PCS Costs Your Dislocation Allowance Might Not Cover

unexpected PCS costs

So, you know you’re going to get a dislocation allowance the next time you PCS. But what happens when that doesn’t cover all of the costs entailed in moving? Are you prepared to cover the extras?

We’ve done the math, and moving (even when the military is paying the movers) can cost you between $500 and $3800 if you encounter the unexpected expenses below. Although your allowance will cover the low end of that range, it’s better to look ahead and be prepared for the more expensive end, if need be. Saving just a few dollars each day during the months leading up to your move can make all the difference in the world.

Higher Security Deposits

security deposits during PCS

If you know where you’re headed, be sure to look into the customary move-in costs for that area, especially if you want to live off base/post. Some areas have significantly higher costs. For example, in South Florida, it is common to pay three months worth of rent in some combination of deposits and rental costs. In South Korea, “key money” can range up to thousands of dollars!

Animal Transport or Boarding

Pet transport during PCS

Do you have pets? Even if you’re just moving across the country, you’ll need a health certificate and may have to pay pet fees at hotels. If you’re moving off of the North American continent, costs can sky rocket! You may also need to look into typical pet deposit amounts in the area you’re headed to.

Eating Out

Eating out during PCS

Let’s face it, you’re going to eat out more frequently while dealing with the stress of moving and you don’t have access to a kitchen. Having some money set aside to alleviate the strain may make it easier to afford healthier options.


Restocking after a PCS

There’s always something isn’t there? The random things you need in order to move out, strap things to your car, or move in to a place. Just go ahead and assume you need a “miscellaneous” category in your budget.

New House Stuffinterior decor ideas for military spouses


When was the last time you moved into a new house and all of your stuff fit just perfectly? If you have an answer other than “NEVER!” you’re doing better than us. There’s always a need for more command hooks, and (whether you take our next bit of advice or not) you’ll have to restock cleaning supplies and pantry basics upon arrival.

Cleaning Services

Cleaning services

Okay, okay, so cleaning services aren’t an essential cost, but wouldn’t it be so nice to “treat yo’ self” every now and then? Isn’t a PCS stressful enough without adding the midnight bathtub scrub to your list? Save just a few bucks a week leading up to your move to save yourself a mountain of stress!


What unexpected moving costs have you had to cover? Comment below to help others prepare!