Budgeting for Your Military Move

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Moving in the military appears to be an easy task. Here is how it works: permanent change of station orders are received to move. The movers pack you up, relocate you and unpack. All that there is left for you to do is set up your new home and enjoy. As nice as that sounds, moving is stressful and you are still responsible for ensuring that your move is smooth. The military provides several in-house services to soldiers to help them transition from one base to the next. The are options available to you outside of just the military moving your items. Knowing how each option affects you financial can help determine which is best for you. The moving clock begins once orders are received, so knowing which option works will help make the transition smooth.

Relocation Office

The first step in budgeting your military move is to contact the relocation office. The relocation office is setup to help you connect with all the necessary resources to ensure that the move is smooth. The relocation office will tell you what your allowances are, the out-processing procedures, provide a contact at the new installation and help plan your move down to the day. Allowances are items in which the government will provide monies towards. Items such as housing allowances, temporary lodging, meals, and government housing available are covered under allowances. Allowances are not guaranteed. To determine eligibility, you must contact the housing office. The relocation office should be the main resource used to determine which moving option is most beneficial and cost-effective for you.

Moving Guidelines

It may be easy to assume that everything you own is covered in a military move. However, the military has guidelines in regards to what can be moved by them. Some items not eligible for the move and must be moved at your own expense are animals, boats, vehicles that are not for personal use (boats, recreational vehicles, four-wheelers), live ammunition, and items acquired after the date of the permanent change of station orders. There is also a weight requirement for all items being moved by the government. The housing office can also inform you if pets can be transported to the new installation and what guidelines affect them. If unsure where items fall into the movable category, contact the housing office.


As a member of the armed services, you are offered the option to move yourself. These moves are called Personally Procured Moves (PPM). Personally procured moves entitle you to coordinate your own move from packing to transporting. Should you opt to move yourself, you are entitled to a 95% incentive payment. The incentive payment is determined based off of what the military estimates your move will cost. In addition, you can request an advance allowance to offset an out-of-pocket costs, such as rental equipment. Keep an itemized list of expenditures if you are requesting reimbursement for lodging and food during the transition. If you want to move yourself, you must request pre-approval because if you do not, you may not be reimbursed.