In the Military. Planning a Move to First Apartment.

We are welcoming a new guest blogger, Drea, who is planning the move to her first apartment while facing a military deployment.   She’ll  write about the unique apartment challenges facing her as a member of the military, such as picking furniture that must be ready for frequent moves.  She’ll also cover budgeting, moving in with a partner, and her journey through the whole first apartment experience.


As someone who serves in the world’s best Air Force, I don’t have nearly enough time on my hands to really sit down, process my thoughts, try to get them jotted on paper, and then execute “the plan”.  It especially becomes difficult when the dreaded “D” word comes around for us service members… deployment.

 I am being deployed in late August.  When I return in late November – right in the midst of the holiday season – my beau, Vincent, and I intend on making the big move!  Both, literally and figuratively.  That being said, it has been a challenge and beyond attempting to organize and smoothly plan a golden moving experience so far in advance.  There are a few things I look into intensely as I prepare for an extremely crazy move during an extremely busy time of the year:

1.  Location.  I am based at March AFB in Riverside, CA.  Honestly, I don’t exactly care to live out in Riverside;  it’s not close to my family (I’m a family guy girl), my schooling – when on campus – is in Los Angeles, and when not on base, I work in Santa Clarita.  So what does this mean for me, exactly?  Typically, the first step for most military members is to look into military housing.  Military housing is great because it’s  family-friendly, provides local access to your base as well as the base commissary and base exchange, and because most military housing quarters are universal amongst the different branches.

This is an awesome advantage for servicemen and servicewomen, especially if you have families.  But what if you’re like me, and all you’d really like to settle down in is a cozy cottage-like apartment?  In that case, military housing is probably not going to be for you.  For Vincent and me, looking into a safe area is a main priority in our apartment search.  We headed over to and looked up the safety rating for various areas throughout Southern California.  Vincent isn’t as picky on location as I am, so my top choices are Burbank, La Mirada, and Santa Clarita, since they are most central to our families, work, and school.

2.  Budget.  Since Vincent and I have a joint bank account that we keep our savings in, it’s a whole lot easier to determine budgets and how much we can afford for rent.  Because there are several months we need to tackle before I return from my deployment, that means there are several months that we are able to take advantage to save for essentials such as, well, the apartment, as well as furniture.

I have fun budgeting.  Vincent and I use what we call the 75/25 rule.  From every paycheck we receive, we automatically take out the appropriate amounts for bills (gas, current rent, etc.).  Whatever is left, we take 75% of it and instantly put it into our savings funds.  The remaining 25% we use for play money.  It’s insane how much our savings account has exploded since we’ve done this.

3.  Job Relocation?  Vincent currently works in Orange County.  If we make the move to, say, Burbank, he would more than likely have to transfer or find a job closer to home.  Luckily, where Vincent works, he has more than plenty of options when it comes to work location.  My civilian job, however, isn’t as bountiful.  It’s something to take into heavy consideration, especially if you plan on making a long distance move.

4.  When to Start Looking.  This can be a toughy for military members.  As I said earlier, I intend on moving upon my return from my deployment.  How can I possibly call a place home without even taking a walk-through?  Luckily, Vincent knows what I do and don’t like, but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t prefer something else.  He and I have begun basic searching, but we know it’s almost a moot point, considering that most likely none of the places we see now will be available in November, but it definitely gives us some insight as to what certain areas are charging.

My plan of attack?  See what’s available to me online, and create viewing appoints for when I return.  My room currently doesn’t contain much, and most of it will be packed for my deployment anyhow, so I will be set for a winter move and a holiday housewarming party!

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Author My First Apartment

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Greetings, fellow apartment hunters! My name is Dréa. I am currently serving in the U.S. Air Force and am also a court reporter, astronomy enthusiast, and amateur knitter. Preparing for deployment in August, my hunt for my dream home won't stop there. I've saved, my credit score is outstanding, and my wish list is made... what've I got to lose? Journey with me as I set out to seek my first apartment!

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Comments (4)

  1. Avatar Dréa

    Justin – Thank you very much! Your kind words are much appreciated!

    Megan – Budgeting is extremely crucial for *anything*! As you said, you have two young ones in the mix, which add not only pressure, but financial stress as well. Since your husband is in the Army, contact your local base’s Family Readiness Center. They have heaps of resources that may benefit you in the meantime as well as in the long run. They can also point you in the right direction for getting any financial guidance! Good luck to you and your family, and thank your husband for me for serving! :)

    zimmerman chase – It is an understatement to say it’s challenging to: budget, serve, provide for our families, plan a move, etc. when you are in the service. I, for one, have been gone on orders sporadically since contributing to this website, hence my sparse posts. Being away from home makes anything and everything so much more difficult to manage.

  2. Avatar zimmerman chase

    Of course it is a nice post, for military person it is needed to proper plan and allotment for family. As per their job responsibility and shortage of time they have to make plan and program for apartment is essential.

  3. Avatar Megan

    My husband is in the Army. Neither of us have ever had our own place. he just got his first orders as to where were being stationed. Were kinda tsrying to figure a budget out but its hard because neither of us has lived on our own before. we got pregnant in HS and the summer after we graduated got married, then less than 6mo later welcomed our beautiful son into the world. and i guess someone had more plans cus our BC didnt work and OOPS november we had our second. so were not just starting out with just him and i we have two babies in the mix!!! luckly were getting enough money from the DLA and other move money to get and furnish an apartment with NEW furniture!