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Department of the Air Force
Personal Financial Management Services
90 Farrell Drive
Edwards AFB., CA 93524
Resources are available to help you understand and manage your finances, including one-on-one financial counseling to assist you and your family with financial readiness. Services are designed to focus on money management issues throughout your active-duty lifecycle and into retirement. Financial readiness educational opportunities range from basic planning to long-term investing. Check out the information below to see what’s available at your installation.
Personal Financial Readiness ProgramClasses offered at the Airman and Family Readiness Center include classes on basic budgeting, thrift savings plan and relocation budgeting.
Financial guidance is available to those who want to minimize the cost of their PCS move. It pays to be informed in advance of anticipated costs and plan accordingly. Keep in contact with sponsors and supervisors as they can be a wealth of valuable information to you in this process.
Cost of LivingCost of Living Allowances are provided only to Department of Defense civilians, and amounts vary according to grade or pay level. Military are not provided Cost of Living Allowance.
If you are moving to Edwards Air Force Base, do not plan your budget around two incomes unless you have a position contracted already. It will take six months to a year for spouses to find suitable employment. Spouses may qualify for unemployment benefits, so be sure to check with your local unemployment office before leaving for Edwards Air Force Base. Most employment opportunities off-base are in the communities of Lancaster and Palmdale, 50 to 60 miles away from Edwards Air Force Base, so consider this when making a decision to reside off base or live in government quarters.
Costs for HousingBe prepared to live off base while waiting for base housing. The waiting list for base housing varies and depends upon your rank and number of children. Currently, for E-1 through E-6, there are almost no waiting for housing opportunities. For E-7 through E-9, based on the number of dependents, waiting for housing could average nine months or more. Filling out an advance application with the Housing Office from your losing base as soon as you receive a copy of your PCS orders is in your best financial interest because it can lessen time living in off-base housing. Waiting times are subject to change. Verify information with the Housing Office on base before your arrival. Make billeting arrangements in advance regardless of the housing situation.
Commuting costs need to be figured into the monthly budget for those planning to reside and work off base. Most commuters average 40 to 85 miles round trip per day driving to the base and more when another family member is working off base. Another vehicle may need to be purchased depending on employment options.
For off-base living, funds required to set up a household off-base will vary according to individual family circumstances and needs. Most landlords require a minimum of the first month's rent plus a security deposit and will run a credit check. The total cost to move in could run between $1,000 and $1,500 depending on rental size, location and landlord's requirements. Many apartment complexes have move-in specials so be sure to check the local newspaper upon arrival. Many rental units do not provide refrigerators, so this may be an added expense. Check with the Edwards Air Force Base Housing Office for the costs of rental and purchase of homes in the Lancaster and Palmdale areas.
Members/families can save as much as 30% by using the commissary for most food items. Utilize this resource at every opportunity. Families with children 5 and under and that qualify may sign up for the Women, Infants and Children Program as representatives are here at the A&FRC once a month for base personnel.
Car InsuranceInsurance for vehicles is costly. Check with your current insurance company to get rates for Los Angeles County and Kern County. Kern County (Edwards Air Force Base, Rosamond, Mojave, California City, North Edwards and Boron) rates tend to be lower than those in Los Angeles County (Lancaster, Palmdale, Quartz Hill). Check all your coverage to include your deductible and make sure that the deductible payment is included in your budget and or emergency savings plan.
Utility PaymentsUtility deposits may be required if the applicant is moving from an overseas location. Deposits for utilities could total $150 and up. Most utility and phone companies will provide a payment plan for deposits if the applicant requests it. Monthly payments could run $150 to $200 for electricity, $60 to $90 for water and approximately $40 for gas. Trash pickup is billed on a quarterly basis and could range from $30 to $50.
In-Transit EmergenciesShould an emergency occur while en route to Edwards, contact the nearest hospital if a (medical emergency), the nearest military installation, the local American Red Cross Chapter at 661-267-0650, Salvation Army at 661-948-3418, Edwards Air Force Base Command Post at 661-277-3040 if after normal duty hours or call the telephone operator for assistance.
The Air Force Aid Society at the Edwards Airman and Family Readiness Center provides emergency assistance, education assistance and funds community enhancement programs. Some examples of community enhancement programs are Give Parents a Break, Child Care for PCS and Child Care for Volunteers.
Advance PayCarefully consider any decision to take Advance Pay before your move to Edwards. Many members find that the repayment puts a strain on their monthly budget due to the loss of a second income and the increase of expenses for commuting and insurance costs. We find this to be very important to personnel returning from overseas locations as cost of living is a major factor.