SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --
Leaving the dorms is an inevitable event, and can cause anxiety and confusion for the Airmen forced to pack their bags and abandon the bittersweet perks of rent-free housing.
Fortunately, the Airman and Family Readiness Center has “Moving Out” classes designed to guide Airmen-many of whom have never lived on their own before-to succeed outside the familiarity of dorm life.
The first, and perhaps most important step, is to achieve financial stability well before venturing out to find a new home.
“As Airmen you are going to move out of the dorms,” said Liz Archuleta, Schriever community readiness consultant. “It might be six months, it might be a year, it might be two years, but you are going to move out of the dorms, so you should put money away in a savings account to prepare for that day.”
The class serves as a crucial preliminary step to prepare any Airman, regardless of how close they are to moving out, for the eventual transition.
“Most Airman are used to living paycheck to paycheck, so when they find themselves outside of the dorms and they see their basic housing income they find themselves in a new financial situation,” said Archuleta. “The more financially aware you are and of the circumstances you are going to face, the more prepared you are to deal with them.”
Archuleta, the class instructor, recommends Airmen deal with the major financial transition with a gradual approach. Airmen moving out can avoid making the same mistakes others have made by not relying on Basic Allowance for Housing as a crutch and thinking twice about spending loosely.
“Don’t try to fill up an apartment full of furniture, instead buy one piece at a time,” said Archuleta. “You don’t want to end up in debt right away. Pay a lot of the startup costs up front and know that it takes a couple months for BAH to start.”
Before stepping foot in their new home, Airmen can expect to make numerous initial payments.
“You still have your first month’s rent, security deposits and other costs to get you out of your dorms,” said Archuleta.
Airman unaware of the monetary demands of living outside of dorms could involuntarily place themselves in a financially unstable situation.
“Often, Airmen who move off base are unaware of the additional expenses they must pay. Having a solid picture of one's financial budget ensures they can resolve challenges they may face easier,” said Christina Fornander, the personal finance lead for the Peterson Air Force Base AFRC. “A smart way to utilize BAH is to find a place that will allow BAH to cover the rent/mortgage and utilities.”
According to the official Air Force website’s housing page, Airmen can expect to receive a notice 40 days prior to departing the dorms.
As with many things, anxiety and uncertainty about moving out of the dorms can be lessened by the support of fellow Airmen. It helps to coordinate sharing a living space with someone you know, or just talk to the wealth of Airmen who have gone through the same process about their experiences.
“I would suggest moving in with a roommate and sharing an apartment with someone because it’s less expensive and you’d have someone you know who can help you in times of stress,” said Archuleta.
Whatever the challenge, the “Moving Out” classes at the Airman and Family Readiness Center are there as a guiding resource for Airmen questioning what things will be like once they leave dorm life behind.
“Moving Out” classes are scheduled for the first Wednesday of every month. For more information call the AFRC at 567-3920.