Military families have unique financial situations like juggling deployments and frequent moves that can make budgeting and saving more challenging than it is for civilian families. Many active duty military families live paycheck to paycheck. I am not a financial expert, but I do know about families and saving. I have compiled tips to avoid taking on additional debt and military living on a budget.
Focus on Saving
Saving can be challenging for many military families who are living paycheck to paycheck. Often you will pay bills and have nothing left for saving. Flip the script on this and plan to save first, then pay bills. Making savings a priority will allow you to avoid accruing more debt and help build an emergency fund for unexpected expenses.
Start small, then build from there. You should plan to at least have $1,000 in an emergency fund. Once you have a little tucked away, it can be beneficial for many families to live on last month’s paycheck and start saving 3-6 worth of expenses. Keep in mind that once you have this nest egg, you will want to avoid dipping into it. Plan and save for things that you know are coming. (Christmas is not an emergency, but your car breaking down and needing a new part would be.) Dave Ramsey has some great tips and advice on quick starting emergency funds and avoiding debt.
Take Advantage of Military Discounts
Most places offer military discounts: restaurants, travel and moving companies, clothing stores, and discounted tickets. It never hurts to ask! Look into banking that is specifically geared towards military or one that offers military bonuses. Take advantage of commissaries for basic items. It does pay to shop around a little because you may find better deals elsewhere for other items.
To dive further into budgeting, homemaking, and cooking…I’d love to welcome you over to my Facebook group, Easy Family Recipes. It’s a private group, so please ask to join. Don’t forget to check out the Living on a Budget class list or all the previous On a Budget posts.
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