Army Community Service - Financial Readiness
US Army Garrison Brussels
Unit 8100, Box 08
APO, AE 09714-9998
Phone (DSN) 314-366-6804
Fax (DSN) 314-366-6896
Plan a PCS Budget
It is recommended that service members have at least $6,000 available for expenses associated with moving to Belgium. After moving in to your new quarters, service members will get an additional payment called MIHA (Moving-In Housing Allowance). Check with your housing office for the exact amount. But, even this amount is not always enough to cover the unique costs associated with Belgium. Service members are allowed to take one month's advance of their pay prior to leaving their post and then 2-months advance upon arrival at a new post. If you use this option, be very cautious. You will have to repay the entire amount during your first year here in Belgium, which is the most costly year since most settling-in costs are incurred then. Before you leave your current duty station, talk to a financial counselor at Army Community Service/Airmen & Family Readiness Center/Fleet & Family Support Center/Marine Corps Community Service for assistance with creating a projected budget based on your income and expenses here in Belgium.
Like other countries in Europe, consumer prices in Belgium are quite different from the U.S., with most items being more expensive. Brussels, as the capital of Europe is not cheap. You'll want to know exactly what your entitlements (allowances for rent and utilities, cost of living allowance) are, what your expenses in euros costs you in dollars, and make sure you have an effective plan for managing your money. Because the costs for utilities (electricity, gas, water, etc.) are billed differently than in the U.S. (meters are only read annually rather than monthly), it is essential that you set aside money for the annual ‘reconciliation' billings, which can total $2,500 or more (the U.S. Housing Office will tell you ways to minimize these billings).
ACS Financial Readiness Program
As the only military support entity in Belgium, Army Community Service (ACS) provides support to members of all branches and their families - including DoD civilians. The Financial Readiness Program offers a wide range of services to assist service members and their families with all aspects of their finances. Emphasis is placed on increasing the financial knowledge and skills of service members and their spouses regarding money management (setting and reaching financial goals), proper use of credit, saving and investing, home buying, car buying, insurance, etc. Counseling for couples and individuals is also available for all those topics, plus debt liquidation and credit repair. Come by ACS for more information and to schedule an appointment. DSN 314-368.9783; CIV 0032-2717-9783.
Upon arriving in Brussels, some Families may experience financial troubles due to lack of planning, depletion of emergency reserves, and loss of a second income. Please contact the financial counselor at your local ACS prior to your move overseas. Please note that, when leasing a home/apartment, landlords in Belgium request three month's rental deposit. Contact the USAG Benelux-Brussels Housing Office regarding rental deposit options at DSN 314-368.9778/9734; CIV 0032-2717-9778/9734.
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