It has been awhile since I made a post detailing where our money went for that month. No better time to start than January!
We are currently in the middle of trying to get settled in Italy. PCSing can sure be an inconvenience on military families; especially PCSing overseas. We have to live in a hotel immediately upon arrival; therefore you don’t have any of your stuff. You have to wait for a car to arrive if you were able to ship one. If you didn’t ship one, you have to somehow get around to shop for and buy one. We were lucky because we each were authorized to ship one vehicle, so we didn’t have to buy one here. However, we were stuck with only one vehicle for about 45 days which is tough when we both work.
In order to have a working cell phone overseas, we needed to ensure our phones were unlocked. We had to buy a new sim card for Italy. We had to buy snow tires because they are mandatory. Additionally, while staying in a hotel, you find yourself eating out more often than not. It is hard to get into a routine when you don’t have your stuff or a house to live in. We are now living in a third temporary place while we wait for our house to be finished. All of these things have to be paid for by us. However, the military does reimburse for almost all of this stuff and if you spend your money right you can make a buck or two. We may be without our household goods but I love PCSing because it is an opportune time to make some extra cash to throw at that debt!
Lets take a look at where our money went in January.
Honestly, I am quite surprised my total money spent ended up as close as it did to the actual income. We obviously aren’t going to be able to use American dollars for all purchases here. It gets a little tricky trying to remember how many euros you spent on something then trying to convert that to dollars for every single purchase. I am going to try and be as accurate as possible, but no promises for perfection every month.
Income: We brought in just over $13,000 dollars in January. No this is not going to be our average income… I wish! But this is what I am talking about when I say the military reimburses us. I am going to break down the income.
- College Loan Repayment Program (this money went straight to my student loan account)-$2500
- House Refund (they charged us for rent in December when we didn’t live there, so we were reimbursed) – $1495
- Money leftover from December : $643
- My normal income: $2686.44
- Cory’s normal income: $2625.88
- PCS money (this includes reimbursement for hotels while we were moving, per diem, airplane tickets, and dislocation allowance) : $2981.12
- Dislocation allowance: This is an allowance given when the military requires you to move. Only one military member receives it and it was about $1600.
These first couple months here will be a little bit of trial and error. I still don’t fully understand how the pay as you go plans work for the phones. We seem to be paying more than average. We will slowly get it straightened out. We are also paying for extra data as we don’t have very good wifi in the temporary places. I am not sure what will be a necessary amount for groceries yet either. We spent under budget, but we also ate out more than we normally would back in the states.
I plan on breaking down gas expenses in another post in addition to how I am budgeting for travel.
As you can see we got reimbursed $2981.12 for expenses while PCSing, but some of this money had to go to pay off those expenses. Cory had charged the plane tickets and hotels on his Government Travel Card (GTC) and I had a couple hotels on mine. So we had to pay off those cards, but we also banked some extra on money. A lot of our stuff was screwed up on our pay though so we should be receiving even more money in February to offset some of the costs.
I primarily wanted to give a rundown of our income in this post to kind of show you how you can make money off of a PCS. Some really find PCSIi huge inconvenience and expensive but we look at is as an opportunity. Our budget is still a work in progress while we adjust to some European costs. I plan to go into detail on some of the differences in a later post!
Please don’t hesitate to ask questions about our budget!
Have a great week 🙂