Money is always on the mind of military families. We want to make sure we stick to our budgets, that we pay all our bills all the time, and that we don’t make any mistakes along the way. However, managing your money isn’t always easy. Sometimes we do make mistakes that can wreak our budgets or keep us from achieving our goals.
Here are five money mistakes military families make:
1. Spending not saving during a deployment
In most cases, your service member will be earning extra money during a deployment. This gives you the perfect time to save money and get ahead. However, one mistake military families make is not saving and spending too much during a deployment. Spending too much is easy to do whether you are the service member overseas or the spouse back at home.
Agreeing on a certain amount to save as well as “fun” money is a good idea. That way you are on the same page and not just depending on “extra” money after bills to save. This will allow you to put money away and come out ahead once they come home.
2. Buying too big after a deployment
Another time a lot of military families like to spend money is after a deployment. Whether they buy a new car, a new television set, or even spend too much on an expensive trip. Going overboard with this is way too easy to do since both the servicemember and the spouse can feel like they deserve to buy something big after what they have been through.
The best thing to do is find smaller or more inexpensive things to celebrate with after the deployment. Make sure to stick to a budget when planning a trip and try not to go overboard. Always talk about any major purchases and if you really need them now or just want to buy them because of the excitement of homecoming.
3. Overspending on a PCS
When you PCS you will have to spend some kind of money. From buying new cleaning supplies to eating out more often than you usually do. Even if you save money for a PCS, it might not be enough if you overspend.
Be careful about spending money on restaurants you haven’t been to for a while or on things you don’t need. Don’t let your PCS be an excuse for buying new everything. In most cases, you don’t need a lot of new things, just a few and you will want to stick to your budget.
4. Not having a plan for extra money
There will be times during your years as a military family when you receive extra money. This could be in the form of a bonus, a tax return, or even a raise. One mistake some families make is not having a plan for this money and spending all of it at once.
If you know the extra money is coming, sit down with your spouse and talk about the best uses for the money. Think about any debt you might have or what you want to save for. Make sure you agree on what to use the money for.
5. Overspending on food every month
Going to the grocery store, buying whatever you want, and not paying attention to your budget is one way to overspend on food every month. You also might be guilty of going out to eat too often or wasting money on lunches when you could be bringing something from home.
Make sure you have a line in your budget for groceries and going out to eat. Have weekends where you only eat at home and be smart when you go out to eat. Always go to the Commissary or grocery store with a list and stick to that list no matter what. Use coupons and shop sales anytime you need to buy food.
Money can be a sticky topic but military families need to know where all their money is going. Create a good budget and stick with what you have agreed on. Make good choices about your money whether you are dealing with your regular paycheck or an extra bonus. If you do those things you should be able to have a better handle on your money.Read comments