Got Your PCS Orders? How to Decide If You Should DITY

If you're in the military, you may have to be ready to go at any time. And maybe you've moved enough times by know that you have it down to a science. If you're new at this, you should start by asking yourself if you'll go through the Transportation Office or try to do it yourself to make some extra cash.

The "Personally Procured Move," also known as a PPM or DITY, can help you make some cash. If you can move yourself for less than 95 percent of what it would cost the government to move you, you get to keep the difference. 

When is PPM an option?

These are the times when you're eligible for a PPM:

  • When you get PCS (Permanent Change of Station) orders
  • When you make a move for TDY (Temporary Duty) or TAD (Temporary Additional Duty)
  • Any time you move, whether it's a change of duty station, separation, or retirement, as long as you have orders to move to or from government quarters. 

How can you save money on a move?

Before you decide how to move, check out this list of money-saving moving tips and see if any of them are right for you:

  • Do some research in your area to find out if any moving companies are running specials. Just make sure the company you choose is a reputable one.
  • Enlist friends to help you organize your belongings. Even if you have to hire a moving company, you'll save by packing and organizing yourself. Bonus: it's easier to unpack on the other end if you know what's in each box.
  • You may not be able to determine what time of year you move, but did you know certain times of day and certain days of the week are often less expensive?
  • Know your benefits. There are a number of ways you can save when making a move under orders.
  • If you're moving a long way, even outside the continental US (OCONUS), consider selling a lot of your belongings before you, even if you are letting the transportation office do your move. And if you donate them to a non-profit, get a receipt so you can take the deduction on your taxes.
  • Don't pay for boxes. Look on Craigslist, ask friends who've moved recently, or put a request on Facebook. Someone somewhere has some boxes they're looking to unload.
  • Look into shipping some of your heavier items, like books, to save yourself some time. Take advantage of special pricing like media mail.
  • If you pay a mover to help, get several estimates and make sure you're getting the best deal.
  • Don't skimp on things like insurance. After all, if your things don't get moved in one piece, you won't want to have to shell out for new stuff.

PPM might seem like an unnecessary hassle, and you may be tempted to move as easily and as quickly as possible. But almost everyone can appreciate some extra cash after a move, so consider your options before you go. It might be easier than you think! 

Still have questions? Get the facts about VA loans.