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Penny Pinching PCS


how to save money moving across the countryMoving across the world or country can be very expensive. If you choose to be reimbursed, the costs of temporary lodging, eating out, driving around and deposits add up quickly. Yet there are ways to save money, and these little tips will keep more change in your pocket than you realize.

1. BYOF (Bring your own food). This can be a pain and it takes planning, but the money saved (especially if you have a larger family) is worth the effort.

  • Temporary Lodging. Begin your temporary lodging with a trip to the grocery store. Buy some disposable utensils, plates and cups, water or whatever your families choice of drink, and napkins. You are now prepared for any meal that you want to make and won’t have to make trips to the overpriced vending machines.
    • The next step is buying easy breakfast items if your hotel or TLF (temporary lodging facility) doesn’t provide breakfast. This can be cereal, granola bars, oatmeal or fruit. Purchase what you will eat and what your refrigerator in the room will store.
    • For lunch, I enjoy sandwiches so I will have cold cuts, PB and jelly, and cheese with family packs of chips. It is easy to just pick up an $8 fast food combo, but eating that for lunch for one week costs you $56. A loaf of bread and jiffy costs less than $6 and will last for a few days.
    • Dinner is tricky and making food depends on where you stay. If your temporary lodging has a stove, then pastas, soups, and those handy skillet meals will be a breeze to cook. If you only have a microwave, look for TV dinners. The taste might not be as good but some are healthy, and the cost much less than dining out. The last time I had a TV dinner was the last time I was in TLF. I had SmartOnes, and Healthy Choices for three weeks straight! Again $3-4 vs $8-15 at restaurants.
  • On the Road. Instead of purchasing overpriced food and drinks at a gas station, you will have all of your hunger needs taken care of. Pack a cooler with drinks and a cooler with sandwiches, wraps, or ready made food. Keep a bag with snacks in the car as well. Yogurt in a cooler with some grapes and orange juice can be an easy quick breakfast that doesn’t require you to pull over! If you do run out of food, stop at a Walmart or grocery store to restock instead of gas stations. It might take a few more minutes but it will be significantly cheaper.
  • In the Air. Check TSA first to see what can be brought on board food wise, and then pack snacks accordingly. It’s common knowledge how expensive airport and airline food is. To avoid paying a ridiculous amount for beverages, bring empty drink containers in your carry on and fill up at a water fountain when you get past security. Never pay for water! Bring your own bottle! Also, keep your snacks in plastic containers. This will keep you sandwiches from being smushed, and your chips from being crushed. You also won’t have to worry about rips, or tears in the plastic bag getting crumbs in your bag or worse. These containers will be a little bulky on your carryon, but pack accordingly or designate a food bag.

2. Look ahead. When it comes to filling up your tank, you will see a dramatic price difference between gas stations depending on where you are. Before you start driving check to see what gas prices are in the areas you will pass through. MSN Autos has a great page that will show you all of the gas stations, and prices. That way you don’t fill up when there is another place at the next exit for 5 cents cheaper. Also, stations like Walmart offer a few cents off if you use a special card, so you may want to look into that as well!

3. Get Rewards. The internet is a great tool for booking hotels. Instead of driving until you are exhausted and the only place available is a rundown roach motel, book a place in advance. If you aren’t in a rush, why not plan your stops? You can find really good deals online and coupon codes! Also, look in to what the hotels offer. By staying at Drury you can enjoy breakfast and dinner on them! So spend time looking at the different places and prices!

Don’t let your three weeks in housing limbo, burn a hole in your wallet. Be smart about your purchases and enjoy the money you have saved! ~ Kristina


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