The PCSing Spouse

Where Spouses Help Spouses

Month: April 2018

PCSing Checklist

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It can be intimidating when you find out you’re being stationed somewhere new. Even more so, for those of us who have kids. Because of this, I decided to create a checklist of all the things to do when arriving at a new duty station.

 

  1. Housing. Are you planning to live on post or off? If you’re planning to live on, call the housing office immediately when you get orders. Some places will let you sit on the waiting list before you actually arrive. If living off post, decide if you want to rent or buy. If you need help deciding, see my other post on the pros and cons of buying. If you are planning to buy, it’s best to set up your loan prequalificaton and paper work before you leave your current location. This way all of your documents can already be in and you don’t have to worry about it as much in transit. Also, contact a realtor and let them know you’re coming so they can start getting listings together.
  2. Transportation. You won’t be able to make any other plans until you set up your transportation. Are you going to drive? Are you OCONUS and require shipping a vehicle? Do you need a flight? If you are shipping a car make sure you don’t have any recalls on it immediately. Also, consider how you plan to transport your pets and what the out of pocket expense will be to you, if any.
  3. Movers! In some areas, the moving companies need as much notice as possible. We had a friend wait until the last minute and we ended up having to meet his movers for him after he had already reported to the next post.
  4. Finance. Visit finance and make sure you understand how your lodging assistance is processed. (TLA or TLE for Army) Do you need a government travel card? Do you know the rules of how to use it?
  5. Kids. If you have young kids call the Childcare Centers ASAP. If there is a waitlist, many places will let you go ahead and get on it before arriving.
  6. Job. If you’re a working spouse, look into the job market in the area. Update your LinkedIn to that location and make it searchable. This way the jobs may find you before you even apply.
  7. Network with other wives! Get on the Facebook pages for the area and start asking questions. Ask about good areas to live. What’s fun to do? School? In general, wives love to help other wives.

 

Comment on the Post with your Pro-Tips!

If you need help getting prequalified for a home loan, I can help! Just contact me on here or through my work website. https://www.thefederalsavingsbank.com/bankers/christina-baker

Minimalism with Kids

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Having a second kid has really highlighted the fact that I have too much kid stuff (and stuff in general). I find myself constantly picking up a rotation of 700 Shopkins off my floor so that I don’t step on one and die. I needed a change and decided to jump on the minimalist home bandwagon. Now, I would love to go all in and turn my house into some sparse super clean dream home but that’s not realistic with a toddler so I had to tweak the plan and compromise in some areas.

 

First, I decided to tackle the kids clothes. I seriously had 8 tubs of stores baby clothes from Aubrey’s last 3 years which is insane, I know. I had my husband get out all 8 and dumped them all in the living room so I would be forced to do it all at once. Then I went through it one by one and if it was from Walmart or some other replaceable store I put it in the donate bag. Then I went through what was left and asked myself if I loved it (Marie Kondo style). If I didn’t, it also went for donation. I gave myself 1 tub and had to relegate the rest to fit into it. It was difficult to take the “but she wore this when” emotions out of it but it helped to have my husband there to remind me that’s why we took pictures. The feeling after getting everything down to 1 tub was pure joy and relief and it encouraged me to keep going.

 

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Second, the toys. My biggest problem with the toys was the mindset that I paid for these and maybe I will have more kids blah blah blah. I justified this by telling myself that my next kid will want his own toys and it sucks to get nothing but hand me downs. I used the same principle with the toys as with the clothes. If it’s cheap and replaceable it goes unless she currently plays with it a lot. Missing parts? Broken? Been in the bottom of the toy box forever? Gone! I also relegated myself to the toy box. What’s left has to fit. I can’t expect her to clean up her stuff if there is too much to fit in the toy box.

 

These two steps have really helped me pair down my clutter. This means I have less to clean up and more time to play. Don’t get me wrong, it is a constant battle because we are constantly buying new toys and have to remind ourselves that if something comes in, something else must go out. It is, however, worth it to to feel like you are controlling the stuff and it’s not controlling you. My home is officially a much happier place and I wont be hauling all of the junk around as we PCS.

Using Your VA Loan

 

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The VA loan is an awesome tool available to military members. But, buying a home is a scary and confusing process for a lot of us.  What follows  is a quick rundown what the VA loan is and how you can use it.

Lifetime Access

You can use it more than once! Although, you do get the best deal the first time you use it.

0% Down

Traditional loans typically require a buyer to provide at least 3 to 5 percent of the homes
price as a down payment. For many first-time home buyers, supplying this amount of money upfront may not be feasible. The VA Loan does not require a down payment. Another big plus is that there is no mortgage insurance required.
Refinancing
VA Allows up to 100% cash-out refinancing for currently owned homes.
VA Streamline Refinance

Veterans with current VA mortgage can refinance to a lower rate without appraisal or employment verification.
First Time Buyers
The best financing available for first-time home buyers.

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Buying vs. Renting

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When it comes to buying vs. renting the choice can be hard. It really depends on your personal finances and what your goals are. Here are some quick pros and cons to consider.

Renting/On post Pros

  • No paying for your own maintenance
  • Free yard care on post
  • No monetary commitment when you PCS aside from deposits.

Renting Cons

  • Rental payments may increase when you renew lease
  • Landlord approval needed for any
    changes
  • No capitalization; your money
    disappears forever
  •  Rental is temporary

Buying Pros

  • Excellent tax deductions for your mortgage on interest paid
  • Mortgage payments could be fixed Decorate and make changes, without
    prior approval
  • The value of your property may increase
    over time
  • Your house will become a home, not a
    temporary living situation; you are not at
    the mercy of a landlord
  • Rental income when you PCS

Buying Cons

  • May not sell immediately when you PCS
  • Having renters can be good or bad
  • All maintenance is on you

Talk to your family about which pros are most important to you!

*All opinions on this site are our own and do not constitute legal advice.

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The Journey Begins

Welcome!

This site was created by two seasoned military spouses trying to make the Spouse Life less confusing. It has evolved into a huge network of spouses willing to provide their knowledge and support to help each other. If you’ve got a problem, we’ve got the answer. If you’ve got answers, please consider joining the ranks and contributing!

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