

So for those of us that watched her Netflix movie and were feeling guilty that we couldn't be as tidy as her, she also succumbed to the pressures of parenthood it sounds like.

[00:05:20] Spencer: That's so funny. Yeah, I didn't know that. I would believe it though. Yeah, she has a book. I think it's The Joy of Tidying Up or something.

And she has a couple. Yeah, she has a Netflix series as well. I think the book is definitely where you get the most value out of her teachings. But basically, it's just don't bring stuff in. I'm looking around my super cluttered desk right now and I'm just thinking, man, I gotta throw some of this stuff out because it literally does occupy space and attention and takes it away from other things that you can be doing when you have objects that aren't happy and aren't in the right place.

But yeah, when you're PCSing, you know some advantages of getting rid of your stuff. Less clutter, less stuff to break, less stuff to pack, less stuff to unpack. Depending on where you're coming from or where you're going. Maybe you're going into a larger home, or maybe you're coming from a larger home and you're moving into a smaller home because you're moving overseas.

And guess what? Every house overseas is not 2,700 square feet like the average American home. So you might find that you get there and you have all this junk, or you have all this stuff and you have nowhere to put it in, then you have to rent a storage locker. Is that really the average? I think 2,700 square feet is the median.

It might be a median new house build. I saw the stat the other day, but yeah.

[00:06:37] Jamie: Oh, add another area to my life where I'm well below average.

[00:06:41] Spencer: That's true. We don't have to mention all the other ones, but yeah, you can get some, if you sell all your stuff before you move, you can get some extra cash.

You can donate it. There are lots of organizations out there that will take gently used material or clothes and stuff. But I know for us, when, on our first PCS, after my wife and I got married, we went from Texas to Washington state and we actually managed to, we sold off all of our furniture. We emptied out everything and we got all of our stuff into a sedan car.

Wow. So that was, can never do that again, probably. But that was one of the advantages of not having accumulated a lot of stuff after we got married.

[00:07:23] Jamie: Newlywed life not having much. When we first got married, we were sleeping on an air mattress, I think for three or four months. It's a little bit embarrassing.

Wow. To think about, but all now the next tip I have that's non-financial related, we'll stick with the non-finances for a little bit. Stay organized, whether that's printing out all your things like a three-ring binder, a Google Drive folder to-do list, iPhone notes, maybe in the notes tab, or Google Keep, I think.

Is that the one you use, Spencer? Is that what it's called?

[00:07:48] Spencer: Yeah. I use Google Keep. I also highly recommend Google Drive. Microsoft has its own product. Yeah, Dropbox has its own product. There are so many out there, so many apps out there available. But every time someone hands you a document or you sign a document or you see any document in the military, just pull out your phone, take a snapshot of it with that app, turn it into a PDF, and upload it into the cloud.

And I don't know, over a dozen times it saved me when someone said, we need this document and I can just pull it up on my phone and say, what's your email address? I'll just email it to you right now.

[00:08:20] Jamie: Yeah, it makes it so easy. Then you also have the ability to share it with your spouse or your family if they need a copy of your orders for whatever they're doing.

It's all right there available to both of you. You're going to have a lot of deadlines for your out-processing checklist and this week I finally got my initial assignment notification. So there are these initial steps I have to do in order for them to start the process of generating our orders. It's a little bit overwhelming at first.

I remember how hard an overseas PCS and OCONUS PCS really are. So getting yourself organized, especially if you don't tend to be super detail-focused and checklist driven is very helpful for PCS. A lot of things just take time. Like the EFMP, the Exceptional Family Member Program, takes just time.

And sometimes in the med group, there's one person that does all the screenings on base. So if you can avoid it, stay out of it. But in some assignments, overseas assignments, you have to get screened for it, even if you don't have anyone in the program. So the next topic you're going on to talk about with your family or decide on your own, depending on your situation, is whether or not you're going to do a personally procured move, PPM, or what a lot of people still call a DITY move, do it yourself, or you're going to let the government do all of it for you.

If your CONUS moving, always consider at least a partial DITY because even the suitcase in your car or the documents you hand carry the three suitcases of clothes and equipment in your car is weighable and reimbursable so you get all that weight of the stuff in your car that you travel with for a partial DITY.

I would recommend always considering at least a partial DITY for your CONUS moves especially. Then you have to decide, do I want to potentially make a little bit of money and load a u-haul by myself and move to a new base and unpack it where I don't know any friends, or do I just want to deal with TMO and the pain that is having to schedule that and having movers come damage my stuff and or do I want to do it myself?

So there are pros and cons to both. You just have to figure out what you want to do. Sorry, it's CTO. Does the travel, not TMO. 

[00:10:12] Spencer:  Yeah. Commercial travel. Okay. Yeah. I'll just reiterate, Jamie, hand carrying your important documents. I know for the tactical level, a zipper, three-ring binder with page protectors is what worked best for me.

Just go on Amazon by a Trapper Keeper with page protectors. That's the way you want to go. Start early.

Jamie, you were talking about, when you get your initial assignment notification, that is not your orders. Do the things that you need to do quickly so that you can get your orders.

Then once you have your orders, then you can start booking things and making arrangements, hotels, and airfare. But until you have your orders, it is just completely made up. In fact, like what I used to say to my wife, I don't know where we're going or where we're going to end up on this PCS until we are literally there.

Because you hear all these horror stories of guys who are about to step out the door and their orders get canceled for whatever reason, and those stories to me are always suspect. I'm always wondering, how did it get to that point where they were closing the car door and about to drive away and the orders got canceled?

But I don't know. So do the things you need to do early so that you can get your orders. Then once you have your orders, then start doing your out-processing checklist and doing the things that you need to do so that you can do them ahead of time and then it's a slightly less stressful. Kate Horrell on katehorrell.com has the ultimate PCS guide to packing out. You can just Google Kate Horrell's Ultimate PCS Guide, or Ultimate PCS Guide, and she's got a great PDF, it's printable and it covers a bunch of the things that you need to think about, documents, and checklists. Her husband was on active duty, I think for 20, 25, or maybe 30 years.

Yeah, something like that. So she got very good, she's very organized and she has basically, she's put it all together. You don't need to figure out your own, just go download it. I think that one's a free pdf and then she has one that you can pay for as well. A hundred percent worth it. She does great stuff in the military community and really thought through and generated the Ultimate PCS guide. 

One thing she, yeah, one thing she talks about in that guide is having a do not pack room. Again, this is on the tactical level of PCSing, but this was something that we did when I left active duty. The government still owes you a home of record move.

So they have to take your stuff from wherever you're stationed back to your home of record. You can elect to have them send it somewhere else. You just might be responsible if it costs more than what it would cost to send back to your home of record. What we did on that move is we had one room set aside that was our do not pack room.

And what that allowed us to do is when the movers came in, We could just tell them everything in the house goes, except the things that are in this room. We just put a big X on the door with masking tape, and put on a sign that says, do not pack anything in this room. Then what that allowed us to do is we just put everything that we needed into that room or anything that we were going to sell or give away or donate.

And it just made it a lot simpler than going around. I know some people use stickers, they'll use little stickers and they'll mark everything that's going or not going. But I think the “do not pack” room is the simplest thing. Cause then you just close the door, nobody goes in there and none of your stuff ends up packed that's not supposed to. Funny story on stuff that gets packed that shouldn't. As we were renting a house in New Jersey and they came in to pick up all of our stuff from the kitchen and I said, yep, everything in here goes. Sure enough, they packed the microwave and it went all the way to Abu Dhabi. My landlord was like, you stole my microwave.

And who I was like, yep, sure did. Sorry about that. Here's 50 bucks. Other ideas? Take pictures, and videos of all your stuff and any current damage that's on it. I found that it's hard to take pictures of all your stuff sometimes, because you're like, man, we have a lot of stuff. So one thing that I do is first of all it's just like high-value stuff, only TVs, maybe sofas tables, stuff that's going to actually cost something to replace.

And then videos are great too especially with the new cameras on your phone. You just walk around it and you can freeze frame if you go slow enough and you can pull images out of it.

[00:14:51] Jamie: Yeah, that's exactly what I was going to say. I do the GoPro, so I just walk around with the GoPro.

I open up all the drawers, and all the cabinets, one at a time. So I'll have like basically one video that covers each room in the house. So I'll have a series of maybe 10 or 12 videos that covers everything. Then I can screenshot it from the GoPro app, a high-definition picture. The other thing is for any electronics, like a treadmill, TV, video game system, computers, make sure you get a picture or a video of it on and working because if they damage your TV or there's like a dead pixel, they might claim that we don't know for sure that we caused that damage. It may have been broken before. But make sure it's clear in the video or the picture you have, what the actual condition is. You know, if your mattress has a small stain on the top right corner, get a picture of that.

So when they add a new stain on the bottom left corner, they marked that it was stained. You can show that it was only stained there and not this new one. Then they can pay for the damage they did to your stuff.

[00:15:47] Spencer: Those were great tips. Other practical things that you can think about the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act or SCRA, it doesn't just waive fees on your credit cards.

It also helps you get out of leases or rental houses. So you have to provide written notice to your landlord and you have to give them at least 30 days' notice. Reddit, military finance, the other day, there was this in-depth question about, if my rent is due this day, are they allowed to charge me?

Just expect if you have a terrible landlord who doesn't respect you as a human being, maybe they'll charge you an extra month of rent. But most of the time, at least the landlords I've dealt with, especially if you're near a military base, are used to dealing with military orders. 

Oh, and the other thing too that I've found some people are getting a little tricky about this, is they put language in the rental agreement that says that you waive your SCRA benefits and rights.

Sorry, that doesn't work. Yeah. Literally, it says in the law that you cannot waive those rights and responsibilities, so…

[00:16:47] Jamie: contact your JAG if you need help.

[00:16:49] Spencer: Yeah, exactly. So if you see that in the contract, first of all, you can just say, Hey, can you take out this language because it's not going to work anyways?

And then second of all, if you are trying to break a lease and it has that language in there, go to your JAG, and show them that they'll be very interested in talking to your landlord. No, you cannot waive your SCRA benefits just because you signed it in a lease. Okay. So like we mentioned earlier, there's this program called Circuitous Travel.

What it allows you to do is if you are going from an OCONUS to OCONUS, CONUS to OCONUS, or OCONUS, basically if you're touching OCONUS and any of your travel, and remember that Hawaii and Alaska are OCONUS, they're outside the contiguous United States. You are allowed to take circuitous travel, which essentially allows you to get to your destination, but you don't have to take the most direct route to get there.

Now for you, Jamie, right? Coming from your current assignment where you're in Alabama and going to Hawaii, there might be an aircraft, a charter aircraft, Patriot Express that goes out of Travis Air Force Base in California. The contract might be something as cheap as $100 or $200 to get you and your family per person to get you and your family over to Hawaii.

And so in that case, they're only going to authorize you up to a thousand dollars. If you have five people at $200 each, they're only going to authorize you up to a thousand dollars of reimbursement if you do circuitous travel. So that's something to watch out for is that if you're on a pretty regular PCS route, like going from Baltimore to Germany, those flights are extremely cheap, relatively for the government to procure.

And the other thing too is you might be directed to use the Patriot Express or to use the charter aircraft and not be authorized circuit circuitous travel. 

So Jamie, when you guys PCSd OCONUS to CONUS last time, you were able to use circuitous travel.

[00:18:42] Jamie: We actually used it both ways to and from Hawaii.

And when we were leaving Hawaii, I think the official ticket office travel office plan was to fly commercially to San Diego, pick up our car from the VPC, the Vehicle Processing Center, I think is that acronym, and then drive. So we were authorized six travel days, but we were like, we'd rather fly, visit our family, and make a couple of extra stops and things like that.

So we ended up getting our orders amended for cutest travel and it ended up giving us only one travel day. We flew all the way there and then everything else was charged as leave. But our ticket price was calculated as the government contract fair from Honolulu to Alabama. Times five for five family members.

And so we were able to have everything, I think, except for maybe a hundred dollars $100 per person covered for that long flight. Plus a couple of stops along the way. Then we picked up our car in Atlanta and drove the rest of the way. So it worked out pretty well. It does take a little bit of extra work.

It is an entitlement, so you should be able to do it. Look up Spencer's article on his website, and we also talked about it in episode 29. If you didn't mention that.

[00:19:51] Spencer: Yeah, that's right. In episode 29, we talked about that. Then Circuitous Travel PCS Guide. Just Google that. My website should be in the top three results there.

Militarymoneymanual.com. The other thing I wanted to mention about Circuitous Securus travel is if you're going someplace that's off the beaten path. So in our case, we were moving from New Jersey to Abu Dhabi and there was no Patriot Express or contract airfare to get out there. It was a lot easier to get circuitous travel approved because they were going to have to book us, a ticket on whatever airline service to that airport at the time.

Other things that you want to do when you're moving, keep your renter's insurance policy open so your stuff is covered in transit. Which is great. Most policies obviously check your policy, but I know for the USAA policy I've had for years, all my stuff is covered basically anywhere I am in the world.

Even though currently my parents' address, back on the East Coast is the location of my stuff and I have like barely any stuff there and I have stuff scattered all over the world. But according to USAA, it's all covered. So that's nice. 

Then in episode 66 of the podcast, we talked about the military Spouse Licensure reimbursement program, which is a great program, great in theory, we'll see how it actually works in practice. Military spouses, when moving to a different state due to PCS, are authorized up to $1,000 in reimbursement to get a license in their profession. So this is great for, any of the licensed professions, which is anything from hairdresser to a massage therapist, to nurse, and teacher, but basically, any profession that requires real estate would be another one that requires a license.

You can do the courses, you can pay for the training, and then you can take your receipts to the finance office of your branch and then they'll reimburse up to a thousand dollars, which is a great program. So that was episode 66. We covered that on the podcast, and you can go to militarymoneymanual.com/ep66 and look at the transcript there of the episode, or I'll listen to it as well.

Jamie, any other non-money tips for families with kids before we get into kind of the money stuff?

[00:22:05] Jamie: You have a few I'll run down to add to the list. The first one I want to mention is the Air Force Aid Society. I think other branches have similar soldier relief funds and sailor relief funds and things like that.

I forget the exact names, but the Air Force Aid Society, for example, for our department of the Air Force listeners, has a program called Childcare for PCS that offers 20 hours of free childcare per child with your PCS orders with one of the base certified FCC providers, the Family Child Care Providers.

So that's pretty nice to have either your old or your new duty station. I don't think it covers both. I think it might be one or the other, but I'm not a hundred percent sure about that. So you have 20 hours and you can just drop them off, get childcare while you unpack the house or run your in-processing errands, pick up your car, and things like that.

The Family Readiness Centers also usually have a loan locker where you can get some supplies, like kitchen equipment, dishes and knives, and things like that to check out, usually for free. But it's also first come, first serve and they may only have five kits for the entire base. The big thing is expectations management with the family.

Make sure you're talking through what it's going to look like that mommy or daddy got a new assignment. We're moving here. You can talk about the benefits of it, you can talk about the parts that might be hard with everything. Expectations management is a huge deal. For our case, my oldest is in fifth grade here and is going to have his like, an Elementary school transition ceremony to go to middle school next year.

Back in Hawaii, sixth grade is elementary school, so that's one of the things we've worked through is he's graduating from elementary school and then going back to elementary school. So some things like that you'll have to talk through and help them understand why the change. But the school liaison officer for your area will help you get into the research on your school district and that kind of plays into where you might want to live.

But as with everything, expectations are huge. Be open and talk about it and help them understand what's going on. Most bases have decent resources, whether it's a welcome letter or a welcome packet online. They'll help you understand the rules like pet quarantine, any local procedures, and vehicle restrictions like in Japan or some European places you might not be able to bring your F-350 over there and once you get a sponsor, you'll be able to get a little bit more detailed information. But initially, you're probably going to want to do some of your own research. Quick side note, if you do have the opportunity to be a sponsor, be a good sponsor, help pick them up from the airport, give them some initial food for the first night or something like that.

Just be a good friend to someone new to your unit. That makes a big difference. Select locations overseas, especially have loaner furniture that can help with your transition. So in Hawaii, they call it Aloha furniture, and that's completely free and available to you both on the way in and the way out.

So understanding your entitlements as well. Unaccompanied baggage, for example, for an OCONUS move that is generally on the way to OCONUS is flown usually via C-17s or C5s or commercial carriers. So that stuff gets there a little bit quicker versus your main household goods shipment, which will show up usually a couple of weeks later, hopefully, if everything works well.

So unaccompanied baggage versus non-temporary storage, which Spencer mentioned earlier. If I don't need a lawnmower because I'm going to live on base and they're going to mow my lawn, I can put it in storage for the three years I'm overseas. Things like that versus the regular household goods shipment. Just understand all your options and pay attention to the briefings you have to do and the training you have to go through on move dot mill or wherever your initial assignment brief.

There's a lot of information there, but don't be afraid to walk into the office and just ask them for advice or ask them for clarification on what exactly you're allowed to do or what your options are 

When you ship your car, you get one car per family, even if you have kids that drive and multiple cars, you get one car at government expense and so you can look at PCSMypov.com I think is the website and that'll cover all the details there. I think Spencer mentioned earlier they're pretty strict on how clean your car is. They need to be able to see damage and no sand in there and stuff like that.

[00:25:55] Spencer: Yeah, I extensively cleaned the car. It was the cleanest that I'd ever had that car.

and I brought it to the VPC in Baltimore and the guy's doing the inspection and he takes one look at the trunk. He's there's sand back here. I'm like, where? And he pulls up like a single grain. I'm like, yeah. He's like, and there's more. I was like, oh, like this is the cleanest my car has ever been.

Like I spent an hour, probably an hour and a half cleaning it and he was like, I don't know, tell you, man, it doesn't pass inspection. So I was like, is there a place nearby that can take it and get it cleaned? And he says I don't know of anything like that, which is insane to me. If anybody here's a business idea is to go set up right outside of a VPC, I don't know what you'd have to, you could charge whatever you wanted because at that point I was, I would've paid $1,000 to just be done with this thing.

and I found a place nearby. Actually, no, I think there was like a ShopVac, like a truck stop nearby and that's where I ended up going and spent another  45 minutes trying to clean every little grain of sand out of the car. Three quarters at a time. Oh, it was terrible. 

It was terrible. Yeah. So that's my business tip of the day though, is if you want to make a lot of money, go set up outside of a VPC car cleaning service and charge. You can charge whatever you want.

[00:27:14] Jamie: For those of you with pets, there's some good news in the 2023 NDAA, the National Defense Authorization Act, which allows service secretaries to reimburse pet transportation fees for PCS.

But from what I could tell today in my research, no services actually implemented this plan yet, or published a policy. Hopefully it'll be there by the summertime. As it stands right now, you can get reimbursed for dog or cat overseas quarantine costs. But hopefully, we'll see some more news on the pet front by the summer PCS season.

Making your reservations early is another big one, whether it's lodging your temporary lodging facility, or TLF for your family rental cars, if need be. Then as soon as you have your orders and you can book your flights, try to do that as soon as possible so that way you can have your timing all worked out.

 In the Air Force, other branches have similar programs, but you get 10 days upon arrival to do house hunting leave. Check with your new unit for procedures when you in-process. If you did permissive TDY, that will usually exclude you from getting house-hunting leave. But usually, that's an entitlement that you have when you show up as well.

I think that's the end of our non-financial tips. Did I miss anything, Spencer?

[00:28:26] Spencer: No, I think we covered a lot of good stuff there, Jamie. It's a word salad of all these tips, but if you listen to that whole 35 minutes there, you'll go from knowing nothing about PCS to at least you'll have some topics that you can go do some more research on.

Yeah, and you'll definitely set yourself up for great success in your next PCS. 

All right. I think it's time that we pivoted now and talked about some financial topics. So this is the Military Money Manual podcast, we do have to talk about money at least once in every episode. It's contractually obligated.

How can we set ourselves up for success and not be in debt when we show up to our new base or host? Any ideas?

[00:29:05] Jamie: Number one is to start saving now as soon as you get notified or you know it's time to PCS over the summer. Spencer, you have an article about your $20,000 PCS to Hawaii, yet most of them probably aren't that expensive, but I definitely recommend start saving $5,000 is probably the minimum for most people's PCS, especially if you have a family, maybe somewhere between five and $10,000, depending on your situation and where you're going. 

So if I have to save $5,000 and I'm PCSing five months from now, I need to figure out a way to save a thousand dollars a month, which could be a huge burden for you, especially if you're already in debt or money's tight.

So start as soon as you can getting ready for that. Or if you know that a PCS is coming up next summer, start saving for that. 

[00:29:47] Spencer: I just had a thought occur to me. Jamie, would you consider a PCS an emergency? Would you dip into an emergency fund to pay for a PCS?

[00:29:57] Jamie: I would not because I know it's coming.

But if I had to, if there was something unexpected that came up, that money is available. But because you know it's coming, you can plan for it. To me, that is no longer an emergency because you know it's coming up and you can plan ahead to cover the expense instead of dipping into your emergency fund.

You know you're going to have things like an initial deposit on your rental house or a deposit on your utility bills. Like all this stuff is coming up and you're going to have to have money set aside. It's not an emergency if you have time to start now to save for it, I think.

[00:30:28] Spencer: Yeah, I think just like Morgan Housel talked about in the psychology of Money save just to save, save for no other reason than just to have cash sitting there.

And I think in the military we have the perfect reason to save and that's, we have to move, on the Air Force officer side, we're moving every two to three years and it shouldn't come as a surprise if you've been in an assignment for two or three years and your commander comes in and says, congratulations, we got you another assignment and you're moving in five to six months.

So I'll take a slightly different stance. You said you wouldn't dip into your emergency fund. I would say I would try not to. Absolutely. I would set aside, if I had to save $5,000 in five months, okay, $1,000 a month, here we go. Let's do it. But if that's going to cause an extreme amount of stress in my situation, and if I already got, let's say I already had, I don't know, a thousand, $2,000 in an emergency fund.

Maybe I save $500 a month, now I have $2,500, and then I can dip into that emergency fund a little bit if I absolutely need to. It's still cash, it's just sitting there. If it's going to alleviate a little bit of stress and if it's going to cause your family to just be a little bit happier when they finish the move if you don't use the money in the end, then what was it all for?

Yeah, in theory, I absolutely agree with you. It's coming up. You should prepare for it. But in, the great thrash of life in the real world and the real world, Jamie. Yeah. For those of us out here in this economy, that's actually a change of opinion.

I would've, I would've said five or 10 years ago, I would've said, no, it's not an emergency. It's coming up. So get ready for it. Then on the backside, you need to replenish that. You need to be replenishing that emergency fund to a level that you are comfortable with.

But I would say, I think it's good maybe every time you finish a PCS you turn around and say, Ooh, that was painful. That costs. The thing with PCS is a lot of times you're going to get the money reimbursed eventually. So like when I talked about my $20,000 PCS, we probably got, I don't know, $18,000, $16,000 of that reimbursed.

And that sounds like an absurd number. But what happens is you start adding up the airfare, the hotels, the TLE, the TLA, we'll talk about those in a minute. The rental cars, before you know it, if you're moving to Hawaii, you might be out of pocket. We were waiting on a reimbursement of almost $16,000.

And so in the end, we only end up spending $4,000, right? But when you have a credit card bill coming up due, it doesn't matter that you're going to get reimbursed. Eventually. You need the cash now, or you're going to have to start paying interest on that credit card debt. So I would say, every situation's unique, but, maybe whenever you PCS and you finally catch your breath on the other side of it, maybe recognize we did not have enough savings to get through that PCS and we had to dip into our emergency fund. We had to put stuff on the credit card and we barely paid it off before we started getting charged interest.

Maybe we just set aside $50 a month, $100 a month, whatever it is, into our PCS fund, and then the next time a PCS comes up, it could even go into your emergency fund and you've just, instead of having a $5,000 emergency fund, it's a $10,000 emergency fund. But you know that in your brain, you've got $5,000 of that earmarked for the next PCS, and then it just makes it a whole lot less stressful when the next one comes.

[00:33:56] Jamie: Yeah I definitely see that. I think even if you're not expecting a PCS and you're still hanging with us, maybe you start now for a PCS that might be three or four years away, just so you're even more prepared. I'll tell you, Spencer, I'd even recommend in some cases, temporarily cutting down or reducing my long-term savings rate.

To prepare for a PCS because this immediate alligator has to be covered. I do not want to show up at a new base, $10,000 or $20,000 in credit card debt because I wasn't prepared. So if you're putting 25% of your paycheck into T S P, that's awesome. But if you don't have savings to cover the immediate need of the PCS, then maybe you reduce it to 10% or maybe 5%.

You gotta do the math in your individual situation to figure that out. But it's another thing to consider. There will be some expenses that are not reimbursed like a rental car. If you're, especially if you're going overseas, parking at the hotel. If you stay downtown and get a Non-A, that's not going to be reimbursed.

Even if the lodging cost is, you might need new clothes cause you're going from beach to snow and you now need cold jackets or you're the other way. You don't need skis anymore. Now you need a bunch of flip-flops and beach toys. So there's just all this stuff that comes with moving and changing houses.

The layout of the furniture needs to change and all that stuff is not reimbursed.

[00:35:11] Spencer: Yeah, I think that's a great way to think about it, Jamie, is you’ve got to hit that closest alligator and if you're on the path of financial independence, I know for me it was whenever I had to dial back on my savings, it hurt.

Cause I was like, oh no, I'm pushing away retirement by six months or 12 months or whatever. But let me tell you something on the other side of FI here. It's okay. If you are the kind of person that knows what a safe withdrawal rate is and has calculated it down to the decimal, you're going to be fine.

In fact, your problem is probably going to be that you over save. In that case, I recommend reading Die With Zero. We haven't, I don't think we've actually had a podcast about that book yet.

[00:35:49] Jamie: Not a whole episode. We've mentioned it a few times for

[00:35:52] Spencer: Sure, I've got three copies here. The next person who mentions the podcast to me will get a free copy of the book, but you have to do it in person. You have to find me first. 

Rent versus buying is always a big topic, Jamie, that comes up when people, PCS, and it can, it really, it's so location dependent. If you're going overseas to Japan or Germany, there's a 99% chance that you're not going to buy when you go over there. But if you're going to Altus, Oklahoma, or to anywhere, somewhere in Colorado, it might make sense based on the place that you're coming into where, okay, rents are $4,000 a month, but I can buy a home for $3,000 a month and maybe it's a place that you want to eventually come back to, or maybe you've decided, you know what? I wouldn't mind being a long-distance landlord in case I get PCS orders. The New York Times actually has a fantastic rent versus buy calculator and you can just put the numbers in there and get a rough idea.

Typically, what I've always seen is like five to seven years is the breakeven point, which especially on the officer side, Air Force officer side, I can't speak for the other branches, but I can speak for the Air Force. You'd be very lucky if you ever ended up anywhere for five to seven years.

Usually, you're getting PCS before that. So go in there and play with the rent vs buy calculator. There are other rent-versus-buy calculators out there. That's just one that I've used a lot in the past but play around with the numbers. I think the biggest thing though is it usually doesn't come down to a financial decision.

It usually comes down to what kind of lifestyle you want and where do you want to live. What kind of commute do you want to drive every morning? Do you want to live on base where you might have a much shorter commute, but they take all of your BAH or you can live off base, but maybe the neighborhood's a little rough, but you save a little bit of money on your BAH.

Spouse employment opportunities. Maybe you've got a wife or a husband who's a nurse and they're going to be working at the hospital and you want to live near the hospital because they're going to be working late at night. Maybe you're younger and nightlife is important to you. You want to be where the action is.

You want to live in downtown Seattle and live in McChord or work at Fort Lewis. Maybe you've got kids and so you’ve got to really consider the school district. So every family is going to be extremely unique in their demands. If you don't have kids, you don't even know what a school district is. You're like, I don't care unless you're buying a house with the intent to rent it out later and you want to rent it out to a family, then you probably should care about what the school district is. Yes, then you should care. But, for young guys or gals who are single or don't, maybe they're newly married and, or maybe they're older, married and they don't have kids, then it's just not something that you need to consider.

I've said a lot on this show, but every family situation is unique. Run the numbers. But at the end of the day, I think it's going to come down to an emotional and lifestyle decision way more than just a strictly financial decision, which is a lot of decisions in life, actually.

[00:38:50] Jamie: One of my favorite ways to think about the buy versus rent decision before we move on, is something that you actually talked about a couple episodes ago, which I'm sure you borrowed from somewhere.

You're pretty smart, but I don't think you made this one up when you rent. Your monthly rent is the most you're ever going to spend on that house in a month. When you buy your monthly mortgage plus your escrow and your homeowner's insurance, that's the least amount you're ever going to spend per month on that house.

So I was talking to some of my students about this week and talking about, buy vs rent, so you gotta look at the math, but just know, just because renting appears to be a hundred dollars more a month doesn't mean that is actually the cheaper route to go.

[00:39:28] Spencer: Yeah, we rented everywhere we moved in the military, except for my first assignment after training.

We ended up buying a condo, living in it for three years, and then selling it when we left and we made a profit. So that's great. Very happy. But it wasn't because we were any good at real estate. I think, honestly, we just got lucky. We bought in 2012, at the bottom of the market and then the market just went up.

So buying a home actually takes some power away from you. Because if you're going to, if you're planning on selling it or you're not ready to be a long-distance landlord, when you move, again, if you stay in the military, then you've basically handed the keys over to Mr. Market, the real estate market, and you're really rolling the dice.

And if end up buying in 2022 and now you're trying to sell in 2023, you might find that the house that you paid a million dollars for is no longer worth a million dollars. That's just not what the market can sustain. So now you've gotta come up with cash, possibly to get out of your house or all of your equity has disappeared.

So in that case then you're like, oh, I guess we're going to be long-distance landlords because we don't want to pay money to get out of this house. If you had just rented then you never took that risk. So that was the calculus that we ran. After we had purchased the condo at first duty station, the rest of our assignments we just rented and we were very happy to rent and we lived in some great places and, yeah.

[00:40:59] Jamie: Yeah, I know I said I had one more point about rent versus buy, but I thought of another one. I'm pretty sure this will be my last I promise. A couple classes ago I had a student, we were talking about personal finance and they shared a story where they had just bought a house in Arizona because they were told they would be at their duty station for five more years.

And then three months after closing, I think it was, she got orders to move and she had just been told that she was going to stay there for five more years. So one of the tough things about the military is we don't have control. Even if you're pretty sure you're going to be at this base for seven years and the buying is more likely to work out, you just never know.

So make the best-informed decision you can, but at the end of the day, you can't control all things in your life when you're in the military.

[00:41:44] Spencer: So Jamie, one thing that people might not be familiar with, if it's their first PCS, or if they haven't PCS in a while, is DLA. What's DLA and how do you plan to use it?

[00:41:52] Jamie: So Dislocation Allowance, DLA, is an amount that's based on your pay grade and whether or not you have dependents. So with dependents or without dependents based on pay grade. So you can find those numbers at travel.dod.mil. I think I just Google searched “2023 DLA numbers”. I've used it several times.

Sometimes you're not eligible, I think like your very first PCS or if you've already gotten one this fiscal year, things like that. The Army updated their policy, for example, in 2019 that says it's clearly authorized even when you have a government travel card at GTC. So everyone, pretty much that PCSs should be eligible for DLA in the majority of cases.

Just a quick rundown of potential numbers. E-4 without dependence gets almost $2,100 for a PCS. An E-6 with dependents is $3,100. O-1E with dependence is $3,200. An O-4 with dependents is almost $4,300. 

So in my case, They're going to pay me $4,300 on top of all my other allowances, pay, and entitlements to PCS just to cover some of those unreimbursed expenses like the rental car, throwing away my mustard and needing to buy new mustard when I get there and not being able to bring my alcohol or, all those things I can't bring with me.

That standing up a new house takes. You can also get those as an advance, usually about 10 days before your projected departure date. It's not a loan. As long as you PCS, you're going to get that. So if you fill out the paperwork and you get it as an advance, usually two or three days later, in my experience, then you have this $4,300 paycheck, in my case that helps cover those last-minute expenses or helps bridge the gap until the reimbursement actually comes in.

And I think for an E-4 without dependence, a $2,100 lump sum payment, that makes a big difference in making sure the PCS is not stressful financially for you.

[00:43:48] Spencer: What kind of mustard, Jamie, since we're on the topic.

[00:43:50] Jamie: I don't even like mustard. I don't, it usually sits in the fridge when we have guests over and then we throw it out when we PCS and we buy it once every three years.

[00:43:58] Spencer: I thought it was going to be something fancy like Gray Poupon or something…

[00:44:02] Jamie: Is that even fancy? I don't even know if that's good mustard.

[00:44:04] Spencer:I don't think it is anymore. I think I'm probably dating myself there. 

Yeah. Jamie, hearing you talk about DLA and mustard, but more about DLA and you can get an advance on your DLA also reminds me that you can get an advance on your actual paycheck.

So there's this program that the military offers where all the branches are eligible for this, but you can get between one to three months of your base pay advanced to you and then you pay it back in 12 equal payments over the next 12 months. So I did this on my first PCS once I was on active duty, so I had my first PCS two active duty, but then after training I went to my first duty station.

And I took it and it was a one-month pay advance. So at that time, it was probably like, gosh, I don't know, $3,000 or something. Then I had to make payments every month thereafter for 12 months and pay it back. I have an article on my website about it. If you go to my website in Google “PCS pay advance”. 

Would I do it again?

Probably not. I'm more an advocate of saving now rather than taking a pay advance. It did sting 11 months later when I was still paying back the advance. It is like an interest-free loan and it is an option, but it does rob from your future self, so your present self might be happy for a little.

But there are 12 months of future selves that are going to look back and say, “You dummy, why did you do this to us? Now I don't have an extra $300 in my paycheck,” so I would advise against it, but I did want to bring up that it is an option, especially if you are just getting started in the military. It can be an option that you might want to consider.

The DLA advance, I think is an even better option though, Jamie, because that's, you don't have to pay that back. That's just money. Yeah, that's yours. So I would probably advise someone to first explore the DLA advance option and then as a last resort, you do have the option to take one to three months of your base pay as a pay advance, but only when you PCS and then you have to pay it back over 12 months.

I would highly recommend not taking the three months' pay. That is a huge cut. That's a 25% cut in your paycheck for the next 12 months. Wow. That's going to sting. Now, some people might be really good with money, right? And they might take that and just set that money aside and not touch it.

Or maybe they'll invest it or max out their Roth IRA or something. That's great if that's the kind of person you are. But I know for most people, they spend what they get in their paycheck and if you're getting a lot less, then you're going to be spending a lot less. Okay. Jamie, another benefit that's often misunderstood is TLE and TLA.

Can you talk about that? 

[00:46:55] Jamie: TLE is Temporary Lodging Expense. It's authorized in the vicinity of the old or new permanent duty station, but it's not authorized for house hunting. It will be in on base or on post lodging government quarters unless a non-availability letter, a non-A is issued to you.

Because lodging on base is full. It's the lower of either the local lodging rate or your actual lodging cost, whichever is lower. The numbers I saw today might be slightly different by branch, but I'm pretty sure these are all the same. TLE reimbursement is limited to 14 days for CONUS to CONUS,for OCONUS PDS departure, that's a seven day TLE.

And then from OCONUS to CONUS is 14 days of TLE. It's also capped at $290 per day, and you also get per diem with it. So meals and incidental expenses. So it's 65% of the local meals in incidental expense amount, plus a prorated amount for additional dependents. So for example, in my case, me and my spouse, that equals a hundred percent of the local per diem rate.

And then each dependent under 12, in my case three is another 25% of the $59 that it is locally here. If you have a dependent over 12, that's 35% of the locality rate. So for example, in Alabama, $98 a night for lodging. $59 for me and my spouse, plus $25 per kid. So that's a total of $103.25 cents a night for meals and incidentals.

That is your money to keep whether you spend it all or not. Then $98 a night for lodging is the max that you'll get. If you spend less than that, then you're only reimbursed. So that's TLE. 

Spencer, do you want to take TLA and contrast that?

[00:48:40] Spencer: Yeah, so TLA is Temporary Lodging Allowance and so this is only for OCONUS PCS.

So you can think of the TLE as you're going to get 14 days, and that's CONUS to CONUS. Again, that's TLE. You can spend that 14 days however you want. So you can do seven days at the losing station, and seven days at the gaining station. You can do all 14 days at the gaining station. It's up to you.

It's whatever makes your life easier. If you need to get out of your house because you know your rent runs to the first of the month and you're not departing until the 14th, then you can use it all on the front half. You might want to be strategic with it though, right? So if you're going from Montana to Washington DC you're probably going to be able to stay in a nicer hotel and have a higher per diem rate if you use it all in Washington, DC.

So just keep an eye on that and be strategic with how you use it if you can. But it is there for you to use. It is an entitlement, so don't neglect it. 

Okay, back to TLA, Temporary Lodging Allowance. So just like you have TLE in Alabama as you described, Jamie, you have TLA in Hawaii. You also have it in Japan, Korea, in Germany, in England, Alaska, and anywhere outside the United States where you have US military service members, you're going to have TLA. You can either be on base or off base if you get a non-A, and the lodging is percentage based. So if it's you and a spouse, you get a hundred percent and then you get to add 35% for a kid who's over 12 or 25% for each kid that's under 12.  In your case, Jamie. That'd be what? 185% for the lodging?

[00:50:22] Jamie: 175%. I have all three are under 12.

[00:50:25] Spencer: Oh yeah, that's right. Then, you'll get the meals and incidentals expense the same. So any kid under 12, 25% for the member and the spouse, it's 100%. So for instance, in Hawaii, lodging is $177.

In Jamie's case, you'd get $260.75 cents. Or if the hotel costs $250, then you're only going to get the $250. Then per diem is $149 in Hawaii. So if it was me and my spouse, we would get $149, but in Jamie's case, he's going to get $309.75 cents per day. Yeah, per day. So that can really add up.

Now what's interesting about TLA is it's not limited to 14 days. I think unless they changed it recently, it's limited to 60 days.

[00:51:17] Jamie: And you can even get it extended in some cases, but you have to prove, usually each base does it differently. Last time we arrived at Hickam, it was every 15 days you had to go and renew and file like a partial voucher and you had to prove that you hadn't found a house and that you were looking in houses and give a reason why they weren't eligible to move in and all that detail.

So you can't just hang out downtown for 60 days. You actually have to be looking for a house up to 60 days of coverage

[00:51:42] Spencer: Yeah. That's crazy. They are, and they're pretty aggressive. I know in Hawaii, they definitely give you the side eye when you say, “Oh, I looked at all these houses and I didn't want to move into them.”

And they say why not? Why didn't you want to move into them? 

So that's temporary lodging allowance versus temporary lodging expense. It can be a little confusing. There are pretty good resources out there if you Google it. I actually have an article on my site about Oahu, which is the main island of Hawaii where most of the military members are, and Google “Oahu TLA” I talk about the different rules and regulations around that.

It is a little service dependent. So the Air Force, Navy, army, Marines, everybody does it differently, but all of these documents are DOD regs, so it should be pretty standardized. It's just how they're actually implemented might be a little bit different. But TLA can actually be a big money maker if you're not going to the Cheesecake Factory every night.

Maybe not. I don't know. Jamie, could you spend $309 at the Cheesecake Factory? 

[00:52:43] Jamie: Probably, yeah. In Oahu for sure. 

[00:52:45] Spencer: Then $177 on lodging for just the service member and a spouse. My wife and I used our TLA benefit when we left Hawaii a couple years ago, and the room that we were staying in was the size of a closet.

It was pretty crazy. My wife loved it. I needed a little bit more space. But yeah, TLA, it's a great benefit. 

Oh, let me mention one more thing. There are different rules. At least in Hawaii, and this might be true in other places, whether or not you have a kitchen depends on how much they're going to pay you per diem.

And you can, when you talk to your sponsor, this is a great question to ask them and say, Hey, what are the latest rules on TLA? And you can also be strategic. If you want to stay on base, make sure you call ahead of time, because, especially in Oahu, a lot of the military lodging fills up really fast.

Or you could also be strategic if you want to stay off base and wait until the last minute to give him a phone call. Up to you, choose your own adventure. 

[00:53:47] Jamie: So Spencer, the last question I have is, we haven't talked much about credit cards yet. Are there any strategies for maximizing our credit card benefits around PCS time?

[00:53:57] Spencer: I thought we were going to get through the whole episode without mentioning credit cards once, but no, here we go. 

[00:54:02] Jamie: It’s in our contract. Remember? We have to do it. 

[00:54:03] Spencer: Oh, that's right. We do have that contract. Yes, so a great time to get a welcome bonus or maybe even two with a new credit card with a waived annual fee might be a PCS. 

I know for myself personally, when we came out to Hawaii, I opened up two cards and I was able to meet the minimum spend on both of them during the PCS and in fact, like just our airfare alone. I mean, we spent over $4,000 on airfare and that was a welcome bonus right there. Then the other advantage to opening up annual fee-waived cards.

And if you don't know what we're talking about, the annual fee-waived cards, go check out militarymoneymanual.com/umc3. It's the ultimate military credit card course. It's five days, it's a hundred percent free. I don't spam, you just unsubscribe at any time if you're not finding it valuable. But I just walk you through how to get annual fee-waived cards with the Military Lending Act and you can open up, let's say the Hilton Honors Aspire card from American Express and you get automatic Hilton Diamond status.

Now, let's say you're PCSing to Hawaii and they don't have room on base, so you're going to go stay in the Hilton Hawaiian Village or you're going to go stay at the Embassy Suites. If you're diamond status, oh my gosh, like you might get a room upgrade and all of a sudden instead of staying in the closet like I had to do when I PCSd out of here, you might have a much nicer, much bigger room.

You might get free breakfast. You might, there are all these benefits that you can get for having, holding a credit card and you're not paying an annual fee and you have all this natural spending that you're about to do. Rental cars, hotels, airfare, a lot of that stuff doesn't need to go in your GTC, except if you get circuitous travel approved, then you can get a little note on your orders that says Trans-Oceanic travel can be personally procured. 

Again, that's getting the nitty gritty. Go listen to our episode about it or go read the blog post I did about it.

But yeah, PCS is a great time. Open up a credit card if that's the kind of lifestyle that you want. There's a lot of natural spending to be had during a PCS and so why not put it on a credit card that you're going to earn a welcome bonus? I know for me, I ran a pretty lean lifestyle, for the first couple of years I was in the military because we were paying off student loan debt and we didn't make that much money.

So it was actually challenging sometimes to meet the minimum spend on some of these credit cards. I think at the time, I think the American Express Platinum Card was $6,000 in maybe three months or four months. Like it wasn't that very long, and I didn't have enough natural spending, from groceries and gas and whatever to meet that minimum spend.

But guess what? When a PCS came up, oh my gosh, all of a sudden you have all these expenses, which are going to be reimbursed, but just put them on your credit card and then you can meet the minimum spend, and then you can earn the welcome bonus and you don't have to worry about spending more than you would have.

Yeah, Jamie, great point. I do think that a PCS is a great time to open up a new credit card. 

Okay, so to recap, today, we covered the top PCS tips from Spencer and Jamie to set yourself up for your next move. Remember, stay organized, and do your research on your entitlements and allowances. Go find the source documents.

You don't have to listen to what Airman, Snuffy in Finance tells you. They don't know what they're talking about, sorry. Sometimes they do, but most of the time they don't. Then start saving. Now. I think that's the biggest thing, Jamie, is even if you don't have a PCS coming up if you're listening to this over-hour-long podcast, just start setting aside 50 bucks, a 100 bucks a month into an account that's called PCS Stress Release, or PCS Stress Removal.

And in a couple of years, when you get those PCS orders, you'll look at that account. You'll think, ah, $1,200 or $2,000. It's so nice to just have cash ready to go, ready to deploy, and to just make your life easier. What's even nicer is when you get that reimbursement, all of a sudden you've got this big payment in your account.

Maybe you can max out a Roth IRA. Maybe you can pay off some debt, or maybe you can put money toward that vacation you've been saving for. Maybe you can get your kids into some new clothes for the school year. I think that's one thing that I do like about PCS is that when you do get reimbursed, you get this big chunk of change.

And I love it when you get handed this big chunk of change and you get to decide what you get to do with it. It's not just like a couple of dollars here, a couple of dollars there from your paycheck. No, it's like a $5,000 or $10,000 payment into your account, which is possible with DLA, TLA, all these entitlements and benefits, it can really add up quickly.

So if you found this episode valuable, the easiest way you can say thank you is by leaving us a five-star review on Spotify, Apple, or wherever you listen. As of this recording, we have 60 apple reviews with 4.9 stars and 138, all five-star reviews on Spotify. Thank you to all of our Apple and Spotify listeners.

And if you're on Spotify, we worked it out today, it's three clicks. You just click the little star thing, you hit five stars, you hit submit, boom. You get to leave us another review and we appreciate it. It's awesome. 77,000 downloads so far, Jamie, as of this recording, so yeah, it's awesome.

We're going to hit 100,000 soon. That's pretty awesome. We had this recent review on Apple from the username Military Penny Pincher, “If you're in the military and you like money, how can you not love this podcast? They have helped me save so much money since I started following their tips and tricks. They are the best for military travel hacks as well.” 

Wow. Thank you. That's great. If you have any questions or feedback, message us. Instagram, @MilitaryMoneyManual. Or email at podcast@militarymoneymail.com. We'll catch you in the next episode. Thanks so much for tuning in to this episode of the Military Money Manual Podcast.

If you are enjoying the show, please feel free to rate, subscribe, and leave a review wherever you listen to your podcasts. This helps others find the show and we really appreciate it. Thanks again for tuning in and we'll catch you in the next episode.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.